Westminster dominated the early matches, then held off a determined South Carroll bid to win their dual meet, 40-30, last night, earning a piece of the county regular-season title with the Cavaliers and North Carroll, all at 2-1.
More importantly, the win gave the Owls the top regional seed and the home site next Wednesday in the state duals.
In addition, Westminster likely will draw North Carroll in the first round, getting a chance to make amends for its only loss in a 13-1 season. South Carroll, another duals entrant, ended its regular season at 15-2.
"We thought it would be close, and we thought we'd win the way we did," fifth-year Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich said of his 50th win, a number which made him the Owls' second-winningest wrestling coach.
The match that turned out to be pivotal came at 152 pounds, and John Muse (21-8) of Westminster, came back from nearly getting pinned to decision Brad Mann of South Carroll, 12-9.
"It, actually, was one of two that surprised us," Mohlhenrich said. "We expected a pin from Muse, and we thought Walker had a good shot."
In the heavyweight pairing, South Carroll's Tom Carroll pinned Clint Walker at 1: 02.
At 152, Muse led 10-3 in the second period when junior Brad Mann (18-6) got a reversal and had Muse on his back, no more than an inch from a pin. Muse eventually wriggled out of it, then gave up a stall point in the final period but held on for the decision.
Mann had more than a little responsibility on his shoulders.
"We told him all he had to do was win," South Carroll coach Pete Olson said. "He got him [Muse] on his back, but he refused to be pinned."
"Pins always set the stage, especially for a crowd this vocal," Mohlhenrich said of an early succession of pins by his team.
South Carroll's Dan Patterson (24-2) got the overflow crowd of 1,300 into it when he opened with a 1-minute, 50-second pin of Adam Tenney in an all-freshman match. The next eight duels were all Westminster.
A key one was a pin by senior Jim Reiter at 125.
Senior Bobby Biden (25-1) had just collected an unexpected forfeit at 119, and Reiter (23-6) suddenly was on the mat against freshman Bryan Hamper (21-5). He didn't expect the forfeit, and he didn't expect to draw Hamper.
"I had been going through my moves, visualizing Clark," Reiter said of an expected match with Kevin Clark. "I never expected Hamper and to get shutout, that's satisfying."
Reiter wasted no time, getting a takedown and three back points in the first period en route to a 13-0 triumph.
That silenced the South Carroll fans somewhat, but then the Westminster side of the stands took charge. Kyle Burger (25-2), Tim Sharkey (20-4), and Dave Spicer (22-2) recorded successive pins. Sharkey was the only one of the three to yield a point, as he led Scott Wachter, 12-6, when he put him down at 5: 50.
After the 152 pairing, South Carroll registered pins in three of the last four bouts. With Jason Hamper, Scott Warner, and Tom Crown each finishing his match in the first period.
Westminster's Eric Westervelt interrupted the run when he scored a technical fall over Billy Perna at 171.
Westminster lost two points on separate unsportsmanship calls.
"I'm upset with those kids because that's not the way we teach. Win or lose, you shake hands. You show respect," Mohlhenrich said. "I haven't seen us any more pumped up than this. That can be bad, because you can overshoot your opponent, get improper balance, and wind up on your back."
Pub Date: 2/06/98