The youthful Wildcats winning a 10th holiday wrestling tournament title?
Nah. It couldn't be.
At least that's what Arundel wrestling coach Buddy Hepfer's thoughts were before his host Wildcats pulled off the victory, 198-190, over neighborhood rival Meade in the 12th annual eight-team invitational affair Saturday night.
"I had no dreams we would win this," said Hepfer, whose Wildcats (1-3) had been pounded, 50-21, by Broadneck in their last dual meet match.
"We had guys come through who had losing records," said Hepfer. "Our 135-pounder who took second place got his first two wins."
Meade and Arundel had four champions each.
Phil Meenan (103), Greg Booth (171), Brian Richards (189) and heavyweight Pat Beach all won titles for Arundel. Booth and Beach remained unbeaten at 10-0 and Richards improved to 9-1.
For the Mustangs, Bill Fisher (112), Mike Dodd (125), Luther Scott (145) and Pat Williams (160) were champions.
Scott, a returning regional champion, improved to 11-0 with his title bout major decision over Chesapeake's Dave McWilliams. Scott pinned his semifinal opponent in 1:11 to pick up his seventh pin of the season -- his fifth in the first period.
"I thought I was going to wrestle (Thomas Stone's No. 4-ranked Vince Higgs) but he went up a weight class and won," said Scott. "I thought I could have wrestled better in my last match, but I'm pleased."
Chesapeake's Brian Eveleth (130) earned his title with a technical fall and pins of 26-and 42-seconds respectively. Eveleth, a defending county champion, improved to 11-0 and the Cougars finished third with 183.5 points.
Glen Burnie (89) and Northeast (56) were seventh and eigth respectively.
John Wehn (160) finished second for Glen Burnie. Northeast's fourth-place Jamie Katlic (160) -- who lost his semifinal bout, 8-7, to Wehn -- was the only Eagle wrestler to finish in the top four.
Although the Mustangs qualified seven wrestlers for the championship round compared to just six for the Wildcats, Arundel won all three of the head-to-head title bouts wrestled between the two squads for the title.
Arundel did not lock up the title until after Richards decisioned Meade's Jeff Katona, 7-1, in their championship bout to break a 190-190 tie and give the Wildcats a 194-190 lead.
The tournament's dramatic ending, of course, was beyond Hepfer's wildest dreams.
Richards had sprained his right ankle in his semifinal match -- a pin in 5:33 -- and was limping badly throughout his bout with Katona.
"If I tried to put pressure on my foot, I couldn't do much," said Richards. "It really started bothering me in the third period, when I was trying to roll, shoot takedowns or when I was backing up."
Hobbling and teetering like a huge tree about to go over, Richards held a shaky 5-1 third-period lead but parried several of Kotona's takedown attempts. In the bout's closing moments, Richards finally scored a takedown of his own and held down the fading Katona to win.
Beach (10-0) padded the victory with a 5-3 sudden-death overtime decision over Dundalk's Marlon Scott (10-3).
Beach trailed, 2-1, with three seconds left in regulation when Scott was penalized for locking hands and Beach was awarded a point. That sent bout into overtime.