WESTMINSTER -- When the pressure's on, Old Mill's top-ranked wrestling team -- going for an unprecedented fourth 4A-3A state championship in a row -- ususally rises to the occasion.
So far, in the state tournament at Western Maryland College, the Patriots -- who qualified a state-record 12 wrestlers -- are running into trouble.
Old Mill advanced Jason Bryant (103), Vytas Dulys (119), Marc Procaccini (160 ), Brian Layman (171) and Ernie Longazel (189) into today's semifinals, and holds a 43.5-42 lead over Montgomery County's Quince Orchard, which also advanced five wrestlers.
The Patriots suffered setbacks at 145-pounds and at heavyweight. Lackey's Jason Batchelor (145) scored a 2-1 decision over top-ranked, previously unbeaten John Bliss, and Walt Whitman's Emil Dolzeal downed heavyweight Don Marco, 4-3.
"We can't keep looking over our shoulders," said Old Mill coach Mike Hampe. "We've still got a lot of guys who can score."
Today, Procaccini will meet Quince Orchard's Eric Alban. Layman, a defending state champion who notched a pin and a technical fall, is headed for a meeting with Randallstown's defending state champion Mike Jenson. Johnny Montgomery (145) and Kent Morrison (152) also reached the semifinals for fourth-place Randallstown (28 points), which trailed Charles County's McDonough (36.5)
Aberdeen's Matt Slutzky (135) continued his quest to become the first four-time state champion, reaching the semifinals on a 31-second pin and a decision. His teammate, Zack Fowl (112), edged Old Mill's Steve Lundstrom, 5-4, in his quest for a second consecutive state crown.