Liberty wrestlers rally, romp Lions avenge loss to Thomas Johnson

January 19, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

FREDERICK -- It was a slow holiday afternoon, and only a few Liberty High wrestling fans were among a small and quiet crowd in the stands at Thomas Johnson yesterday.

It seemed as if everybody, including the Liberty wrestlers, expected the 7-2 Patriots to walk off with another wrestling victory over the 3-5 Lions in a Central Maryland Conference matchup.

Especially after TJ had an 18-6 lead after the first six bouts.

But suddenly, strange things began to happen for Liberty, which has been hurt most of the season by injuries and suspensions.

The Lions began to throw the Patriots all over the mat, winning five straight bouts for a 30-18 lead with the 189-pound and heavyweight classes remaining.

That put the Patriots in the desperate position of having to win those two bouts by pins to get a tie.

It never happened, and the pumped-up Lions left Frederick with a 35-24 victory.

Those Patriots had turned back Liberty, 37-24, in a tri-meet a month ago at Liberty that also included Glenelg. TJ was the overall winner of that meet.

Thomas Johnson coach Bob Ziegler said: "A lot of our guys beat these guys before, and they forgot that revenge is still a factor in wrestling. Our guys were riding too high and had their hips too high. They [Liberty] came ready to wrestle."

"I'm kind of hoping this will get us going," said Liberty coach Jeff Hash. "It's always good to beat someone who's already beaten you. The big surprise for us was Bill Nichols [152 pounds] getting a pin. That put us ahead [21-18] and gave the guys even more confidence."

Nichols, who hasn't had a whole lot of success this season, not only pinned the Patriots' Travis Colby but did it impressively.

Colby scored two quick points in the first period for a 2-0 lead before Nichols struck with amazing quickness for a fall in 1 minute, 6 seconds.

Nichols' pin was in the middle of the five-bout run by Liberty.

It began for the Lions with Phil Youssi's pinning TJ's Steve Macatear in 1:43 in the 140-pound category, reducing the lead to 18-12. Youssi is 11-2 this season.

Then Dan Evans (7-2) held off a late surge by the Patriots' Chad Parker for a 6-4 decision at 145, giving Nichols a chance to send his team ahead.

Next came Mike Durgin's pin of TJ's Chad Biehl in 3:02 at 160 pounds, and Jamie Snyder completed the Liberty run with an exciting 12-10 decision over Adam Hoffman in the closest bout of the day.

Durgin's decision gave Liberty the 30-18 bulge and prompted Hash to take a default at 189 pounds instead of sending out first-year wrestler Dan Mudgett to face TJ's imposing Stewart Quay (14-2).

"I wanted to see who TJ would send out at 189 before I made my decision," said Hash. "When I saw it was Quay, there was no way I wanted Dan to face him."

The default left Liberty heavyweight Pat Quinn in a position to win the match as long as he avoided a pin against TJ's Jeremy Hutten.

Quinn (7-4) dominated Hutten and scored a technical fall, 18-2, with four seconds left in the bout.

"Pat has been successful for us," said Hash. "He looked good out there even though he's been out of action with a shoulder injury the last nine days."

Hash said the Lions are starting to get some of their wrestlers back from suspensions and injuries.

"Eddie Morrell [6-4 record at 135 pounds] was back today for his first match since being suspended, and he did OK [lost a 6-2 decision to Shawn Grunwell]," said Hash.

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