WALDORF, Md. —Maybe the North Hagerstown wrestling team was a bit too satisfied just to have advanced to the Maryland Class 4A-3A State Dual Meet Championships, or maybe River Hill was just too powerful.
It seemed to be some of both as the fourth-seeded Hubs were overwhelmed by the top-seeded Hawks in the semifinals Saturday at North Point High School, falling 38-31 in a match that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
The Hubs (19-5), who had their 13-match winning streak snapped, earned their spot in Saturday’s four-team tournament by winning the West region title Wednesday. It was North’s first trip to the state duals since 2000 and third time overall.
“At the beginning of the year, the kids set goals for themselves, and one of the team goals they set was to qualify for the state duals,” North coach Greg Slick said. “Next year, the goal has to be to win the state duals.”
Saturday’s match started with the 160-pound weight class, and River Hill, the East region champ, went to work against North’s upper weights, getting major decisions at 160 and 182 and pins at 195, 220 and 285 for a 26-3 lead. The Hubs’ three points came from Kenneth Burrs’ win by decision at 170.
“River Hill wrestled a very aggressive match against us from the very first bout,” Slick said. “We just didn’t match their aggressiveness. They pushed their style of wrestling on us, and we just never responded.”
The Hawks were the ones with answers. At 182, Omar Messalum trailed North’s Connor McHose 5-4 at the end of the second period, but outscored McHose 12-3 in the third for a 16-8 major decision.
At 285, Dopson had a 6-3 lead on River Hill’s Jason Johnson late in the third period, but got reversed to his back and pinned with 4 seconds left.
“I was looking up at the clock and was more worried about how much time was left,” Dopson said. “I lost my focus and let him take advantage of me.”
The Hawks kept going, getting a pin at 106 and a decision at 113 for a 35-3 advantage, leaving it up to North’s undefeated sophomore, Brendon Colbert, to stop the bleeding at 120.
“I knew I had to get a win to get our heads back up,” said Colbert, whose second-period pin improved his season record to 30-0.
North’s Gene Balcita followed with a major decision at 126 as the Hubs were still alive, at least mathematically, trailing 35-13 with four bouts left.
But River Hill’s Patrick Linden then edged Coleman McHose 9-7 at 132 to give his team an insurmountable 38-13 lead.
With the victory clinched, the Hawks forfeited the last three bouts, saving their strength for the final later in the day against second-seeded Urbana, the North region champ, which edged third-seeded North Point, the South champ, 27-24 in the other semifinal.
“As a coach, I feel like I needed to do more to get them ready, not physically, but mentally,” Slick said. “That aggressiveness has to come from inside.”
Urbana defeated River Hill 36-28 in the final.
River Hill 38, North Hagerstown 31
160 — Jack Noonan (RH) m.d. Michael Leone, 17-9; 170 — Kenneth Burrs (NH) d. Cory Daniels, 7-3; 182 — Omar Messalum (RH) m.d. Connor McHose, 16-8; 195 — Logan Kirby (RH) p. Antonio Rosario, :22; 220 — Jacob Benedict (RH) p. Amont Hawkins, 3:41; 285 — Jason Johnson (RH) p. Dylan Dopson, 5:56; 106 — Michael Beck (RH) p. Mike Tobery, 1:59; 113 — Taariq Mohammed (RH) d. Duncan Yeisley, 8-4; 120 — Brendon Colbert (NH) p. Michael Bishoff, 3:02; 126 — Gene Balcita (NH) m.d. Lee Carter, 11-2; 132 — Patrick Linden (RH) d. Coleman McHose, 9-7; 138 — Diantra Landry (NH) fft.; 145 — Ryan Hartsock (NH) fft.; 152 — Aziz Mirzaev (NH) fft.