River Hill too deep for Atholton

Hawks romp, 40-19, despite Radik's big pin

January 10, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Behind the guts and determination of Bryan Radik, Atholton won the battle. But with superior depth and the overall excellence of so many, River Hill won the war.

It was billed as the best wrestling match of year in Howard County coming in, and it did little to disappoint. But the No. 5 Hawks showed just why they are the toast of the league this season, winning eight matches - five by pins - to blow past the No. 8 Raiders, 40-19, yesterday.

"I didn't sleep very well Sunday night because I wasn't sure what they were going to do or what was going to happen," said River Hill coach Earl Lauer, whose team was coming off a tough 33-30 loss to Damascus. "But I was pleased. I think if this team tonight had wrestled like this Saturday, we'd have beaten Damascus by 15."

The Hawks were softened up by the flu against Damascus, but had fresh legs against the Raiders. But Atholton was without injured Jeff Steinberg at 119. So Lauer and Raiders coach Bruce Lindblad, longtime friends and competitors, shifted and tweaked their lineups on the fly to try and gain any advantage. The strategy and the volatile crowd made for good theater as well as good wrestling.

Atholton's Doug Ramsey won a major decision easily at 103 over Vince Cina to start things off, but River Hill came back with two wins by Danny Allen at 112 and Kevin Cannon 119.

No match, however, was as good as the one at 130 between two of the state's best wrestlers, Bryan Radik and Ryan Green. Green came in ranked No. 1 in the state and sported a 13-0 record, but Radik, ranked No. 5, has been hot and was coming off a weekend where he earned Outstanding Wrestler at the Northern Garrett Tournament.

The two veterans stalked each other carefully from the start, with neither wrestler able to gain the edge. But tied at 5-5 with under 10 seconds to go, Radik found something extra, scoring on a dramatic takedown for the 7-5 win.

"I knew if I didn't pull it through, we probably couldn't get it done," Radik said. "He was good at the hand control and fighting me off, but I pulled it off. I knew it was probably going to be the biggest match of the season and I needed to win it for the team and give us a boost."

Radik's victory gave Atholton the lead at 10-9, and appeared to hand them the momentum as well as the home crowd thumped the bleachers and shook the gym. But the Hawks remained poised and unfazed as they have most of the year, grabbing the advantage back with pins by Matt Shevland over Nick Colabucci at 135 and Mike Dauberman over Melvin White 140.

"Every match is going to be close when you have top caliber wrestlers going against each other," Lindblad said. "One person makes a mistake and you can turn the tide of the whole thing. River Hill is a great team, but we gave up some points were we knew we couldn't."

Raider Adam Roth pinned Franco Fiorio at 145 to keep it close, but River Hill's Austin Sheeringer gave the Hawks a commanding lead at 31-16 advantage by pinning Chris Pibal at 160. From there, River Hill simply stepped on the accelerator, getting a 6-0 decision by Jesse Fawcett over Doug Woods at 189 sealed the win, and then a pin by heavyweight Scott Cannon over Robert Olson.

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