The state wrestling tournament turned into an historic celebration Saturday night, as Winters Mill (2A-1A) claimed its first state title and broke a 26-year drought for Carroll County schools. But it didn't stop there.
Carver put two wrestlers in the 2A-1A finals for the first time in its history, and Tyler Hinton (140 pounds became the school's first state champion and only the fourth state champ from the city.
Centennial junior Nathan Kraisser (125) and Oakland Mills junior Tony Farace (112 pounds) became three-time winners in the 4A-3A and 2A-1A classes, respectively, and are the only two wrestlers who have the chance of joining an elite club of four-time state champions next season.
In 2A-1A, Patterson Mill junior Zach Cullison (119) became his school's first state champ, while Prince George's County's Bladensburg's Jamal Saunders (285) was the first for his school.
All of them said they couldn't wait to go out and eat, but few could match Kraisser in his celebration plans.
"I'm going to route 40 and stopping at every place I pass." he said. "McDonalds, Checkers, pizza, Burger King — whatever they've got!"
Winters Mill beat Owings Mills, 126.5-107.5 for the title. Glenelg was third with 94 points. In the 4A-3A class, La Plata of Charles County beat last year's champion, Reservoir, 132.5-79.0, while Perry Hall was third with 70.5 points. It was La Plata's third title.
"It's an enormous accomplishment," Winters Mill coach John Lowe said of his team's win. "We ended a 26-year drought for Carroll County and I can't understand why it took so long. We've had a lot of good teams and wrestlers over the years. I just feel very lucky to be the one to get the job done."
To do it, Winters Mill's placed three wrestlers in the finals: Wes Cook (130), Keith Steine (135) and Justin Kozera (285). Only Kozera claimed a title, but all eight of the Falcons wrestlers scored points. Six placed.
Five wrestlers were vying for their third state titles, while three others were trying for their second.
Kraisser finished with a 41-0 record, and with Farace, who is also 41-0, now has a chance to join Aberdeen's Matt Slutzky, Owings Mills' Steve Kessler, Hereford's Josh Asper and Southern Garrett's George Scheffel as Maryland's only four-time state titlists.
"It seemed so far away when I was a freshman," said Kraisser. "Now it's here as a real possibility. I'm proud that Tony and I still have the chance — and we're both from the same county [Howard]."
Old Mill senior Ron Vaughters at 145 (4A-3A), South Garrett seniors Lex Ozias at 152 (2A-1A) and Bubba Scheffel at 171 (2A-1A) all won for the third time, while Parkside senior Zack Eure at 215 (2A-1A) and Reservoir senior Mark Colabucci at 171 (4A-3A) also earned their second titles..
Carver's Hinton Antonio Brockington (103) helped their team finish 11th. Placing that high is a rare achievement for a city school.
"It's awesome for Tyler to win the title," said Carver coach Shawn Girch. "He's been working in the room all year. He told me when I took over this year that his goal was to win states and he has. I'm so proud of him. He didn't give up when his opponent had him on his back. He came back and won in overtime."
Aberdeen senior Shayduan Velez became the Eagles' first champion since 1999 when he won a 7-2 decision at 112.
"It's a dream come true," said Velez. "My last year. My last chance. And I made history."