After Edgewood's wrestling team stretched its record to 7-0 a week ago, the Rams thought they could give perennial power Aberdeen a challenge Friday night.
That optimism disappeared when three of the Edgewood's top wrestlers went down with injuries Tuesday. The Rams lostMinh Dang (112 pounds), Brian Kocur (135) and Corey Anderson (171), and they didn't have the depth to make up for them.
Not only did the Rams not have the power to challenge Aberdeen, losing, 45-16, Friday night, but they lost Wednesday to Bel Air. With a healthy squad, Edgewood coach Chris Burns had expected to beat Bel Air.
"When you forfeit two classes and then have those injuries, it really hurts," Burns said. "We wanted to give Aberdeen a run. Now, I'm worried about our second match (against Calvert Hall)."
However, the Rams rolled through the early weight classes and beat Calvert Hall, 47-12, in Friday night's tri-meet at Edgewood. Aberdeen also beat Calvert Hall, 44-18.
None of the three teams was completely healthy. Calvert Hall had suffered some early-season injuries, while Aberdeen had several wrestlers recovering from the flu. The Eagles' Steve Stallard (125/130) missed the meet with the flu.
The highlight of the night was a showdown between two of the state's premier 103-pounders. Aberdeen's Zack Fowl and Edgewood's Ty Long are ranked third and fourth, respectively, by the Maryland State Wrestling Association.
Despite the rankings, Long won a 5-3 decision as both moved up to the 112-pound class. Long used a first-period takedown and held on for the decision.
"He got on top of me, and I couldn't get out," explained Fowl (19-2). "Most of the match he had his legs on me and I couldn't getout of it."
Long (14-2) said it can be more difficult to wrestle someone when each is familiar with the other's moves. "I wasn't intimidated, but I knew it was going to be a close match.
"Zack is very strong. Matwise, he learns so quick. One second, I'm beating him, and the next, he'll win.
"(Friday night) I tried to confuse him. The last time we met, at John Carroll, he surprised me and hepinned me. I'm looking forward to meeting him in counties, regionalsand states. The best wrestler will win."
Over the years, Long andFowl have developed a lot of respect for each other, as wrestlers aswell as friends. Their rivalry dates back seven years to when they began wrestling against each other in junior league competitions.
"Ty is real quick," said Fowl. "He knows a lot of moves. If you get scrambling with him, he's the kind of guy who can catch you if you makea mistake. I've got to wrestle real smart to beat him."
Almost every time they meet the match is close. "Both are good kids who have been wrestling a long time," Aberdeen coach Dick Slutzky said. "They came through the junior league program. They're both bright and technically sound."
They met once earlier this year, and Fowl won the decision. Going into Friday night's match the Aberdeen sophomore held a 3-1 edge over Long, a junior, in their high school careers.
Longand Fowl also won their matches against Calvert Hall. After trailingearly in the match, Long pinned Greg Knox, ranked fifth by the MSWA,in 5:20.
Fowl won by forfeit after Calvert Hall's Brendan James retired with a shoulder injury.
Against Aberdeen in the first matchof the night, the Rams stayed close through the lower weight classesdespite giving up forfeits at 103 and 135.
Edgewood got Long's decision over Fowl as well as Mike Bunker's pin of Jeff Wilber at 125 and Bill Carr's 11-5 decision over Dave Mumpower at 130.
Aberdeen scored on Frank Johnson's pin of the Rams' James Fortier at 119.
After five weight classes, the two teams were tied at 12, but Aberdeen quickly pulled away on four straight victories.
Mike Watts won by forfeit at 135 pounds. At 140, Matt Slutzky pinned Greg Watchinsky in1:06. Danny Osorio won by decision over Tim Beach, 4-3, at 145. Scott Johnson pinned Dwaine Shannon in 2:00 at 152. Those wins gave Aberdeen a 33-12 lead with four weight classes remaining.
At 160 pounds, Edgewood's Keith Spurlin got a decision over Mike Taylor, 17-8. Eric Ratcliffe followed at 171 pounds, pinning Edgewood's Andy Zawadski in 3:46.
Everett Jones pinned Edgewood's Chris Pierce in 1:59 at 189 pounds. Edgewood heavyweight John Lamancusa won by decision over Aaron Wanless, 2-0.
Against Calvert Hall, the Rams got victories from Long, Jamie Hunter, Bunker, Carr, Watchinsky, Beach, Shannon, Spurlin, Zawadski, Pierce and Lamancusa.