Entering yesterday's second and final day of the fifth annual Damascus Invitational, Westminster, ranked No. 7 in the area and No. 9 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, led the 16-team field.
But the Owls advanced only two of five semifinalists, and of those only Jason Hare (189 pounds, 13-1) emerged with a crown as Westminster (180 points) finished third behind DeMatha (217) and the host Hornets (213.5), ranked Nos. 3 and 1, respectively, by the MSWA.
Westminster's Jay Andrews (135, 13-3) pinned his way into the final, where he lost, 7-1, to Damascus' No. 2-ranked Nick York (10-0).
"You always want to win, but we realize the competition we faced," said Hare, who got his ninth, 10th and 11th pins before downing DeMatha's Chris Edwards, 8-2, for the title. "We'll just use it as a confidence booster going into our league."
The sole champ for Liberty (124.5, fifth place) was Scott Taylor (171, 11-0), who has seven pins and scored nine points in the third period of his title bout to break a 1-1 tie in a 10-3 win over Seneca Valley's Loren Morgan.
"I was ready to go, I couldn't wait for the finals," said Taylor, a region runner-up last year. "I was probably 9-1 last year at this time, and got pinned once. I want to wrestle in college, and being undefeated looks good for the ones I'm looking at."
Calvert Hall's fifth-ranked Chris Hanlon (103, 19-2) outlasted Damascus' co-No. 6 Kevin Potter (8-2) by 5-4 in the semifinal. He then used a split-cradle for a title-bout pin in 2:25 to overcome a 2-0 deficit against Sherwood's previously unbeaten and co-No. 6 Bobby Monday (10-1, nine pins).
DeMatha's top-ranked Todd Beckerman of Crofton (125, 22-0, 11 pins) eclipsed the national record by one with his 37th career tournament title, 5-1, over Liberty's Kevin Jeffries (11-2). Beckerman (102 career pins, 30 career technical falls) can become America's first four-time National Prep Champ. His record improved to a school-record 174-1, and his 156-match winning streak is 11 shy of the national record for consecutive wins.
Other locals in the top four were: Westminster's Bobby Biden (112, third), Charlie Minor (140, fourth) and Austin Lanham (152, fourth); Liberty's Paul Swenson (135, third) and Mark Richards -- (103, fourth); Calvert Hall's Tony Russo (112, fourth); and Oakland Mills' John Nguyen (135, fourth).
DeMatha trailed by eight entering the title round, but won four of five head-to-head bouts against Damascus. The host team's previously unbeaten Joey Garvin (112, 9-1) lost, 5-4, to Willie Harris, as did three teammates: No. 4-ranked Brandon York (119, 9-1) was upset, 2-0, by DeMatha's Wes Cummings (21-4), No. 3 Bobby Mann (145, 9-1), lost, 11-4, to DeMatha's No. 2 Billy Phillips (18-3), and No. 4 Randy Pickett (152, 9-1) was edged, 4-3, by No. 1 Robert Alexander (20-2).
For Damascus, Shawn O'Neil (130, 10-0) edged DeMatha's Drew Robertson, 6-5.