Yesterday's Class 4A-3A, Region IV wrestling tournament was a bittersweet one for Howard County.
Of the 17 county wrestlers, only seven qualified for next week's ++ 4A-3A state tournament at Western Maryland College, but Howard High's five qualifiers were the best ever by the Lions (65.5), who were fifth in the 20-team tournament, won for the ninth time by No. 3 Old Mill.
Mike Wiland (152, second), Mark Grinspoon (130, third), Josh Tzuker (140, fourth), Jason Shefrin (145, fourth) and Seth Eldridge (160, fourth) will represent the Lions in next week's event.
For Centennial, Jason Nagle (112, second) and county champ Bill Chedester (135, third) will go. Nagle dropped a 9-2 title bout decision to Severna Park's Jamie Kuch.
Chedester lost, 11-2, in the first round to Old Mill's sixth-ranked, Anne Arundel County champ, Rick Oleszczuk, but came back to take third place with a 4-2 victory over City-Wide runner-up Kevin Muldrow (Walbrook).
Howard coach Fred Bullock's squad (11-4) entered with seven ofits nine wrestlers seeded fourth or higher, including top seeds Tzuker, Shefrin and Wiland (152). The Lions lost four of nine first-round bouts.
In the first round, No. 4 seed Preston Murfin (135) lost, 16-1, to Dave Thomas (North County), and No. 2 seed Brad Stubbs (189) lost, 8-7, to Jimmy Lee (North County). Tzuker struggled in an 11-10 win over No. 8 seed Shane Ireland (Severna Park). Murfin and Stubbs were eliminated in their next bouts.
Only Wiland (27-3), using a pin and a decision, reached the final where he lost to Old Mill's fifth-ranked county champ, Todd Hultgren.
Nagle's (112) two decisions came over Walbrook's Kevin Hughes and Old Mill's Phil Schleifer to reach the title bout, where he lost 9-2 to Jamie Kuch, Severna Park's county runner-up.