SYKESVILLE, Md.—Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.
That’s what the fourth-seeded Williamsport wrestling team was left thinking after its 43-25 semifinal loss to top-seeded South Carroll on Wednesday evening at the Maryland Class 2A-1A West region dual-meet tournament.
En route to beating the Wildcats (17-3), the Cavaliers (19-3) twice turned third-period deficits into pins and also upended Williamsport’s all-time leader in victories in an upset. Those were only three of the 14 bouts, but they made all the difference.
“We matched up well with them. We just didn’t wrestle well enough to win,” Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. “We just made silly mistakes tonight, and they took advantage of them. That’s what good teams do.”
With South Carroll leading 16-13 through six bouts, Williamsport’s Bobby Ardinger seemingly was about to tie the team score, up 11-9 against Colin Plumley in the closing seconds at 135 pounds. But Plumley took Ardinger down to his back and pinned him with 2 seconds left to make it 22-13 Cavs.
“Bobby was wrestling great. He just didn’t finish,” Rechtorovic said. “We didn’t finish matches at a few different weights.”
In the next bout at 140, South Carroll’s Alec Stavish stunned Kemper Baker, beating the Wildcats’ star senior 11-7 to give his team a 25-13 lead. Baker, who has a school-record 123 victories in his career and owns a state title from his sophomore year, found himself in an 11-2 hole in the third period. While he fought back valiantly with a reversal and nearfall, he ran out time to complete the comeback.
At 145, Eric Davis tried to salvage the situation for Williamsport. He led Jake Pooton 11-6 in the third period, before getting pinned as the Cavs went up 31-13 with five bouts left.
“That’s wrestling. That’s what makes the sport wonderful,” Rechtorovic said. “We’ve had a few of those go our way this year, but sometimes the table gets turned.”
“It’s a little upsetting,” Williamsport junior Zach Shoemaker said. “We wanted to come out and do a lot better than that.”
Shoemaker did his part to help stop the Wildcats’ bleeding, holding off John Gaunt 6-5 to cut his team’s deficit to 31-16.
“I was just going out there for myself at that point because there was no way for our team to win,” Shoemaker said. “It was impossible then.”
Actually it wasn’t, mathematically, until Williamsport dropped the next bout by pin at 160, giving the Cavs an insurmountable 37-16 advantage with only three bouts left.
The Wildcats won two of those last three, as Reggie Russ prevailed in an overtime decision at 171 and Matt Cody won by forfeit at 215.
But it was too little too late for the Wildcats, who seemingly had the Cavs right where they wanted them early.
Williamsport jumped out to a 13-0 lead, as Chauncey Baylor won by decision to open the match at 285, Bryan Davis followed with a pin at 103 and Clinton Vance won by major decision at 112 — before South Carroll won the next six bouts to take control.
“I’m proud of this team, the way that they’ve fought all year,” said Rechtorovic, whose team next will vie for its third straight Washington County tournament title Feb. 19 at Smithsburg. “They always come ready to wrestle and wrestle hard. It’s never been a question of effort. They just make silly mistakes sometimes.
“We just have to refocus, work hard and get ready for counties. That’s all we can do now.”
Second-seeded Winters Mill defeated South Carroll 34-25 in the final after edging third-seeded Southern Garrett 35-34 in the other semifinal Wednesday.
South Carroll 43, Williamsport 25
285 — Baylor (W) d. Bostic, 6-4; 103 — B. Davis (W) p. Stipcak, 1:40; 112 — Vance (W) m.d. Mullen, 13-0; 119 — Atwell (SC) p. Weyant, 3:05; 125 — Wampler (SC) p. Ki. Baker, 4:34; 130 — Willingham (SC) m.d. G. Ardinger, 10-2; 135 — Plumley (SC) p. B. Ardinger, 5:58; 140 — Stavish (SC) d. Ke. Baker, 11-7; 145 — Pooton (SC) p. E. Davis, 5:23; 152 — Shoemaker (W) d. Gaunt, 6-5; 160 — Reiter (SC) p. J. Cody, 1:43; 171 — Russ (W) d. Fung, 7-5, OT; 189 — Schmitz (SC) p. Sibert, 1:23; 215 — Cody (W) fft.