It was Bel Air’s match to lose, Wednesday night, as the Bobcats jumped out to an early lead over Rising Sun, and it was Bel Air who took that match back with a series of wins to claim victory over the Tigers, 40-36.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match, and we just had to try not to get pinned and get bonus points whenever possible,” Bel Air coach Craig Reddish said.  “They were probably the favorites to win our conference, so this is a big win for us and puts us in the right direction.”

After producing a 22-9 lead through six matches, Bel Air saw a quick score reversal as Tigers Lance Eveland (145), James Hyman (152) and Anthony Cimorosi (160) pulled together for three consecutive wins, and the falls of Eveland and Cimorosi made it a two-point favor for Rising Sun, 24-22.

But Bel Air held its composure,and answered back with a forfeit at 171, and falls from 189-pounder Tom Kuegler and 215-pound Jeff Traore to take a 16-point lead with two matches left, making it impossible for Rising Sun to pull-out the win.

“Against a great team like Rising Sun, you are going to have a close match, and you want to fight to not get pinned, get pins and get majors; it is good to have those bonus points in a tight match,” Kuegler said, who had a large lead before going for his own pin.  “Getting six points instead of three for a decision is a big deal in tight matches like this.”

Bel Air started the match with back-to-back falls from Ryan Beveridge and Jeff Taylor at 112 and 119, respectively, before Adam Heffelfinger (125) put the Tigers on the board with a decision.

“I thought we had what we wanted,” Tigers’ coach Dean Cox said after the lead change.  “At that point in the match, whoever came through in the 215 match was probably going to win that match, and that’s what happened.”

The two teams traded wins through the middle of the line-up, seeing Tony Proctor and Steve Cross lock-up wins for Bel Air, and Robert Rakes take a fall for Rising Sun.

crossCross, cutting down for a match-up at 140, quickly found himself in a 5-0 hole, being roll-through to his back for near-fall points.  But keeping his cool, Cross battled back and earned the eventual fall.

“The guy got an early five-point lead on a nice roll-through,” explained Cross, a new member to the 100 wins club.  “I had to do one move at a time, fight back, get the points, get the lead and work for a pin.”

Rising Sun went on to pin in the last two matches with heavyweight Tim McGee and 103-pounder Dylan Jackson.

“Our inexperienced guys need to figure out that this is wrestling, and what we do in the room is going to transpire on to the mat if they have confidence,” Cox said.  “It takes some mat-time to get that, so we hopes that will occur as the season progresses.”

Rising Sun’s next opponents are Bohemia Manor and Easton in a tri-meet on Dec. 17.

“Our goal is always to be better at the end of the year than we are at the beginning.  As much as we want to get wins right here, we are learning and trying to get better everyday,” said Reddish, coach of the reigning three-time UCBAC champions.

“Those things change once the end of January comes and we are trying to get into the state duals tournament and do well in the individual tournament.  We have some great senior leadership in Tom and Steve here, and sometimes I think they are more confident that I am.  Their goal is to be four-time conference champions, and we are shooting for that.”

Bel Air will again take to the mat Dec. 23, when hosting Atholton in a dual meet.

Bel Air 40, Rising Sun 36

112- Ryan Beveridge (BA) fall 2:26 Nick Finazzo (RS) [6-0]
119- Jeff Taylor (BA) fall 3:52 Nick Billings (RS) [12-0]
125- Adam Heffelfinger (RS) dec 4-0 Mike Bush (BA) [12-3]
130- Tony Proctor (BA) maj dec 9-1 Zach Vincent (RS) [16-3]
135- Robert Rakes (RS) fall 1:34 Keith Regan (BA) [16-9]
140- Steve Cross (BA) fall 3:59 Jody Eveland (RS) [22-9]
145- Lance Eveland (RS) fall 2:44 Brandon Childress (BA) [22-15]
152- James Hyman (RS) dec. 5-4 2OT Jacob Queen (BA) [22-18]
160- Anthony Cimorosi (RS) fall 1:44 William Holder-Moore (BA) [22-24]
171- Tyler Gibbons (BA) forfeit [28-24]
189- Tom Kuegler (BA) fall 2:22 Nick Filliaux (RS) [34-24]
215- Jeff Traore (BA) fall 5:36 Kenny Lockerd (RS) [40-24]
285- Tim McGee (RS) fall 6:00 Ben Ludwig (BA) [40-30]
103- Dylan Jackson (RS) fall :35 Gavin Rupprecht (BA) [40-36]