A year ago, Hereford's Anthony Schabdach only won seven more times than he lost.
"In tournaments, I'd come in fourth, maybe third," said the 5-foot-7 Schabdach. "I'm usually the shorter guy in matches. But hopefully, when I stand on the podium, I'll be just as tall as everyone else."
Of the four Hereford champions crowned at last night's 10-team Francis Scott Key Christmas Tournament, none stood taller than Schabdach, whose 215-pound crown was his first in high school.
Sophomores Jeremy Keil (112) and state champ Josh Asper (145), and senior Bobby Fouts (160) also paced the 14th-ranked Bulls of Baltimore County, who placed 10 wrestlers in the top four of their weight classes to outdistance runner-up Oakland Mills of Howard County, 169-148.
Schabdach (11-2) breezed to a 10-0 rout of Greencastle's Kyle Hansen (8-1) for the title after having overcome an 8-2 semifinal deficit for a 14-13 victory over St. Mary's Robert Garland.
"Winning takes hard work and heart," said Schabdach, a junior. "Give everything you've got - that's what coach [Ron Causey] always tells us."
Keil (10-2) scored a 48-second pin in his title bout, but Asper (11-1) and Fouts (13-0) were equally dominant. Asper scored a 14-4 rout of Oakland Mills' Jevon Saunders and Fouts hammered Greencastle's Dale Nichols, 17-7.
Oakland Mills crowned Vince McClain (103) and No. 5 Jeremy Askew (171). Askew rose to 12-1 (10 pins) with a 5-1 victory over Greencastle's Matt Copenhaver. After routing North Hagerstown's previously unbeaten Delon Agee, 11-3, in the semifinals, McClain (12-2) had to win his title off his back against Matt Hicks (11-2) of St. Mary's. Down 7-1, Hicks scored a five-point headlock on McClain, who fought off a pin for 90 seconds and a 7-6 victory.
The host school's No. 3 Luke Schuster (189) improved to 9-0 with seven pins, pinning once and winning his title by injury default over North Hagerstown's previously unbeaten Joey Lamp.
Century's state runner-up Alex Grassi (119) rose to 9-0 after winning a battle of unbeatens and a possible preview of the Carroll County title bout. Grassi's reversal with 40 seconds left secured a 5-3 victory over third-ranked league rival Reuben Gill (10-1) of Francis Scott Key.
"I'm at the perfect weight to tell you the truth, right where I need to be. I felt like we were equal in strength," said the sixth-ranked Grassi, who wrestled at 112 pounds last year while Gill returns to 119. "I'm sure we'll see each other again, and we're both looking forward to it."
Fourth-ranked Shane Eyler (152, 10-1 record) of Francis Scott Key lost a battle of unbeatens, 2-1, to Greencastle's acrobatic Conrad Myers, who ran his winning streak to 30 bouts.
Portland Jesuit 74, No. 2 Towson Catholic 61 -- Junior Donte' Greene had 22 points and 17 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the second-ranked Owls (10-3) fell in their first game of the Les Schwab Tournament in Portland, Ore.
No. 8 Randallstown 73, Hammond 55 -- Darrell Bryant scored 23 to lead the visiting Rams (8-0) in the Hammond Tournament.
No. 15 Lake Clifton 41, Joppatowne 21 -- Darius Gilmore scored 15 and Daryl Eberhart had 11 as the Lakers (6-1) took the championship in the Christmas Mixer at the Lake tournament. The Lakers held the Mariners to just four second-half points.
Atholton 69, Calvert 44 -- Steve Lombardozzi and Sam Permutt combined for 41 points as the Raiders (5-3) rolled in the consolation game of the Old Mill Tournament.
No. 11 Roland Park 58, Lee 31 -- Amanda Hessinger scored 22 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Reds (9-0) over Lee (Huntsville, Ala). Roland Park moved on to the semifinals of the Beech Christmas Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
No. 14 South River 73, Kent Island 21 -- Ali Moreland scored 12 and Katherine Sullivan added 11 as the Seahawks (5-1) beat the Buccaneers in the semifinals of the Queen Anne's Tournament. South River will face the winner of Queen Anne's/Broadneck in tonight's championship.
No. 4 McDonogh 76, Pallotti 58 -- Brittany Mallory scored 28 points, including her 1,000th career point, as the host Eagles (5-4) handed the Panthers (8-1) their first loss in the first round of the Holly and Hoops Tournament at McDonogh.
Staff reports contributed to this article.