Harford Tech, Long savor the day



When asked how it felt to win his first individual state title while his Harford Tech squad captured its initial state crown, senior Mike Long just laughed.

"It can't be any sweeter than that, can it?" Long asked.

Long captured the 130-pound state championship after losing for two straight years in the finals, and Harford Tech finally made it over the top after coming close three times. The Cobras edged Hammond, 114-112.5, to take the Class 2A-1A championship last weekend in College Park.

In the final, Long edged Tony Mack of Owings Mills, 3-1, to finish the year at 40-2. Long became just the third wrestler in school history to win a state championship.

But Long was just as happy that his team finally got the title. The Cobras were fifth in the state last year after taking second the two years before that.

"We knew that we were going to win it before we went into the state tournament," Long said. "I worked as hard as I possibly could. We worked harder than any other team in the county and it showed when it counted."

Mark Taylor (112) and Matt Kahl (145) each finished second. Kahl also lost in last year's final and, like Long, pushed himself at a relentless pace to try and win a championship. But Kahl suffered a tough loss to Hereford's Josh Asper, falling 5-4 in double overtime in the finals.

Taylor dropped a 10-3 decision to Hammond's Devon Gillett. The Cobras' Jonathan Woods (152) and Jeff Gardner (171) finished fourth.

Harford Tech coach Gary Siler, who is normally low-key, was excited after his Cobras pulled out a close victory in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference a few weeks ago. He knew they had a tough road ahead, but felt optimistic.

"If we can keep this going, I think we're going to do really well in the states," Siler said.

His words proved prescient, as the Cobras nipped Stephen Decatur in the Class 2A-1A regional meet by two points and then pulled out the state crown by 1.5 points.

Fouled out

Harford County didn't have any teams make this weekend's state final four in basketball.

On the boys' side, Aberdeen, Fallston and Joppatowne all suffered road losses in their respective regional semifinals. Long Reach handed Aberdeen a 55-45 loss in the Class 3A East regional semifinal, stopping the Eagles from a return trip to College Park.

Joppatowne also was denied another chance to go to Comcast Center when Wicomico rolled to an 86-50 victory in the Class 2A East regional semifinal. Both Aberdeen and Joppatowne moved up one class this year.

Aberdeen lost in last year's Class 2A state final, while Joppatowne fell in the Class 1A state semifinal.

Fallston's surprising run ended when it ran into Annapolis in the other Class 3A East regional semifinal. The Panthers used their stingy defense to pull out a 59-31 victory over the 11th-seeded Cougars.

The girls all faced a similar fate, with three teams falling on the road in the regional semifinals.

River Hill cruised to a 74-38 victory over Bel Air in the Class 3A East regional semifinal. C. Milton Wright battled Woodlawn before falling, 43-35, in the Class 4A North regional semifinal. Joppatowne also fell, dropping a 71-59 decision to Parkside in a Class 2A East regional semifinal.

All for mom

Colin Sanders had one of the best stretches of his ice hockey career a few weeks ago, posting six goals and two assists to help Fallston win four games. But Sanders had some extra motivation.

Sanders had his mother on his mind. Joanie Judd was in the hospital after undergoing surgery for adrenal cancer. It was Judd's third operation for cancer, and she was recovering from the surgery in the Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital during her son's hot streak.

"Those goals were for her," Sanders said. "Just playing and thinking about how she's in the hospital laying there ... it makes me want to play harder to make her happy."

Judd experienced some post-operative problems that kept her in the hospital for 27 days, but is out and doing better now. She comes to as many of her son's games as possible. Judd even came to see his recreation league team play in Bowie - her husband, Adam, coaches it - a few days before going into the hospital for the surgery.

Sanders played on a potent line with Nick Uroda and Rick Gott, as the Cougars rolled to the four wins.

Sanders had 10 goals and nine assists for Fallston this season, but it's this one stretch he'll remember the most.

Spring sports

Spring sports are set to start on March 21 this season, with lacrosse expanding to include the UCBAC schools.

The Cecil County schools will play both boys and girls lacrosse for the first time. They'll play within their county this year - as sort of an unofficial UCBAC division - with a few playing Harford schools. Everything then comes together next year.

At that point, boys volleyball would be the only sport not officially in the UCBAC.

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