Mt. Hebron routs Annapolis for state dual-meet crown

No. 3 Vikings complete regular season at 18-0

High Schools

Class 4A-3A wrestling

February 10, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The third stage of a season-long mission for the Mount Hebron wrestling team is complete.

After winning the Howard County and Class 4A-3A North Regional dual-meet crowns, the No. 3 Vikings finished the sweep by capturing their first 4A-3A state dual-meet championship with a 44-15 defeat of ninth-ranked Annapolis last night at Lansdowne.

Mount Hebron, which was the top seed in the dual-meet championship, put the finishing touches on a perfect season (18-0) and became the first Howard County school other than Hammond (2A-1A titles in 1996 and 1998) to claim a state dual-meet crown.

But as far as the Vikings are concerned, the mission is only half-complete.

"Our goal was to go to 18-0 and get banners in our gym," said junior Zak Porta.

"We have three more to get," he continued, referring to the county, regional and state tournaments that start next weekend. "After that, the goal will be fulfilled."

Added senior Mike Mengel: "I'll be satisfied when we win the state tournament on March 5."

Last night's championship involved the winners of Wednesday's four regionals.

Mount Hebron advanced to last night's final on the strength of earning seven pins in the 10 weight classes it won en route to a 52-12 pounding of fourth-seeded Northern of Calvert County (14-3).

To get to the championship final, third-seeded Annapolis shocked reigning state dual-meet champion and second-seeded Paint Branch, 33-18, in the semifinals. The Panthers (15-1) of Montgomery County dropped five consecutive divisions between 112 and 135 pounds in suffering their first loss in two seasons.

Having added Paint Branch to a list of upsets that included No. 7 Old Mill and No. 8 Chesapeake in the 4A-3A East Regional, Annapolis appeared to have some momentum, which drew the attention of Vikings coach Michael Duffy.

"They were on a great roll, and we were concerned," he said. "They beat Old Mill and Chesapeake, and in my opinion, they handedly beat Paint Branch. But from top to bottom, I feel that we can wrestle with anybody."

After trading victories at 171 and 189 pounds, Mount Hebron registered 24 unanswered points with five straight wins.

Eric Kunimoto (103) and Austin Laws (112) recorded pins, Justin Neal (heavyweight) added a technical fall, and Grant Gormley (119) and Zach Wendal (125) collected a major decision and a decision, respectively.

Andrew Smith stemmed the tide with a decision at 130 to draw Annapolis to a 27-6 deficit, but Porta earned a pin at 135 to extend the lead to 27 points with a possible 24 points left in the remaining four matches.

Bill Vollono pinned at 140 for Annapolis, but the Vikings' Shawn Girch got a pin at 145.

Annapolis' Joe Mihoces scored a decision at 152, but Mount Hebron Mike Mengel ended the match with a technical fall at 160.

"They were solid up and down the lineup," said Annapolis coach Tom Sfakiyanudis. "There wasn't a weak point. I think Mount Hebron was just a better team."

Annapolis finished with a 15-3 record and their first state dual-meet final appearance since qualifying for the regionals last season.

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