Nichols' rally caps McDonogh victory

No. 3 Eagles roll, 38-23, over No. 6 Boys' Latin

Wrestling

January 12, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

McDonogh's Ben Nichols isn't one to follow a crowd, which is why his was the only hair on the No. 3 Eagles' wrestling team yesterday that was not orangish-blond from a bleaching job gone awry.

But the 160-pound junior, who wrestles at 171, nevertheless proved he belonged with a come-from-behind 11-10 victory over Christian Spannhake that clinched a 38-23 dual-meet victory at sixth-ranked Boys' Latin.

The victory improves McDonogh to 8-3 overall, 3-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. Boys' Latin fell to 6-2, 2-1.

"Dying my hair, that's not my style. I just like to stay natural," said Nichols, who rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Spannhake to give McDonogh an insurmountable lead, 34-17, with two bouts left.

Top-ranked Geoff Miller (189) of McDonogh scored a major decision, and Lakers heavyweight Paul Marchese won by forfeit.

"Miller's a tough practice partner, and that definitely helps," Nichols said. It also helped that McDonogh dropped its wrestlers down a weight from 152 to 130; all but one of those who did won.

McDonogh led 10-0 after Brandon Tillman (103) pinned Paul Trainor in 2 minutes, 49 seconds, and Robbie Willey (112) drilled Mike Corso, 17-3. The Lakers were within 10-4 after getting a 14-4 major decision by No. 2 Henry Blue (119). But McDonogh's Chet Naylor (125) improved to 27-1 with a 42-second pin for an overall lead of 16-4.

A 9-4 victory by the Lakers' Alex Emmer (130) against Jesse Sataloff brought his team to within 16-7, but No. 1 Ricky Tippett (135) edged fifth-ranked Brian Saval, 3-2, on a one-point stalling call with 30 seconds left, followed by consecutive pins from Zak Johns (140) and Travis Holmes (145).

"That row of guys is tops in the state and can just wipe out a team's morale," Miller said. "It was awesome seeing Nichols come back and win after being down 4-0. For someone giving up 11 pounds, that's pretty good."

Boys' Latin's No. 1 Jerome Featherstone (152) scored a technical fall to improve to 11-1, and teammate Justin Buddemeyer (160) had a pin. Lakers coach Drew Haugh lamented the late call in the match involving Saval, who led early 2-0 but said that "the better team won."

"The Tippett-Saval match, I think you let that that be decided by a takedown," Haugh said. "Our guys didn't lay down. We wrestled pretty tough."

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