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Bel Air won a team region title, six wrestlers won individual region titles and 23 wrestlers qualified for this weekend’s Maryland State Wrestling Tournament in the two regional tournaments contested Saturday at Meade and Kent County high schools.

Bel Air, behind two champions, placed eight wrestlers overall at Kent County Saturday, en route to the Class 1A-2A East region title with 130.5 points. Rising Sun was second with 106.

Other Harford schools were Harford Tech, fourth with 85; Fallston, seventh with 73; Patterson Mill, 11th with 39; Joppatowne, 16th with 31.5; and Havre de Grace, 22nd with seven.

At the 3A-4A East tourney at Meade, North Harford (17 points), Aberdeen (13 points) and C. Milton Wright (four points) finished 18th, 19th and 20th, respectively.

Both tourneys were turned into one-day events after schools were closed Friday.

At Kent County, Bel Air’s Jeff Taylor and Justin Cole each won titles at 103 and 215 pounds, respectively.

Fallston also had two champions, while Harford Tech and Patterson Mill each crowned one.

Four others from Harford were in title bouts, but each were beaten and finished as runner-ups.

Bel Air sophomore Taylor (40-3) got the finals off to a good start for the Harford contingent, beating North Dorchester’s Spencer Horseman, 5-3, in overtime.

Horseman took a 2-0 first period lead, but an escape by Taylor cut the lead in half.

An escape by Horseman in the third period pushed the lead to 3-1, but Taylor tied up match with a takedown in the final 35 seconds.

Then, in the one-minute sudden death overtime period, Taylor scored another takedown to win the title.

For teammate Cole (39-1), no extra time was needed in his final against Nick Hubbard of Cambridge-South Dorchester.

Cole, a senior, gained an escape and a takedown in the second period to take a 3-0 lead into the final period.

Cole added a takedown in the final period and won, 5-0.

Fallston’s two titles came from senior Austin Mueller at 135 and freshman Stephen Bachmann at 145.

Mueller (30-4), the top seed, held form despite falling behind in his title bout with Kent County’s Jimmy Peacock.

Peacock caught Mueller with a headlock out of a reversal and added two near fall points for a 4-0 lead early in the second period.

Before the period ended, Mueller got two points back on a reverse and two more for a near fall, knotting the score at 4-4 with one period left.

Mueller chose to start the final period down and with another reverse, took a 6-4 lead.

Mueller the picked up two near fall points twice to secure the 135 title with a 10-4 win.

Bachmann (16-2) was equally dominant in his 9-3 win over Bel Air senior Justin Lorber at 145.

Bachmann’s takedown was the only scoring in the first period, before six second period points opened up an 8-1 lead.

Bachmann put Lorber’s back to the mat for a pair of near fall points, before Lorber escaped. Bachmann took Lorber down for two more points, followed by another set of near fall points.

Both wrestlers were hit with third period stalling penalties that closed out the scoring.

Tech’s lone champion was senior Brandon Gain (35-4), who with his 9-2 win at 125, finished his career with four consecutive region titles.

In the final, Gain met a familiar face in Robert Rakes of Rising Sun.

This was the fourth meeting of the two, with Gain holding a 2-1 advantage.

Gain had little trouble in making it three of four. After a scoreless first period, Gain took a reverse for two points into a three-point near fall and a 5-0 lead in the closing seconds of the second period.

Rakes’ points came with a takedown in the third period, but Gain erased those points with a reverse and then added two more near fall points before time expired.

Harford’s other champion was Patterson Mill sophomore Zach Cullison (36-1).

Cullison used two takedowns and two sets of three back points to jump ahead of North Dorchester’s Darren Thompson, 10-0, through two periods.

In the third period, Cullison put away the match, pinning Thompson at the 5:37 mark.

For one other Bel Air finalist, senior Anton Lawhon, the finals didn’t go so well; he lost to Rising Sun’s Anthony Cimorosi in a title bout for the second straight week.

In both cases, Lawhon was beaten by small margins.

The latest was a 5-2 setback in which Lawhon’s points came with escape points in each of the first and third periods.

Cimorosi recorded two takedowns and an escape in the win.

Joppatowne junior David Volz also had a narrow defeat in the 171 final. Volz and rival Jordan Gowe of Saint Michaels scored an escape point each through three periods, sending the bout to overtime.

In the one minute extra period, neither wrestler scored a point, forcing the second overtime in which both wrestlers get to start from bottom in two 30-second periods.

Gowe, on bottom first, reversed Volz immediately and then rode him out the remaining time for a 3-1 lead.

Volz escaped in his down to start the period, but attempts to score a winning takedown were defended by Gowe, who won the emotional match, 3-2.

Harford’s other finalist was Tech senior Mark Massimini, who fell 7-2 to Easton’s Ben Culver.

Culver built up a 6-0 lead into the third period before Massimini scored his points with a reverse.

A small handful of others qualified for the state meet with third or fourth place finishes.

The third place finishers were Tech’s Jamie Rappazzo, 152; Bel Air’s Tom Kuegler, 171, and Mike Marianetti, 189; and Fallston’s Brandon Vecchioni, 215.

Fourth place finishers were Fallston’s C.J. Austin, 112; Joppatowne’s Eric Sanders, 125; Bel Air’s Steve Cross, 130, and Blake Calligaro, 160; Tech’s Joey Malanga, 140, and Patrick Rivera, 189; and Patterson Mill’s Alex Oxenberg, 152.

3A-4A a struggle

At Meade, just two wrestlers were able to place in the top four to qualify for the state tourney.

Aberdeen junior Shayduan Velez ended with a 2-2 record and finished fourth at 112, while North Harford senior Joey Knox also went 2-2 to place fourth at 160.


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