Owings Mills the record champion

Cooper's 27-second pin powers 3rd straight title, 47th consecutive victory

Class 2A-1A state wrestling

High Schools

February 15, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Rob Cooper had never lost a dual meet while at Owings Mills. He wasn't about to start last night.

The 119-pound senior's 27-second pin in the night's last match clinched a 40-31 victory over Walkersville of Frederick County, earning Owings Mills its 47th straight win and its unprecedented third consecutive Class 2A-1A state title under 22nd-year coach Guy Pritzker.

Walkersville (16-2), in its first state duals final, had cut Owings Mills' lead to 34-31 on pins by Gleason Sweeney (103) and Luke Milyard (112) before Cooper took the mat.

"I've never lost a dual meet in this uniform, and I don't want to know what that feels like," said Cooper, who is 25-2. "I cleared my mind and thought about nothing but winning. Three state titles -- never been done before."

Pinning twice on the night for the Eagles (18-0), who routed Glenelg (13-4), 57-10 in their earlier semifinal, were No. 5 Eric Vinores (125), No. 6 Ryan Nash (130), No. 2 Sasha Binder (140) and Jon Sparklin (heavyweight).

Pins by Vinores (29-3), Nash (25-6) and Binder (28-0) within the first four bouts against Walkersville gave Owings Mills an 18-6 lead and firmly established the tempo.

Vinores had a 12-0 lead that included nine near-fall points before he pinned Ryan Sweeney in 4:15. Nash built an 8-0 advantage before decking the Lions' Ben Moya in 1:29. Binder followed, taking a 5-0 lead before finishing off Mike Smith in 1:46.

"We work hard in the room, and we've been thinking about this all year. It showed in every one of our matches," said Binder. "We wanted to really get things going heading into [Mike] Kessler's match."

Cooper finished things off, but Kessler (145) had a critical victory over Dan Caywood that stretched the lead to 21-6 -- countering a pin by Walkersville's Chad Cotterman (135) over Baltimore County runner-up Jon Demchick.

"I tried to pick the team back up, but the little things went their way," said Cotterman. "Dan [Caywood] had a tough loss that slowed us down again."

Kessler trailed, 2-0, in the matchup of state third-place finishers before his third-period escape and takedown gave him a 3-2 lead. Caywood's escape led to the second overtime, where he stood up but couldn't get his right leg out of Kessler's grasp.

"I knew it would be close, but I never thought I would lose for a second," said Kessler (28-2), who wrestled Caywood in the offseason. "My win definitely got everyone on my team going again."

The Eagles won three of four upperweight bouts, getting a major decision by No. 2 Eric Fishel (171), a decision by Nikolay Geraskin (189) and a pin by Sparklin -- the latter for a 34-19 lead.

Fishel (28-0) scored half of his points via the near fall as he blanked Jimmy Francis, 10-0, and, three bouts later, Sparklin pinned his man in the first period.

"It was closer than we wanted, but every match went pretty much the way we thought," said Fishel, a senior. "Our goal at the beginning of the season has been to win everything, but we still have the county, region and state tournaments."

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