A week ago Atholton was winless in dual meets. Now, with yesterday's 39-28 victory over Howard, the Raiders have won two straight.
When Matt McFadden's nose bled in the first period of his 152-pound bout, however, his Atholton teammates experienced a sense of deja vu.
McFadden (19-3), who had a blood vessel inside his nose cauterized yesterday morning, had to forfeit the championship bout of the Wicomico Tournament last Saturday because of a bloody nose -- despite a 7-1 lead with 39 seconds left.
Had he been forced to forfeit again yesterday, the result might have been another frustrating team defeat. Instead, McFadden earned a pin at 2: 26 and the Raiders went on to victory.
Because they have had to forfeit their 171-pound, 189-pound and heavyweight bouts in every match this season, few teams understand frustrating losses better than Atholton.
Despite the forfeits, the Raiders lost by just four points to South Carroll, by two points to Glenelg and by one point to Centennial. Through Jan. 27 they had won 77 individual bouts and lost 53, but had not won a team match. Coach Bruce Linblad said his troops led every team but Liberty following the 160-pound bout.
The Raiders finally stopped their seven-match losing streak and scored their first win of the season, by upsetting River Hill by three points last Friday.
"River Hill was exciting, but Howard [4-9 overall, 4-4 league] has been a power in recent years, so this win feels good," said Atholton 125-pounder Elliot Lipple, who decisioned Brian Frank, 6-3. "Our junior varsity guys stepped up today."
Two junior varsity call-ups, Rusty Fansler at 130 pounds and Ramon Johnson at 140 pounds, each scored important wins for Atholton. Fansler, a senior, had varsity experience his sophomore and juniors seasons, but hasn't broken into this year's starting lineup because of Bryan Loeffler.
Loeffler injured his shoulder at the Wicomico tourney last weekend and couldn't wrestle yesterday, so Fansler made the most of his opportunity and decisioned Barry Dagold, 5-1.
Johnson, who got his chance because 140-pounder Pat Hurley was out sick, made his first varsity victory one to remember by pinning Jason Yates in 3: 33.
"That was a key match for us," Linblad said. "I feel good for the kids. It's been so tough on them. We've got to be the best 2-7 team in the state."
The Raiders are now 2-4 in league matches and face league-leading Hammond Thursday.
Pub Date: 2/05/97