WESTMINSTER -- Owings Mills became the third Baltimore County team to win a state wrestling title and scored 125 points to win the Class 1A-2A tournament at Western Maryland College last night.
Owings Mills had wrapped up the team title before the consolation round began, then produced two state champions, one runner-up, two third-place finishers and a fourth-place finisher.
The last Baltimore County team to win the title was Eastern Vo-Tech, which captured the 3A-4A crown in 1987. Hereford had won the unofficial title at the first state tournament in 1970 (no team title was awarded, but Herford would have won had a team score been kept).
Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker said he wasn't sure his team could win the title.
"I lied to my kids," he said. "I told them I thought we had a chance to finish in the top three. Once we had 10 guys win in the third round, I thought we would win it."
Ten of the Eagles' 11 qualifiers advanced past the first round, and six of them finished in the top four in their weight class.
Owings Mills' two state champions are sophomores. Greg Kessler was the 125-pound winner, and Grant Johnson took the 130-pound title.
Kessler and Kyantae Haukins of Frederick Douglass battled to a 3-3 tie in regulation, and the score was 4-4 after overtime. Kessler won on the third criterion -- number of takedowns.
"I thought I could accomplish it," he said of his championship. "I was trying to save all of my energy for when I needed it most."
Kessler was called for a stalling penalty late in regulation to give Haukins the tie, but regained the lead with an escape late in the second overtime. Hawkins did the same with 43 seconds to go in the final overtime, setting up the criteria tie-breaker.
Johnson and Doug Stottlemeyer of South Hagerstown did all of the scoring in the final period of the 130-pound final. Stottlemeyer started with a two-point reversal. Johnson did the same 15 seconds later. Then Johnson earned two back points late in the match for the win.
Johnson's brother Gerard, a former state title winner at Owings Mills, shouted for his brother to "wrestle your style" during an early break in the action. "He was trying to get me to work better on my feet," Grant said of his brother's encouragement.
For Aberdeen, junior Matt Slutzky took another step toward becoming the first Maryland wrestler to win four state titles with his 12-4 victory over Mike Trower of Stephen Decatur.
"I made a bet with my brother [Brent] in the sixth grade that I would win four state championships," Slutzky said after winning his third. "I didn't realize until after my freshman year that I had a chance to do it."
Kevin Heid of Overlea won his second state title with an 8-6
victory over Owings Mills' Kenny Gendason at 112. Gendason had pinned Heid in the dual meet and Baltimore County tournament, but Heid won in the region and state tournaments.