Monte Spencer's joy at winning his second straight heavyweight statetitle was tempered by the disappointment that most of his Oakland Mills teammates couldn't join him in celebration.
The county and regional wrestling champions had a shot Saturday at winning their fourthstate title since 1980. Instead, Oakland Mills finished sixth with 48.5 points in the Class 2A-1A state tournament at Western Maryland College.
After Friday night's wrestling, the Scorpions had five semifinalists -- Spencer, Jason Marrero (119), Mike Maughan (125), Adam Seidman(130) and Marcus Myles (145) -- and a slim lead over the eventual champion, Owings Mills. All but Spencer dropped close decisions, and all but Spencer and Maughan, who placed fourth overall, were eliminatedafter losing their consolation semifinal bouts.
"The semifinal round was a little disappointing," said Spencer, a 235-pound senior whoimproved his overall record to 26-1 after going 36-1 last year. "Everybody just dropped, and I don't know what it was."
Wilde Lake coach Rich Jackson was happy with his two underclassmen, county and regional champions Nate Casella (171) and Mike Green (160). They paced the Wildecats to eighth place (39.5 points) by finishing second and third, respectively.
Casella (23-4), a junior, used two decisions anda technical fall to reach the final, where he dropped a 10-3 decision to Mardela's two-time state champion, Ishmael Smith. Perhaps the gutsiest match for Casella came in his 8-7 semifinal victory over Owings Mills' muscular Region II champion Sigmund Fraser. Fraser placed third a year ago and entered the bout with a 30-2 record.
"Nate had hurt his shin before the semis, and it was swelling badly against Fraser," said Jackson. "He showed a lot of heart in that match."
Jackson was even more impressed with Casella's loss to Smith, who had reached the final on the strength of three first-period pins.
"He didwell to go the distance against a guy like Ishmael Smith, especiallyfor his first time being there."
Green, a sophomore with a 22-4-1record, used a pin and a major decision to reach the semifinal. But he lost to Owings Mills' Grant Johnson, who went on to win his secondstraight title.
Green rebounded with a 12-6 consolation semifinaldecision over Region IV champion Clinton Slaughter of North East High School in Cecil County. He took third place after winning, 4-2, over South Hagerstown's fifth-ranked Matt McCauley. It was only the third loss in 32 matches for McCauley, a senior.
"Mike's been just a total surprise every week," said Jackson. "What's amazing is this is only his second year of wrestling. He wants to learn and get even better."
Even the state champion, Johnson, was impressed with Green.
"Johnson came up to him afterward and said, 'You're going to take it all next year because I'm going up to 189,' " said Jackson.
LikeSeidman and Myles, Wilde Lake's regional champion Bobby Farace (140)suffered a semifinal loss and was eliminated in his next match.
Seidman, a three-time county and one-time regional champion, dropped a9-2 semifinal decision to Owings Mills' Gregg Kessler, who went on to win his second-consecutive state title.
Myles lost, 8-5, to Towson's Chris Kapalchick, the eventual runner-up, and Farace dropped a 6-5 decision to Smithsburg's No. 2-ranked Doug Batey, who placed second.
More disappointing were the consolation semifinals, where Seidman, who was third last year, and Myles lost to Chopticon wrestlers they had beaten in the regionals a week earlier. Seidman lost, 2-1, to Jun Davis, who placed third, and county and regional champion Myles was disqualified in his match with Dwayne Vogel.
Spencer, who won his crown, 4-2, over Southern's fourth-ranked Robert Burley, said, "The only two guys left were me and Mike, and we were like, 'What happened?' "
Farace was eliminated by South Hagerstown's sixth-ranked Brian Michaels, 5-2, in the consolation semifinals.
"He wrestled well, but he just ran into two good kids," said Jackson, who as easily could have been talking about Myles and Seidman. "I was sorry to see it end that way, but he had a good season."