In last year’s state tournament in Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, Broadneck junior Collin Harrell upset Clarksburg’s regional champion Mac Raum, 9-3, to advance to the semi-final round, where he was eventually beat on his way to placing third in the 103-pound weight class.

This year, the junior is at it again, upsetting former state-finalist Eli Bienstock of Quince Orchard, 6-4, in overtime, to advance to the semifinals for the second straight season.

Bienstock, who was 33-1 entering his bout with Harrell, had beaten every opponent not named Nathan Kraisser at the State Tournament in the past two years, placing second in 2009 and third a year ago; until he faced Harrell on Friday night.

Harrell, who lost to Alex Stewart of Mt. Hebron in the 3A/4A East Regional final last weekend, was set to overcome his troubles from a week ago.

“Last week, I was rushing things a little bit and I panicked,” Harrell said. “This week, I relaxed and stuck to my stuff. I watched (Bienstock) earlier and I had a game plan and I was ready.

“Mentally, I was ready. This is what I train for.  I was ready to go out there and wrestle my best. I knew if I wrestled my best, do the right things, wrestle my match, I could come out on top.”

Harrell says he is “definitely” ready for his semi-final match against Xavier Spruill of Tuscarora, especially after being so close last season.

Harrell lost to Brant Leadbeter, 7-3, of Northern-Calvert in last year’s semi-final match but feels the experience of being there last year will help him in his semi-final bout on Saturday.

“I was there last year and had a little bit of a hiccup there,” Harrell said. “This year, I’ve been there before so I know what to expect. I just have to start preparing right now.”

On the other side of the 119-pound bracket, the semi-final match-up will be a battle of two freshmen that scored quality upsets to advance.

harrellChurchill’s Hunter Sutton upset regional champion Alex Stewart in the quarterfinal to face fellow freshman Andrew Conine of Magruder, who pinned regional champion Nick Frank of Urbana after trailing, 10-2, in the second period.

Down by eight points and fighting off of his back thanks to a tight hold from Urbana’s Nick Frank, a fourth-place finisher last year, Magruder’s 119-pound freshman Andrew Conine admitted to feeling that the worst was yet to come.

“He had mentally broken me by working me on top pretty good, I couldn’t do anything,” said Conine. “I had tried to stand up and hit a switch, but it just wouldn’t happen. And then, he turned me.”

But that’s when Conine reversed his own fortune, whipping Frank to his back for the fall in 2 minutes to improve to 33-8 for a berth into Friday night’s Class 4A-3A state semifinals.

“I just hit a bridge and kind of hipped up and I felt that he had lost his footing. I just kind of took his head and rolled and was able to get a good lock up on it,” said Conine. “It wasn’t really a move, but I felt confident and just hung on as tight as I could. I’m a freshman and a new breed. We’ll see what happens.”