High school wrestling: Savage answers early wake-up call
Dec 07, 2012 (Menafn - The Frederick News-Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --This was not how Anthoney Savage, a returning state finalist, imagined his junior wrestling season would begin.
Stepping onto the mat for the first time as an Oakdale Bear on Thursday night after transferring from Tuscarora, Savage was envisioning another short night of work until circumstances intervened.
Linganore's Steven Conners, with a nothing-to-lose attitude, charged right in on Savage, secured a headlock and flipped the state title hopeful to his back early in the first period of a 126-pound bout.
"A lot of things flashed through my head in those 35 seconds," Oakdale co-coach Bill Swaney said.
More importantly, here's what was going through Savage's head as he tried to avoid getting pinned and making headlines for all the wrong reasons: "It's only the first period. It's only five points. I can get them back."
After slipping out of trouble, Savage regrouped and got the match back on his terms. Thirty seven seconds into the second period, he earned a pin, one of eight overall for Oakdale in a 66-15 season-opening victory over visiting Linganore.
"That's a real wake-up call," he said. "I am going to work harder than I have been."
Savage did not lose a match last season at Tuscarora until falling to Northern Calvert's Brant Leadbeter, 5-4, in the Class 4A-3A final at 113 pounds. That was the final chapter of a 39-1 season that raised everyone's expectations since Savage was only a sophomore.
With that kind of success in his pocket and the stakes not nearly so high in a season opener, Savage admitted he took Conners a bit lightly. The two had been wrestling since their early days of junior wrestling and Savage had always won easily.
"I wasn't ready for it. So, I got caught," he said. "I knew I had to come back and I had to wrestle my match."
Conners was encouraged by his performance. In defeat, he accomplished more than he thought he would.
"I thought he was going to tech-fall me, 15-0," he said. "That's what he did two years ago. I think I am going to have a pretty good season."
Conner's loss wasn't the only one of the night that felt more like a victory.
Oakdale senior Josh Loveless hung on in the final seconds of his bout at 152 to deny a bonus-point victory to Linganore's Chad Ellis, who was fourth in the state at 145 last season. The final score of the match was 11-4, one point shy of a four-point major decision.
"One point or two points, that can decide a lot of matches," Oakdale co-coach T.J. Salb said. "That shows a lot of heart. It's easy to quit when you are down 11-2. You say, 'What does it matter?' But to battle back and keeping going till the end, that's what we are trying to instill in these kids."
The Bears led 30-0 after five matches on victories by heavyweight Ryan Simonica, a returning county champion, freshman 103-pounder Xavier Ali, 113-pounder Tyler Fuller, 120-pounder Michael Adams and Savage.
Linganore's Cameron Harner broke the string with a pin at 132. The Lancers also received victories from Ellis at 152 and Luke Britton at 170.
"We have a young team," Linganore coach Chad Ellis said. "We are looking to build and get better all the way around."
The rest of the Oakdale victories were registered by Jaden Hawes (138), Nic Przybocki (145), Jonah Loveless (160), T.J. Barnes (182), Bobby Miller (195) and Charles Davis (220).
Like Savage, Salb moved over to Oakdale from Tuscarora, where he served as the head coach. Swaney was his former assistant there before going to Oakdale to start the program in 2010.
To create more of a college wrestling atmosphere, Swaney and his coaches wear suits and ties. But Salb has not completely conformed yet in his new job. He wore a dark sweater-vest over a white buttoned-down shirt without a tie. He is hoping to hold out on the tie.
"You know I had to make some sacrifices (to bring Salb on staff)," Swaney joked. "That was one of them. But I feel like a sweater-vest and an Oxford (shirt) is a step in the right direction."
Oakdale 66, Linganore 15
285 --Simonica (O) pinned Cooper, :44; 106 -- Ali (O) pinned Brown, 3:02; 113 -- Fuller (O) pinned Johnston, 1:07; 120 --Adams (O) by forfeit; 126 -- Savage (O) pinned Conners, 2:37; 132 --Harner (L) pinned Harich, :27; 138 --Hawes (O) pinned Medeiros, :29; 145 --Przybocki (O) pinned Faulconer, 1:32; 152 --C. Ellis (L) dec. J. Loveless, 11-4; 160 --Jon. Loveless (O) pinned N. Ellis, 1:49; 170 --Britton (L) pinned White, 3:45; 182 --Barnes (O) pinned Meade, 2:44; 195 -- Miller (O) by forfeit; 220 --Davis (O) by forfeit.
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