Dedicated Dane By JAMES A. McCRAY III
Consistency defines Leonardtown Raiders senior wrestler Dane Lemmon’s four-year varsity career.
Lemmon has not missed a single match during his career.
Tuesday night, he and four other wrestling seniors were celebrated at home during their senior night contest with the Calvert Cavaliers.
But for Lemmon, it was a celebration of being on the mat for all of the four years he has been on the varsity team and not missing a match due to injury or illness.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Lemmon said of the feat. “Even when I was sick, I wrestled matches. I just hate letting my team down, so I had to come out every time.”
Lemmon and the other seniors — Aaron Mortensen (106), Shane Boyce (160) and Marco Cucinotta (113) — each won their respective bouts Tuesday night, Cucinotta winning via forfeit, helping the Raiders earn an eventual 48-18 win over Calvert and deliver a senior-night victory. Senior Nathan Pforr was also celebrated but did not wrestle.
“It was pretty special,” Lemmon said of the night. “It was sad because it was my last time in here. Some buddies caught me crying in the bleachers before the match started. It was emotional, but we had to come out here and get it done tonight.”
Cucinotta added, “It would have been more special if I had a match. I’ll take the forfeit; I’d rather have a match for my last home match, but it was nothing that I can do about it.”
Leading 21-15, Leonardtown (5-8, 4-7 SMAC) ran off five straight victories to extend the lead to 48-15 and clinch the win, including Mortensen’s 8-5 victory, Cucinotta’s forfeit victory and Lemmon’s 18-second victory by pinfall.
“I think that was the first time all 14 of us have come out in the same match, and we even had [a couple] of losses by five or less points,” Lemmon said. “We know we were that good; it was just a matter of all of us coming together and showing up on one night.”
Mortensen was leading 7-3 in his bout against Kyle Hicks until Hicks reversed him to make it 7-5 with one minute remaining in the third and final period. However, Mortensen was able to earn an escape point and win 8-5.
“I like wrestling bottom,” Mortensen said, “so when I got on bottom, I just hit him with one of my fat-boy rolls, even though I’m not that fat. ... At the end there, I just pushed myself to stand up.”
Boyce found himself in a tough contest in his own right against Calvert’s Connor Sesso, who took an 8-2 Boyce lead and turned it into an 8-7 lead after a reverse and three backpoints.
Boyce, after surviving not being pinned, managed to score three more points of his own en route to his 11-7 bout victory.
“He was a little squirmy and kind of caught me on my back a couple of times,” Boyce said, “but I just had to work hard and fight back.”
Leonardtown wrestlers admitted that after the showing Tuesday night, confidence is high as it heads into Chopticon for a match that took place Thursday evening and finished too late for inclusion in this edition.
“It builds it,” Boyce said of confidence. “We are more confident now. We’ve had a couple of tough losses this year, and having a good win against Calvert is good.”
Cucinotta added, “It’s a good victory for us, especially for our last home match. It’s strong because coming off of a win is a lot easier than coming off of a loss.”
Calvert (8-11, 6-5 SMAC) never led in the match but picked up two pinfall victories from Sean Kinney (182) and Jesse Stuart (285).
“I think we came out flat, but we lost to a better team,” Calvert head coach Mike Free said. “Leonardtown came out and did what they needed to do, and they basically took it to us. We just have to go back to the wrestling room and try to get better.”
The Cavaliers were in a non-conference contest at Bowie on Thursday evening, which also finished too late for inclusion in- this edition, and will be in action at 9 a.m. Saturday versus Thomas Stone. The match with Stone, a makeup from a Jan. 17 postponement, will be at Huntingtown.
Great Mills wins
Great Mills picked up its first conference victory of the season on Tuesday night with a 57-16 victory at Westlake.
The Great Mills coaching staff could not be reached by press time for stats and highlights of this match.
Great Mills (7-12, 1-9) traveled to La Plata on Thursday night, a meet that ended too late for inclusion into this edition, and finish the regular season on Tuesday night at home versus McDonough to make up a Jan. 24 postponement. The match is scheduled to be at 6 p.m.