by andrew conrad
It wasn't cross country season, but Hammond senior Devon Gillett felt like he had just run a grueling 5k after defeating Glenelg's Brian Marcoux in the 1A/2A South regional championships in sudden victory, 6-5, after wrestling through three overtimes.
"Longest match of my life," said Gillett, an all-county runner. "I thank God for running cross country."
The victory wasn't enough, however, to unseat juggernaut Glenelg. With four champions and two finalists, the Gladiators won the regional tournament with 152.5 points, 4.5 points ahead of runner-up Hammond and 5.5 points ahead of third-place Atholton. See High School Wrap-up for more results.
"Now we're ready to make a push for states," coach Scott Delpo said.
Gillett and Marcoux have wrestled four times in the last four weeks, with each wrestler winning twice. Two matches have gone to overtime and three were decided by two points or less. Theirs has become the county's, and one of the state's, hottest rivalries, and the latest 119-pound battle was one of the most memorable.
Gillett scored a takedown in the first period and a reversal as time expired in the second, but Marcoux kept pace with two escapes, a fleeing-the-mat point, and a stalling point with five seconds left in regulation.
Marcoux was penalized for stalling in the second overtime, but was cut loose by Gillett for an escape to start the third overtime.
After three overtimes, the match was still deadlocked. With one second left in the final 30 second sudden-victory period, Marcoux was penalized again for stalling, giving Gillett the victory. The crowd and coaches from both sides were in an uproar at times during the match after stalling calls.
"You have to clear everything out of your head, listen to your coach no matter what," Gillett said. "I'm happy it worked out."
Brendan Conway (103 pounds), Chris Stinnett (125), Danny Bichner (130) and Tim Chase (171) all won championships for Glenelg. Stinnett (33-0) remains undefeated on the season.
"We got a lot of key pins in the first couple rounds" of the tournament, said Conway, a freshman who won his first postseason title.
Hammond's Vince Taweel (135) and Zach Halper (140) won regional championships, over the same wrestlers they beat in the county finals. Halper came back from a 5-1 deficit for the win.
"I'm always disappointed when we don't win. We've been in this position all year long, close but no cigar," Hammond coach Pedro Barbosa said. Hammond finished second to Glenelg in the county tournament and the county duals as well.
Twelve of the 14 regional champions were Howard County athletes.
Jae Kim, a Marriotts Ridge sophomore, won the school's first postseason wrestling championship.
"It's my second year of wrestling, so I feel great," Kim said.
Atholton's Ryan Conroy (152) and Brian Nance (189), and Oakland Mills' Scott Davidson (145) and Mike Santiago (285) followed their county championships with regional championships as well.
Class 3A/4A East
With a champion and three other state qualifiers, River Hill finished a county-high seventh at the 3A/4A East Region tournament Feb. 24 at Chesapeake High.
Nathan White (119), a sophomore, won his second regional championship. Five 119-pounders from Howard County have qualified for the state tournament.
Wilde Lake's Zach Brown (21-0) won the 215-pound regional championship with two technical falls and a pin. He is one of only two wrestlers in the county still undefeated.
Centennial advanced three of its four regional qualifiers to the state tournament. Sophomore Jack Western (103) handed River Hill sophomore Scott Mantua the first loss of his high school career in the semifinals, 10-8, in overtime. Mantua came back to take third place.
"Jack's really good on his feet and he was able to win on takedowns," Centennial coach Todd DeCrispino said.
With the win, Western advanced to the finals, where he lost 2-0 on a third-period reversal to Arundel's Nicole Woody, a junior world champion who nearly beat Western by technical fall in last year's regional tournament.
E-mail Andrew Conrad at Andrew Conrad@patuxent.com