- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A 43-31 loss to Huntingtown on Jan. 19 had the La Plata Warriors’ longstanding streak in jeopardy of clinching one of the exclusive four berths into the Class 4A-3A South Region wrestling duals tournament next Wednesday.
But an impressive 11th straight trip to the regional duals has now become a certainty for La Plata, given that it expectedly took care of business in the regular season finale at home Thursday against big underdog Great Mills. The match finished too late for inclusion in this edition.
“I think it is possible that we may sneak in still [to regional duals], but it really depends on everyone else, as several good match-ups will take place in the next two weeks to determine how everything shapes up,” La Plata head coach John Pankhurst said.
And, barring no unforeseen upset to Great Mills, La Plata also clinched its ninth straight Southern Maryland Athletic Conference regular-season crown without having to share the honors with North Point or Huntingtown. That was due to Northern prevailing in 31-30 dramatic fashion over Huntingtown on Tuesday, producing the deciding pin in the final bout.
Huntingtown thus slipped to two losses in the SMAC while La Plata and North Point remain at one. And La Plata has the head-to-head tiebreaker over North Point due to a 34-22 win in the season opener Dec. 5. Though La Plata lost to North Point in the Warriors duals tournament in late December, that outcome did not count toward the SMAC or regional duals race.
Though it lost out on SMAC regular season bragging rights for the second straight year on a head-to-head tiebreaker with La Plata, North Point is the top seed for the regional duals and thus boasts hosting duties, given it expectedly defeated Westlake on Thursday in another match that finished too late for inclusion in this edition.
North Point entered Thursday with a 12-1 regional duals record. Coincidentally, North Point’s gym is also the handpicked host site for the second straight year for the state duals tournament Feb. 9.
The SMAC will also land Huntingtown into the regional duals.
Huntingtown and La Plata each had regional duals records of 11-2 entering Thursday’s action. Huntingtown faced off with Thomas Stone on Thursday night, another match that finished too late for inclusion in this edition.
The fourth and final seed will belong to a Prince George’s County outfit, most likely Parkdale, which was the top seed for the regional duals last year that saw North Point prevail.
Parkdale (10-2) will clinch the fourth seed Saturday with expected wins over Flowers and Blair. Should Parkdale get upset, High Point (10-2) would take the fourth seed with a win over Laurel on Saturday.
Parkdale beat High Point this season.
Regional duals records are comprised of all non-tournament, regular season matches.
The good news for the SMAC is that three of its top teams will make this year’s regional duals, barring any unforeseen upsets Thursday.
The region includes 15 Prince George’s County teams, which have always been considerably weaker on the whole than the SMAC. A lofty record for a Prince George’s team is not of the same merit as one for a SMAC club.
Northern (10-3 regional duals record entering Thursday), fresh off its upset of a loaded Huntingtown lineup Tuesday and a team that lost to North Point by just four points and to La Plata by only one point, just misses qualifying for regional duals unless Parkdale and High Point stumble Saturday.
The regional duals feature semifinal matches with the top seed facing the No. 4 team and Nos. 2 and 3 battling it out.
Should Parkdale win both its Saturday matches as expected, it will own the same 12-2 regional duals records as Huntingtown and La Plata, again assuming they both won Thursday. Thus, the tie-breaking criterion for seeding purposes is the common opponent of Stone for all three teams.
La Plata beat Stone, 37-30, while Parkdale lost to Stone, 39-37, during the season. Huntingtown needed to beat Stone on Thursday by more than seven points to ensure the second seed. Winning by less than seven points over Stone would make Huntingtown the No. 3 seed.
Huntingtown’s head-to-head win over La Plata would not come into effect for seeding purposes should Parkdale finish with the same regional duals record, according to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association website, mpssaa.org.
Huntingtown’s head-to-head win over La Plata would come into effect for seeding purposes should Parkdale lose Saturday and High Point become the No. 4 seed with an 11-2 regional duals record.
But given that there is no home-mat advantage for being the No. 2 seed and the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds meet in the regional duals semifinals, there is virtually no difference between the two seeds.