Look at it this way: Owings Mills had six individual champions at the Baltimore County wrestling tournament. Sparrows Point had just one individual champ.
Yet the Golden Eagles won the team title over the Pointers by the slimmest of margins: 207.5 to 205.5. Tied for the narrowest margin of victory in county tournament history (which dates back to 1962).
That’s called having excellent team depth.
If just one more Pointer wrestler had reached the final round, or if Sparrows Point had two county champs instead of one, the Pointers win their third straight county team title.
Or if the Owings Mills 106-pounder had lost instead of escaping with a 1-0 win in the final, Sparrows Point wins.
Ifs and buts and all that.
In the 145-pound weight class, Machiavelli Amaya of Owings Mills was somehow seeded fourth, meaning he wrestled Sparrows Point’s Mike Fouts in the semifinals, not the finals.
Two wrestlers clearly not as good as Amaya were seeded second and third. Amaya edged Fouts 2-1 in the semifinals, then destroyed the No. 3 seed in the finals.
If Amaya is seeded properly, its a near certainty Fouts reached the final. Even if he still loses to Amaya, the additional points win the title for Sparrows Point.
Yeah, yeah ... add paranoia to Ifs and Buts.
Sparrows Point’s last chance, Lexx Carr is losing 3-1 to a Woodlawn wrestler, but scores a reversal in the final second to tie the match and send it into overtime.
Woodlawn’s coach erupts, screaming at the officials and running onto the mat. It’s not the first time he did this; there were two other Woodlawn wrestlers in the finals, and the Warrior coach had repeatedly berated the officials and entered the mat to protest calls.
This time, after the Woodlawn coach yells at the officials and enters the mat, the officials reverse themselves. Carr’s reversal came after time expired. Woodlawn wins. So does Owings Mills.
Earlier in the tournament, a Sparrows Point wrestler questioned an official and was docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. But a coach who loudly abused the officials over the course of three finals matches and repeatedly entered the mat: no penalty.
(I had a good angle of both the action on the mat and the clock, and I couldn’t tell for sure if the reversal happened before the clock hit zero. So I know dang well the Woodlawn coach couldn’t tell. But it sure looked like Carr completed his move before the referee signaled the reversal.)
No one wrestled short of expectations. All six Pointers in the county finals wrestled opponents who were higher-seeded. Several were state-ranked. Sparrows Point and Owings Mills met twice in the finals; both Golden Eagle wrestlers were ranked first in the state in their weight classes.
Still ... one county champ to six. And only lose by two points.
* * *
There was a special event last Friday at Sparrows Point, during which a well-deserving student was honored by his teammates, friends, and fellow students.
Local television stations were contacted, and two sent camera crews. Spectators packed the gym.
Who wasn’t alerted? Me. I just happened to show up to write a story about Sparrows Point’s opponent that night, Chesapeake.
I’d rather not depend on dumb luck when it comes to being notified about important events. The school needs to let me know while its spreading the word — ideally, early enough for an advance story to be written alerting others to a fund-raiser, as well as enabling the deserving student to be showcased in his hometown newspaper.