Benicewicz, Mt. Hebron get decisive upper hand

3rd-ranked Vikings rout No. 11 Hammond, 43-8, and Wilde Lake, 57-9

Wrestling

January 29, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Mount Hebron's Andrew Benicewicz simply had no choice: He would either get the first takedown against Russell Tebeleff or receive a lesson similar to the one he endured in an earlier loss to the Hammond wrestler.

Benicewicz scored the first takedown for an early lead on the way to a 7-2 victory over fifth-ranked Tebeleff last night as the third-ranked Vikings routed both host Hammond (43-8) and Wilde Lake (57-9) in a Howard County tri-meet.

Benicewicz had lost a match earlier that night, 7-3, to Wilde Lake's Matt Ennis (17-2, 11 pins), whom Tebeleff (25-5) defeated, 10-6.

"I knew it was going to be a tough night of wrestling, and I knew against Tebeleff, I had to get the first takedown because he took me down four times at the Hammond Tournament," said Benicewicz, who raised his season record to 20-5. "He beat me by five points, so I knew I'd have to win on my feet. This feels good. This turns my season around, I think, and gives me a lot more confidence the rest of the year."

Down 9-0 after three bouts, the Vikings closed with 10 straight victories over No. 11 Hammond. Hammond (9-2, 4-2 league), a 35-15 winner against Wilde Lake (7-5, 4-3), lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Vikings (12-0, 8-0) took their first lead against Hammond, 13-9, after No. 3 Chris Garrow (189) raised his record to 22-2 with a pin. Early on, teammates Mike Mengel (160) improved to 24-2 with a major decision, and county champion Scott Bissett (171) overcame a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 decision over Steve Sessa.

The Vikings also got pins from Grant Gormley (119) and Zach Wendal (125); a technical fall by Eric Kunimoto (103); and decisions by Austin Laws (103), Zak Porta (135) and third-ranked heavyweight Justin Neal, who is 19-4 this season.

Hammond got only decisions from the Graham twins, Jarrell (140) and Chad (145), and Lee Seidman (152).

"Hammond's a team of great tradition, great athletes and great athletes who never quit, so it was important to be focused on the moment," said Mount Hebron coach Michael Duffy, whose Vikings visit No. 5 River Hill on Thursday. "That's going to be a great match between two outstanding teams."

Tebeleff credited a tough schedule for giving him an advantage against Ennis, who had beaten the Hammond wrestler three times, pinning him once. Down 4-1 early, Tebeleff battled back to a 6-6 tie before securing the victory with a four-point headlock with a minute left.

Besides Benicewicz, Tebeleff's only losses are to Delaware state champion Pat Atkinson, National Preps runner-up Aaron Herwig of Mount St. Joseph and two Virginia wrestlers.

"In my opinion, Ennis wasn't anywhere near what Herwig was, and I felt I could wrestle all the way through with Herwig," Tebeleff said. "I knew I'd have more energy in the third period, so I just fought, fought. I knew the main thing was to protect my legs and I'd be fine. I've been waiting all year for this."

Wilde Lake's Pat Burns (the No. 2-ranked heavyweight) moved to 19-0 with a pin against Hammond and a 6-3 victory over Neal, erasing a 2-2 tie with his takedown with 16 seconds left in the second period.

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