The gymnasium was rocking at Wilde Lake High on Tuesday night as the Wildecats wrestling team hosted county rival Glenelg, but the Gladiators lived up to their No. 3 ranking and won the match, 41-18.
Glenelg (11-2) built the margin on major decisions by John Milani (135 pounds) and Jack Borkowski (145) and pins by Anthony Pagnotta (152), Charles Walls (160), Ryan Fitzgibbons (215) and Nick Caffrey (130).
The score, however, didn't really tell the story for either side. Both sides expected more, and despite the loss, Wilde Lake coach Azmar Hagler and his players found much to be proud of.
"I feel Glenelg is a very fundamental team, not a better team," said Hagler, whose Wildecats are 8-4. "They countered our attacks very well. But Nikko Jones at 285 [who lost, 2-0, when he gave up two points for stalling] was wrestling in his first match ever and he did a great job.
"I know people were upset by the way he wrestled, but I say, 'Be upset.' You do what you do to win. Alvin Harris beating [David] Pruett, a county finalist at 171, was impressive, and it was a good match at 119 [where state champion Alex Polonsky wrestled up a weight class and nearly came back to beat Glenelg's Ryan Carter before falling, 6-5], though it didn't go exactly the way we'd planned. I think when we get to the county tournament, we'll be a different team."
So different, Harris said, that he believes, "we're going to sweep the county championships." Harris, who won with a 7-3 decision, added: "I don't mean to sound cocky. I just have faith."
Bolstering that faith were pins by Wilde Lake's Zathy Ndiang (189) and decisions by Marcus Coffield (140), Ethan Eckley (103) and Ethan Trinh (125).
All this followed a strong performance by Glenelg's Milani, whose 135-pound match was the first of the night. In that contest, Milani, his first year as a varsity wrestler, was aggressive from the start and earned a 10-1 major decision to stake his team to a 4-0 lead.
"I just wanted to get momentum going," he said. "I'm ranked fifth in the county, and the guy I wrestled [Tola Morakinyo] is ranked third. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I just went out and took it to him. I didn't hold anything back."
Neither side did.
"To be honest," Milani said, "I thought we'd have a few more points. We don't usually show our backs to the mat, but they gave us a run for our money."
103—Eckley (WL) d. Miller, 9-3; 112—Zoller (G) d. J.Trinh, 8-3; 119—Carter (G) d. Polonsky, 6-5; 125—E.Trinh (WL) d. Au.Pagnotta, , 5-2; 130—Caffrey (G) p. Faulkner, :36; 135—Milani md (G) md. Morakinyo, 10-1; 140—Coffield (WL) d. Dymond, 3-2; 145—Borkowski (G) md. Brown, 11-1; 152—An.Pagnotta (WL) p. Bittner, 4:40; 160—Walls (G) p. Seidell, 2:41; 171— Harris (WL) d. Pruett, 7-3; 189 —Ndiang (WL) p. Lucas, 1:12; 215— Fitzgibbons (G) p. Ingram, 2:22; Hwt —Hoyt (G) d. Jones, 2-0.