For about a month now, Harford Tech's Josh Taylor has been told by some of his teammates and coaches that he should bump up from 152 pounds and wrestle at 160.
Last night at the Harford County wrestling championships, Taylor proved why he was so resistant to the change.
The junior scored a 6-4 upset of Fallston's two-time county, state and regional champion Nathan Bachmann to highlight a commanding performance by No. 3 Harford Tech, which captured its fourth straight county crown at C. Milton Wright.
"I didn't want to run from anybody," said the fifth-ranked Taylor, who improved to 24-4 by avenging a 5-4 loss to Bachmann earlier this season. "I like Nate a lot because he has the same attitude I do. Nate's main goal is to win states, and that's my goal, too, and win or lose, that type of match makes you better."
Taylor, the unanimous selection for Most Outstanding Wrestler, took Bachmann to his back with a second-period headlock, getting two points for the takedown and three more for the near fall.
Bachmann answered with two takedowns, but was thwarted the rest of the way.
It was a banner day all around for the Cobras, who crowned six county champions and tallied 210 1/2 points, comfortably ahead of second-place Bel Air (150 1/2 ), third-place Fallston (142) and fourth-place Edgewood (134 1/2 ).
Other winners for Harford Tech were Mike Long (112), Mike Taylor (130), Brad Dreyer (140), Tony Gibson (189) and Scott Tipton (215).
Mike Taylor's hard fought 11-3 major decision over Havre de Grace's Alex Wolverton gave the senior his fourth county crown, something that has only been accomplished by two other wrestlers, according to Cobras coach Gary Siler.
"[Wolverton] dropped down from 135 to 130 because he wanted me, so I definitely wasn't going to take him lightly," said the second-ranked Taylor who is 26-2. "Four county championships has always been my goal, so it's real exciting to have that off my back now."
For second-place Bel Air, sophomore B.J. Yantz (119) and senior CJ Malinowski (145) celebrated their first county titles. Yantz (27-4) survived a late charge from Fallston's Scott Parker to win an 8-7 decision, and Malinowski (27-4) scored a 11-7 victory over Aberdeen's Shane Fletcher.
"As soon as that clock hit 30 [seconds], I was in heaven," said Malinowski. "It was just a great feeling."
Edgewood took two straight titles at 160 and 171 behind Ike Wright and Eric Lindblad, while Fallston reigned at 125 and 135 with Greg Sulin and Mark Christenson winning their first county titles.
Joppatowne crowned 103-pounder junior Erick Brown (23-3) who overcame a late four-point deficit to Bel Air's Wes McBride to force overtime before winning 10-8, and top-ranked heavyweight Jeremy Navarre, who pinned Harford Tech's Chris Moxey in the first period.
Navarre, who improved to 28-0 by pinning his way through the tournament, still hasn't given up a point this season.
Meanwhile, Harford Tech reveled in its own achievement and talked about accomplishing the first of three team goals this season. Next up is the 2A-1A North regionals, starting Friday at Owings Mills and then comes the state championships a week later.
Siler admitted that a rematch with No. 2 Owings Mills, who beat the Cobras by two points in the regional duals last week, is on Harford Tech's mind.
"This is like the first leg of the triple crown for us," said Siler. "These kids want Owings Mills pretty bad."