It's still early in the season. And perennial county wrestling champion Oakland Mills usually gets off to slow starts.
But Oakland Mills coach Dan Ricker's face wore its disappointment conspicuously Thursday night. His favored Scorpions blew a 27-17 lead at home and settled for a 33-33 tie against the Francis Scott Key Eagles.
And despite getting five pins, the Scorpions let a younger team off the hook by losing three of its last four matches, two by pins andone by major decision, which gives the team an extra point.
The experience definitely left a bad taste in Ricker's mouth, and it dropped his team to an 0-1-1 record.
"We basically have an attitude problem," Ricker said. "I call it the Centennial syndrome -- 'let's justhave fun, and if we lose, so what?' And our parents promote that attitude."
Ricker was seething over what he perceives as lack of dedication on the part of some of his wrestlers. During the holiday break, he held practice every day except Christmas and New Year's, but failed to attract more than 10 wrestlers at any one practice.
"And most of the time we were lucky if we had 10," star Scorpion wrestler Adam Seidman said.
"We had a better team than Francis Scott Key, butthey were a bunch of tough country kids," said the 26-year-old Ricker, who himself was a tough country kid during his playing days at Glenelg High. "I don't know if this team will rise to the occasion or not."
Oakland Mills, hampered by glaring weakness in its lower and upper weight classes, certainly faltered Thursday.
It fell behind 13-0 after the first three matches, including a forfeit at 112 pounds.Key's freshman 119-pounder, Randy Owings, who has a 13-1 record thisseason including a third-place finish at the Annapolis Tourney, overcame a bloody lip to beat senior Jason Marrero.
Scorpion Mike Maughan finally got his team on the scoreboard by winning the 125-pound bout, 9-8, but disappointed his coach by not getting a pin.
The Eagles' 130-pound freshman, Zac Yinger, scored one of three major decisions by his team, out-gunning Kevans Hall, 16-2.
Oakland Mills thenengineered four straight pins, as the meat of its lineup crushed Francis Scott Key.
The Scorps went from a 17-3 deficit to a 27-17 lead, as Seidman (135), Joe Salinas (140), Marcus Myles (145) and Brian DuVall (152) brought a smile to Ricker's face.
Seidman, 9-1 this season, scored his first pin at the 4-minute, 41-second mark. Salinas took just 38 seconds to get his pin. Myles took 2:56. And DuVall pinned his opponent in 53 seconds.
Ed Null, one of the Eagles' top twowrestlers, stopped Oakland Mills' momentum with a major decision over Geoff Henderson at 160 pounds. Null is 12-1.
The match continuedto swing Francis Scott Key's way when 171-pound Mac Carr, wrestling his first varsity match, pinned Jon Guiton with 22 seconds left in the bout. Guiton, also wrestling his first varsity match, drew two roughness penalties and was trailing 12-7 when he was pinned.
At 189 pounds, Key pulled off another pin with Norman Jones nailing first-time starter Aaron Smith in just 32 seconds. Key led, 33-27.
But Monte Spencer, Oakland Mills' brightest star, stretched his record to 10-0 with seven pins as he threw Mark Smith for a fall in 51 seconds to gain the 33-33 tie.
"We still need a lot of work," Spencer said.
Francis Scott Key started two seniors, six juniors, four freshmen and one sophomore. Oakland Mills started five seniors, and the rest were juniors or sophomores.
"It's hard for us to be disappointed," Key coach Bill Hyson
said. "We did a good job coming back. This team has the potential to be one of our best."
The Eagles are 3-0-1.