Westminster wrestling sees progress after 42-32 win over South Carroll
By PAT STOETZER
Baltimore Sun Media Group|
Dec 23, 2014 | 8:54 PM
Westminster and South Carroll headed into the holiday break with similar feelings about their wrestling teams.
The Owls are seeing progress in the form of dual-meet victories; the Cavaliers are doing so in the form of a fuller lineup. No. 15 Westminster clipped South Carroll, 42-32, at home Tuesday night and gained a little momentum before its dual-meet tourney begins Monday.
"I think we're progressing a lot. A good amount since the beginning of the season," said junior Ryker Eckenbarger, who won by pin at 126 pounds. "But there's always room for improvement, and we've got to keep training hard."
The Owls (7-2, 3-1 in the county) passed the halfway mark of their Carroll duals slate and find themselves in second place in the county standings thanks in part to pins Tuesday from Eckenbarger, junior Cole Wetzel (132) and sophomore Tyler Watkins (152).
Watkins' pin over South Carroll's Blake McDermott came in 2 minutes, 23 seconds, after Watkins trailed 7-2 through the first period.
Westminster also benefited from three forfeits, but South Carroll (0-4, 0-1) stayed close with four pins and a technical fall. The Cavaliers held their own behind pins from sophomore Joey Thomas (113), senior Tim Null (120), junior Shane Conners (145), and senior Wade Slatniske (182). All four came within the first period.
South Carroll has a potent lineup when it's full, and coach Bryan Hamper said he expects the reigning Class 2A-1A co-state champions to be just that when they compete at the Westminster Duals next week.
"We're excited about what we have in the room," Hamper said. "We had three forfeits and four JV wrestlers out there tonight, so if you look at it, we only put seven starters on the mat. And seven is more than the five we put out last week.
"We know we have a state championship team in the room. It's just a matter of getting everybody healthy at the right time of the year."
South Carroll, Westminster, and Manchester Valley are three of the 12 teams set to wrestle at the Owls' dual tourney. Non-county teams include regional foes Franklin, Linganore, and Owings Mills, along with private school St. Mary's Ryken from Leonardtown and Broad Run from Ashburn, Va.
Westminster coach Wes Winters said getting the most out of the holiday break is key for what lies ahead — matchups in the coming weeks against North County, Oakdale and Good Counsel.
"The duals are a good way to get ... 10 matches, keep people fresh," said Winters, whose team went 4-0 last weekend at the Snack Town Duals in Hanover, Pa. "I thought the big turning point for us was last Friday against North Carroll. We came out flat against Century [on Dec. 17], and they responded well Friday."