North Carroll's wrestling team appeared to have the Old Mill Patriots on the ropes after the first night of the Class 4A/3A state wrestling tournament Friday.
The two teams were tied at 44.5, but the Panthers had an edge with six semifinalists, compared to five for the Patriots.
It seemed the Patriots wouldn't win their third straight state wrestling title.
Crunch time right? Wrong. It was party time, the way Old Mill coach Mike Hampe told it.
"We went out and got 10 pizzas and let the kids pig out a little," said Hampe, whose Patriots rebounded to hammer North Carroll, 130.5-95.5.
"We had a rotten quarterfinal round and things looked bleak," Hamp said. "We knew we had a lot of work to do, but I also felt we needed to relax and not get crazy. We didn't want to get caught up in the pressure."
Sure enough, the Patriots' won three of their five semifinal bouts, while the Panthers advanced just two of six wrestlers to the championship round.
In the end, the Patriots placed seven of their 10 qualifying wrestlers in the top four of their weight class, including Brent (135, 36-1)and Brian (160, 31-0) Layman who became only the third sibling combination to win titles in the same year.
Steve Lundstrom (103) was arunner-up for the Patriots.
Old Mill opened up an 11.5-point leadover North Carroll heading into the consolation round and led 111.5-92.5 going into the consolation final round.
When Old Mill's John Bliss won his consolation final victory, 8-2, over North Carroll's Jason Myers to give Old Mill a 114.5-92.5 lead, the Patriots' "three-peat" was all but secured.
Bliss' bout, which earned him third place, was a rematch of a regular season duel won by Bliss, 5-4.
"I knew he would be out to get me because he thought he got robbed in our last match," said Bliss, who was fourth in the state last year. "This time I wanted to work him to prove I was better."
The best the Panthers could do at that point was a tie if their remaining four wrestlers pinned all of their opponents.
But Ernie Longazel (171) won his battle, 6-4, over North Carroll's Bill Lubking and North Carroll's Dave Foster (152) defeated South River's Brian Hunt, 7-2, for the Panthers' only individual title.
Old Mill heavyweight Don Marco also finished third and teammate Sun Park (189) was fourth.
Chesapeake's 125-pound Brian Eveleth (34-0) became his school's first state champion.
In winning the county, regional and state titles, Eveleth never had to wrestle a full six minutes: He either won by technical fall or by pin.
Fifth-place Annapolis (48 points) got a title from Pat Flynn (145, 34-0), who defeated Meade's Luther Scott (29-4), 3-2, for the fourth time this season.
Flynn's 140-pound teammate Chip Cochran (33-1) was a runner-up.
"One more match and (Scott) would have beat me," said Flynn, who is the state's top-ranked 145 pounder and was a state runner-up last year. Scott is third-ranked. "The guy istough. He could kick the crap out of anybody else in this tournament."
Broadneck (42 points, sixth place) got an individual title fromsophomore 103-pounder Charlie Bennett (34-2).
Bennett's 112-poundteammate, Shawn Miller (34-1), suffered his only loss of the season to Paint Branch's defending state champion Craig Middledorf, 6-4.
Miller had beaten Middledorf, 7-3, earlier in the season but allowed Middledorf to overcome a 3-0 deficit with six third period points.
With seven seconds left in the match, Middledorf broke a 4-4 tie with a take-down.
North County's Sam Paik (103), South River's Bill Whitcher (112) and Severna Park's Scott Woodland (130) all placed fourth.
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