FREDERICK -- Old Mill added something new to its already extensive trophy case last night, capturing its first Class 3A-4A dual meet state championship with a 32-21 win over Westminster at Frederick High.
The No. 5-ranked Patriots (16-1) got an outstanding performance from Chris Combs at 119 and a solid all-around team effort to get past No. 8-ranked Westminster, which settled for the runner-up spot for a second straight year.
It's the seventh state title in all for the Patriots, who also have six state tournament championships to their credit.
"This was one thing we wanted," coach Mike Hampe said of the title. "We had never won it."
Yesterday, the Patriots picked up right where they left off on Wednesday when they knocked off last year's dual meet state champ Arundel, 25-24, to claim the East region.
After coasting to a 37-29 win over Calvert in the state semifinal earlier in the day, the Patriots fought off a tough challenge from Westminster to go home champions.
"This feels great. The Arundel win definitely helped our confidence, and add to that technique, conditioning and tradition -- those are the three things we count on," said Hampe.
In the Class 1A-2A final, No. 4-ranked Hammond (18-0) came away with a 31-24 win over Kent County.
The Golden Bears had a one-point lead going into the heavyweight match when Matt Nelson scored a second-period pin over Kent's Mike Maloney to secure the title.
The Patriots had a 9-0 lead when Combs, a state champ at 103 last year, took to the mat against Westminster standout Bobby Biden, who fell to 28-2 on the season. The aggressor throughout, Combs came away with a 9-2 decision to help set the tone for the rest of the night.
"Bobby's a tough kid and I have a lot of respect for him. I just wanted to come out aggressive and attacking and if I could keep that style, that would be good for me," said Combs. "Westminster has a great team and we really stepped it up tonight."
After Chris DeAdder's decision over Jim Reiter at 125 gave the Patriots a 15-0 lead, the Owls answered with three straight wins -- including a Tim Sharkey pin at 135 -- to cut the lead to 15-12.
Tony Cooksey was able to hold off John Muse to score a 9-8 decision at 145 and Eric DeCosmo followed with a first-period pin over Justin Vogler to push the lead back to 24-12.
The Patriots clinched the match at 171 when Ted Desautels scored a 13-5 major decision over Matt Lang.
"Old Mill has nice technique, ride real tough on top and came out very intense," said Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich.
"Pivotal matches? We thought [Bobby] Biden and John Muse would win, but things don't always go as planned," the Westminster coach said.
After the match, Hampe dedicated the championship to former standout Gary Baker, a 1990 grad and state champion who's battling cancer.
The Patriots clinched their semifinal match against Calvert at 152 when DeCosmo needed just 30 seconds to pin Jerimiah Cleman, which provided a 37-5 lead.
Other pins came from DeAdder (125), Dave Hicks (130) and Cooksey (145) as Old Mill took the first five matches to jump out to a 22-0 lead.
Rich Sampson also came away with a well-earned 7-5 decision over Calvert (13-4) standout Jason Poore at 140.
With the match already decided, the Patriots forfeited the last three matches to save their upper weights for the championship.
Pub Date: 2/15/98