HAGERSTOWN —The 26th annual Hub Cup this weekend at North Hagerstown will be much like the previous 25 editions of the wrestling tournament — highly competitive.
“That’s always the goal, to try to gather a fairly competitive field,” said longtime North coach Greg Slick. “Our philosophy has always been that you get better by wrestling good guys.”
There are Maryland state-ranked wrestlers in every weight class, while Waynesboro and Greencastle-Antrim will add a dose of Pennsylvania toughness to the brackets.
“There’s nowhere to hide this weekend,” Slick said. “It’s just a really solid field.”
The 18-team field includes five squads from Washington County — Boonsboro, Saint James, South Hagerstown, Williamsport and host North — and three which are ranked among the top-25 overall tournament teams in Maryland — No. 8 Urbana, No. 12 DeMatha Catholic and No. 16 Catoctin.
“That’s a testament to the tournament, that a lot of good teams want to come here,” Slick said.
Urbana, which won the Hub Cup team title last year in its first appearance at the tournament, is the favorite to win it this year.
“They’re the defending champs, and they have so many strong kids back,” Slick said.
But, as he added, “A lot of teams are going to have a say in it.”
No one should overlook Waynesboro, which will be competing at the Hub Cup for the fifth straight year. While Waynesboro’s wrestlers usually don’t enter the tournament with records as stellar as those of the top Maryland teams, the Indians have twice left with the team title and never have finished worse than third.
The action begins Friday night at 4:30 and concludes Saturday night with the championship finals, which are scheduled to start at 7.
While there’s the potential for several big showdowns in the finals, perhaps none is more highly anticipated than the likely championship matchup between North junior Brendon Colbert and Mountain Ridge sophomore Adam Martz at 132 pounds.
Colbert, a two-time Maryland state runner-up, was the Hub Cup champ at 120 last year, while Martz fell 4-1 to then-senior Eli Bienstock of Quince Orchard in the finals at 126, as Bienstock became a four-time Hub Cup champ.
That was Martz’s only setback last season, as he finished 43-1 with the Maryland 2A-1A state title at 126, while Colbert placed second in the state at 120 in 4A-3A.
While both stars have spent most of this season at 138, they’re both expected to be at 132 this weekend.
“That’s what Colbert wants to do — wrestle Martz. Colbert is going to 132, and that’s what we’re hoping for,” Slick said. “(Mountain Ridge coach Allan Twigg) implied that Martz would be at 132. They’re looking for that matchup, too.”
Of course, as Slick added, “That’s only one matchup of hopefully 14 good ones that occur on Saturday night.”