DAMASCUS, Md.—The North Hagerstown wrestling team couldn’t repeat its magic from last year at the Maryland Class 4A-3A West region dual-meet championships Wednesday evening at Damascus High School.
The defending champion Hubs, who were seeded third, fell 39-30 to the second-seeded Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons in the semifinals.
Last year, North entered as the fourth seed and left with the region title.
“I feel disappointed and I’m sure all our kids feel disappointed,” North coach Greg Slick said. “We came down here with every intention to wrestle our best and to win. But I just don’t think we wrestled our best, and that’s why we lost.”
The Hubs finished their dual-meet season with an 18-11 overall record. Wednesday’s loss was their first setback of 2013, after they went 8-10 in December.
The Barons came out on top in nine of the 14 weight classes to prevail.
“We wanted to repeat from last year,” said North junior Brendon Colbert, a team co-captain. “But when you wrestle tough teams, you never know what’s going to happen.
“We had some kids that didn’t step up to the challenge, and that hurt us big time.”
The Hubs seemed up for the challenge early. Gene Balcita (132 pounds) and Colbert (138) started the match with back-to-back pins for a 12-0 North lead.
Balcita also got some revenge with his third-period pin against Will Witkop, who ended Balcita’s season last year by pinning him in a consolation bout at states. Witkop went on to place sixth at 126.
“I just came in here thinking that it’s just another match, and I had to do what I could for my team,” Balcita said. “But I was a little nervous.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase won the next three bouts to go up 13-12, as Charlie Banaszak pinned Diantra Landry in 4:20 at 145, Alex Gama edged Coleman McHose 5-3 at 152 and Brendan Cowie won by major decision, 12-2, over Ray Montes at 160.
J.D. McKoy then put North back in front, pinning Sam Loman in 2:47 at 170 for an 18-13 Hubs advantage.
“I wanted to win, and as soon as I got him on his back, I wasn’t letting go,” McKoy said. “I knew we needed 6 because B-CC is a very good team.”
After the Barons tied it at 18-all with Jesse McNeill’s tech fall against Amont Hawkins at 182, North’s Antonio Rosario (195) and Aaron Dopson (220) scored back-to-back, first-period pins to put the Hubs in front 30-18 with five bouts left.
But North couldn’t build on the momentum as Bethesda-Chevy Chase won the remaining matches. Robert Bridenhagen won by disqualification over Kahlil Harris-Williams at 285, Ben Cohen edged Mike Tobery 3-2 at 106, Matt Zehner pinned Forrest Williams in 2:47 at 113, Jack Banaszak got by Collin Edwards 5-0 at 120 and Sean Cohen held off Dylan Brown 4-3 at 126.
“We’ll try to take some lessons here and take some positives from it,” Slick said. “We’ll try to fix some of these mistakes and get ready for the county tournament next weekend.”
In the final Wednesday night, top-seeded Damascus topped Bethesda-Chevy Chase 39-30. Damascus defeated fourth-seeded Wootton 33-30 in the other semifinal.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 39, North Hagerstown 30
132 — Balcita (NH) p. Witkop, 5:16; 138 — Colbert (NH) p. Leys, :50; 145 — C. Banaszak (BCC) p. Landry, 4:20; 152 — Gama (BCC) d. McHose, 5-3; 160 — Cowie (BCC) m.d. Montes, 12-2; 170 — McKoy (NH) p. Loman, 2:47; 182 — McNeill (BCC) t.f. Hawkins, 16-0, 2:46; 195 — Rosario (NH) p. Medrano, 1:27; 220 — Dopson (NH) p. Navas-Ochoa, 1:04; 285 — Bridenhagen (BCC) d.q. Harris-Williams; 106 — B. Cohen (BCC) d. Tobery, 3-2; 113 — Zehner (BCC) p. Williams, 2:47; 120 — J. Banaszak (BCC) d. Edwards, 5-0; 126 — S. Cohen (BCC) d. Brown, 4-3.