WESTMINSTER — Two years ago, North Carroll High wrestler Tom Dell was plagued by amysterious ailment that forced his arm to swell wildly.
The injury, which doctors were unable to diagnose, contributed to his 14-10 state championship loss in overtime to Thomas Stone High's Ronnie Ruffner in the 112-pound division.
A year later, a procedural delay forced Dell to wait on the mat nearly 30 minutes before his championship match with Trevor Doing (119) began. Dell circled the mat continuously during the delay, then came out flat and lost to the Frederick grappler, 12-10.
This year, though, everything went Dell's way. The senior finally won a state championship, routing Brad Calehuff of Elkton, 8-1, for the 135-pound title on Saturday night.
Dell's teammate Jeremy Myers (103) also wona state title as the Panthers finished third in the Class 2A-1A teamcompetition at Western Maryland College.
Dell was surrounded by friends, family and well-wishers after the victory. He wore a smile that would have illuminated the darkest of gyms.
"I just didn't wantwhat happened last year to happen again," said Dell, who finished 29-1 this year. "I was definitely more aggressive."
North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein also sported a large grin. Bauerlein suffered withDell through the past two years and was ecstatic on this night.
"He's the most hard-luck wrestler I've ever coached," Bauerlein said. "There's never been a wrester with a bigger heart than Tom Dell."
Dell almost was felled by hard luck once more. He injured the third finger on his left hand in the final day of practice before the regionals. The moment Dell was injured stands out in his coach's mind. It happened in the final five minutes of practice and brought back painful memories.
"I thought, 'Here we go again,' " said Bauerlein.
The senior was barely able to use the finger in that tournament, but won anyway. The states were a different story, however. Though Dell said it barely bothered him, the finger was badly swollen after the championship match.
The victory capped a memorable high school career. Dell finished third in the state in Class 4A-3A his freshman year and second the next two before winning this year.
Meanwhile, Myers won his first state title for the Panthers in the opening match of the championship round. He beat Milford Mill's Gary Harris, 5-3.
Myers jumped to 4-1 lead, but Harris rallied. Harris appeared to have his foe in trouble when he cut the lead to 4-3. But Myers escaped to wrap up the title.
North Carroll was close to the top throughout thetwo-day competition. The Panthers finished with 76 points, behind second-place Smithsburg's 85.5 and repeat champion Owings Mills' 91.5.
Francis Scott Key qualified eight wrestlers for the state tournament. The Eagles finished tied for 29th place with 14 points.
Liberty tied for 40th place with 4 points. In the 3A/4A meet, Westminster was 29th with 11 points and South Carroll did not score.
Here is a rundown on how Carroll's wrestlers fared:
Jeremy Myers, North Carroll, 103: Pinned Steve Cho of Glenelg in 1:48; defeated Brandon Mooreof North Harford, 10-0; defeated Marty Kusick of Northeast-Anne Arundel, 10-0; defeated Gary Harris of Milford Mill, 5-2, in the championship round.
Brian Seiffert, Liberty, 103: Lost to Phillip Gainey of Chopticon, 4-2, in the first round.
Bob Schech, North Carroll, 112: Defeated Dan Purnell of Mardela, 5-4; lost to Kendall Lloyd of Damascus, 8-0; defeated Doug Ribbontrop of Elkton, 2-0, in consolation quarterfinals; lost to Tim Taylor of North East-Cecil, 1-0, in consolation semifinals.
Steve Lessard, Francis Scott Key, 112: Lost to Doug Ribbontrop of Elkton, 5-3, in the first round.
Jeff Irvine, South Carroll, 112: Did not compete because of injury.
Randy Owings,Francis Scott Key, 119: Did not compete because of illness.
Andy Kiler, North Carroll, 119: Defeated Patrick Elliot of Fallston, 5-3; lost to Jason Marrero of Oakland Mills, 4-2; pinned by Jeff Daigle ofChopticon in 2:13 of consolation quarterfinals.
Andy Rill, North Carroll, 125: Defeated Sherrard Neal of South Hagerstown, 13-5; Pinned Ty Long of Edgewood; defeated Mike Maughn of Oakland Mills, 12-4; lost to Mike Lowe of Mardela, 7-1, in the championship round.
ChrisBeale, Francis Scott Key, 125: Won first round by forfeit; lost to Mike Lowe of Mardela, 7-3; lost to Chris Shelley of Damascus, 5-2, in consolation quarterfinals.
Fred Thompson, Westminster, 125: Pinnedby Danny Kilcoyne of McDonough in 4:43 in the first round.
Zac Yinger, Francis Scott Key, 130: Pinned by Robin Eaton of North Carolinein 4:24 in the first round.
Brad Schisler, Westminster, 130: Lostto Dave Rupert of Severna Park, 5-3, in overtime in the first round.
Tom Dell, North Carroll, 135: Pinned Seth Katzenstein of Pikesville in 3:11; pinned Tony Crawford of Wilde Lake; pinned Lamont Hagans of Centennial in 1:04; defeated Brad Calehuff of Elkton, 8-1, in the championship round.
George Bradford, South Carroll, 135: Lost to Matt Carroll of Frederick, 8-5, in the first round.