Maryland wrestling: Urbana takes first state duals title

February 11, 2012

A bloody nose turned Urbana 138-pounder Nick Frank’s bout in Saturday’s Maryland 4A/3A wrestling duals final into a stop-and-start affair, but he didn’t seem to mind.

He had received a stern reminder from Coach Ben Arnesen about conserving energy early in matches after his overtime semifinal loss, and time spent stuffing cotton up his left nostril gave him a chance to consider the lesson.

Frank pushed through it all, using a hip toss to get his River Hill opponent on his back and into position for a third-period pin. The hard-earned win highlighted a strong effort from Urbana’s lightest weights in a 36-28 victory that gave the Ijamsville school its first state duals title.

“I hate to lose,” said Frank, who improved to 37-2 this season. “I knew our team was going to need every little bit, so I decided I was not going to let [him] beat me.”

Eighth-ranked Urbana — which lost in the final last season — fell behind quickly when River Hill got successive pins from sophomore Logan Kirby (195) and seniors Jacob Benedict (220) and Jason Johnson (285).

But a 15-point deficit shrunk quickly behind a barrage of wins.

Freshman 106-pounder Morgan Way got the run started with a 6-2 decision that bumped his record to 38-0 this season. By the time Frank scored his pin at 138, Urbana led, 33-21.

Senior 152-pounder Dan Morley clinched the championship two matches later with a 6-2 decision — Urbana’s seventh win in eight bouts.

“We’ve just slowly worked at it all season long,” Arneson said. “It’s never been one guy that’s gone out and saved the team. It’s always been somebody different.”

Urbana earned its chance at the title after surviving a similar burst by host North Point in a semifinal earlier in the day. The Eagles won the last five bouts, but the Hawks held on for a 27-24 win.

Several hours later, Arnesen fought back tears after the final win as his wrestlers took a few celebratory laps around the mat. Urbana will turn its focus to winning the state team tournament title — a feat no Frederick County team has accomplished.

“Coach tells us to, ‘Just focus on your match and the team part will happen,’ ” said senior 182-pounder Joe Rimel, who won both his matches on Saturday by pin. “That’s what everyone has tried to do, and it’s been working for us.”

Glenelg, the area’s lone 2A/1A region champion, could not earn a repeat win in the event, falling to Owings Mills in the semifinals, 33-31. Winters Mill went on to capture its first 2A/1A crown.

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