Two-time regional champions Dan Patterson and Bryan Hamper lead fourth-ranked South Carroll into today's state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College.
The Cavaliers are tied with No. 3 River Hill for the second-most number of qualifiers -- eight -- at the Class 4A-3A tournament. Only West regional champ North Hagerstown and East regional champ Old Mill -- with nine each -- bring more wrestlers.
South Carroll, which lost the North regional crown to the Hawks from Howard County by three points last weekend, is powered by two workhorses in Patterson and Hamper.
Patterson, a 130-pound junior, improved to 27-2 by pinning River Hill sophomore Michael Dauberman in the second period of their regional championship bout.
Should he defeat Mervo's Jermaine Justice (18-6) in the first round and advance to the state semifinals, Patterson could face East regional champ Adam DeCosmo, of Old Mill, who is 32-2. Hamper (28-1), a 140-pound junior, gave Kenwood junior Jason Laubach, a state runner-up last season, his first loss of the season, pinning him in the second period of their regional final.
Hamper, who gets Eleanor Roosevelt's Gopal Shangari (21-12), likely will meet South regional titlist Marcello Nucci (32-3), of Northern-Calvert, in the semifinals.
The Cavaliers also will be represented by sophomore Buddy Olson (119), junior Kellen Weber (125), junior Josh Wampler (135), senior Kevin Clark (145), sophomore Travis Mohlhenrich (152) and senior Chris Currence (171).
Olson (21-10) has a first-round date with East regional runner-up Socrates Mamalis (20-9), of Severna Park, and Weber (24-6) matches up against South regional runner-up Bobby Jamison (27-3), of Thomas Stone.
In other first-round action, Wampler (25-8) will take on South regional runner-up Jonas Bray (26-5), of Bowie, and Clark (22-5) will oppose West regional runner-up Adam James (29-4), of Paint Branch. Mohlhenrich (21-10) will face Julian Carter (16-18), of Oxon Hill, and Currence (18-6) will meet West regional champ Brendan McCarron (32-1), of Gaithersburg.
North Carroll has two state qualifiers in sophomore Tyler Graham and junior Ross Bell, who both were fourth at regionals.
Graham (26-4) will square off against East regional champ Steve Yaruta (26-4), of Chesapeake, in the first round, and Bell (21-9) matches up against state champ Jeff Eveleth (29-0), also of Chesapeake.
Senior Rich Skelly, who scored a 10-1 major decision against Patapsco senior Will Richter to place third in their 160-pound bout, and sophomore Justin Muhl, who finished fourth among 130-pounders, will carry the load for Liberty.
Muhl (17-13) will take on DeCosmo in the first round, and Skelly (25-5) opposes East regional runner-up Reid Bloomfield (19-9) of Broadneck.
Westminster's lone representative is senior Gabe Wilson, who decisioned Parkville senior Ray Ihle, 9-5, to grab third place in the 140-pound division. Wilson (26-9) meets South regional runner-up Garret Black (28-2) of Chopticon.
In Class 2A-1A, Francis Scott Key will place its hopes on the broad shoulders of senior heavyweight Greg Frech and junior 171-pounder Dan Holler.
Frech (24-5), a West regional runner-up, will square off against Mike Collier (29-9), of North Caroline, in the first round. Holler (18-13), who placed fourth at the regionals, will face North regional champ Jason Summerlin (34-1), of Owings Mills.