Montgomery Blair won the first annual Hammond Duals Invitational on Saturday, knocking off the host Golden Bears, 39-19, in the championship match to cap the two-day tournament with a 9-0 record.
Hammond finished 9-1 while River Hill came in third place with a 6-2 mark. Lansdowne (5-3), Liberty (5-3) and Westminster (5-4) also finished with winning records.
“We had a pretty good weekend,” said Blazers coach Tim Grove. “Going into that match [against Hammond], I knew every match was going to be close. We have similar squads with similar strengths and we were all battered and bruised, but we had one more so we had to step up and see what we could do. They exceeded my expectations. We won just about every toss up and then more.”
Blair, which went 5-0 in the pools — including a victory against River Hill — before defeating Bowie and Lansdowne in the championship rounds, improved to 23-4 overall on the season. Rudy Ngougni (220 pounds) and Ryan Holland (152) went undefeated for the Blazers.
“This is my third year at Blair so I’ve seen the progression every year,” Grover said. “Kids are starting to buy into the system and they’re working their butts off every day at practice.”
Golden Bears coach Will Yeo and his team was looking to win its third tournament of the year after going undefeated to win the Joppatowne Duals and Westminster Duals but fell flat against Blair. Hammond (29-4) defeated county rival, 33-30, in a heated match just before taking on the Blazers, but Yeo said his team failed to answer the bell in the final.
“I don’t care about winning the match or the tournament; what I care about is how you respond to a positive or a negative,” Yeo said. “We had a positive and beat a really tough River Hill team — those kids scrap real hard, it was contentious and it got a little chippy, but I was wondering how our kids were going to respond with a success and they didn’t…