UNIONTOWN — We may have a new tradition.
Sunday at Francis Scott Key High School, local youth wrestling officials conducted what they hope is the first of an annual event, the Carroll County Junior Wrestling Tournament.
Sunday's fray may be the first time the four local wrestling clubs -- Francis Scott Key, Manchester, the Warriors and Westminster -- have met in an all-Carroll tournament.
And organizers are hoping itwon't be the last.
"We want to keep it going. We're really looking forward to it," said tournament director Randy Biden.
Biden saidroughly 120 youngsters from the four local clubs participated in theevent, which Manchester dominated.
The Carroll tournament topped off a big weekend of wrestling at Key.
Saturday, the school was the site of the Maryland Junior Wrestling League's annual age-weight tournament.
About 300 youngsters, ages 5 to 15, appeared for that one, which allows wrestlers to compete at their weights against opponents of roughly the same age. The age-weight tournament is a precursor to the Junior League's championships this weekend.
In the latter, each team's front-line wrestlers will compete for league honors and achance to vie for the state junior wrestling championships.
The age-weight tournament, on the other hand, gives each team's substitutes and novices a final chance to grapple as the season winds down.
"For the B (substitute) wrestlers, this is their final weekend of wrestling. It is the last hurrah for them," Biden said.
He added the idea for the Carroll tournament grew because the weekend before the Maryland Junior League championships is typically an open date for thetop county wrestlers. These wrestlers aren't allowed in the age-weight affair and often have nowhere else to go.
Biden, who assists Francis Scott Key club coach Steve Hoff, said they wanted to keep theirwrestlers sharp for the championships, and had searched in vain as far as West Virginia for a tournament.
But then, "it just popped into his (Hoff's) head to come behind the B (age-weight) tournamentwitha tournament Sunday," Biden said.
The other three club coaches agreed.
There was still one problem -- getting the roughly $650 needed to pay for referees, awards and other expenses. Biden resolved that difficulty by getting the money from the Westminster Elks he belongs to (as head of its youth committee).
He also volunteered to run the tournament and handle the administrative affairs.
Manchester, though, pretty much handled affairs on the mat, winning 11 of 18 individual championships, with the Warriors taking four, Key two and Westminster one. Biden said that Westminster High is the likely location for next year's tournament.
The age-weight tourney saw five Carroll youngsters win individual championships.
In the 11-under division the Warriors' Andy Slater defeated teammate Danny Patterson in the finals to win the 50-pound bracket.
In another all-Carroll finale in that bracket, Westminster's Ray Henry topped Manchester's Philip Infante to win the 90-pound class.
Other 11-under second-placers were Key's John Muse (65) and Westminster's Steve Sharkey (95).
Third-place finishers were the Warriors' Joe Smith (70), Westminster's Tim Sharkey (75) and Key's Eric Hoseknecht (115).
Finishing fourth were Key's Ron Howard (55), Westminster's Chris and James Reiter (60 and 65 respectively) and the Warriors' Matt Amberson (95).
Francis Scott Key's Tony Cahoon was first in the 12-over division's 90-pound bracket while the Warriors' Mike Chenoweth and Buck Hodgkinson gobbled up the 100-pound and 130-pound titles, respectively.
Second-place finishers in the 12-under division were Manchester's Erik Hott (130) and Key's Chris Myers (unlimited).
Finishing third were the Warriors' T.J. Spampinato (115) and Charley Conaway (122). Fourth were Westminster's Brent Ziegler (80), the Warriors' James Yost (90) and Manchester's Colin Eutsler (107) and Eric Giffi (115).