Eleven of the county's wrestling teams will participate in either the Arundel, Broadneck or St. Stephen's (Va.) holiday tournaments this coming weekend. Each tournament offers some interesting competition.
The following is a look at each event: 14th annual St. Stephen's Holiday Classic, Dec. 28-29, Alexandria, Va.
This is, by far, the most competitive of the three tournaments.
Old Mill coach Mike Hampe and his two-time Class 4A-3A state champion Patriots -- ranked No. 22 nationally by Amateur Wrestling News -- are entering the tournament for the first time.
The Patriots, ranked No. 2 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, will be up against an all-star field traditionally considered to have among the toughest teams in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas.
"We're starting to close the holes (in our lineup)," said Hampe, whose Patriots are coming off a victory in the Dec. 14-15 Chesapeake Invitational Tournament. "(St. Stephen's) will have some of the best competition in the area and it will be a tremendous test for some of my kids."
Yorktown, of Alexandria, Va., is the tournament's two-time champion and will be trying for a third title.
Also returning after a runner-up finish in last year's tournament is defending Maryland Scholastic Association A champion Gilman, which lost a narrow dual meet decision to Old Mill earlier this season.
The host Saints, a Virginia state runner-up last year, return a pair of defending individual champions, a runner-up and a wrestler who finished fourth.
Park View, of Sterling, was second in the Virginia 2A state tournament, and Gar-Field, of Woodbridge, was third in its Northwest region.
Like the Patriots, both Robinson, of Fairfax, and James Madison High are new to the tournament. Robinson is a defending regional champion and Madison is a defending district champion.
Tournament quarterfinal matches begin Friday at 5 p.m., followed by the 7:30 p.m. semifinals. Saturday's action begins at 2 p.m. with the consolation quarterfinals and semifinals. The consolation finals are slated for 5:30 p.m., followed by the championship finals and the 7 p.m. awards ceremony.
Eighth annual Bruins Holiday Tournament, Dec. 28, at Broadneck Host Broadneck, ranked No. 9 by the MSWA, looks like a strong bet to dethrone Carroll County's defending champion South Carroll and win its own tournament.
Four other local teams -- Southern, St. Mary's, North County and Severna Park -- are entered in the tournament, with Southern and St. Mary's having the best shot at contending for the title.
Bowie of Prince George's County and Queen Anne's round out the field.
"Bowie and South Carroll are down a little bit this year," said Broadneck coach John Mayberry. "But Southern should be very good and Queen Anne's has very good wrestlers."
Broadneck junior Shawn Miller, the MSWA's top-ranked 112-pounder, is the Bruins' only returning defending tournament champion. He is a solid favorite to repeat.
Broadneck's top-ranked Charlie Bennett (103) should get challenges from North County's Sam Paik and Southern's Sherrard Neal.
St. Mary's Phil MacWilliams (130) may get another crack at Broadneck's No. 3-ranked Duke Koblinsky, who decisioned MacWilliams, 3-0, for the Annapolis tournament title three weeks ago.
Phil's older brother, Mac MacWilliams (135), was ranked No. 4 earlier this year after winning the Curley tournament and will be looking to get another title under his belt.
St. Mary's Kevin Donnelly (189), a runner-up at Annapolis, will be looking for his first title.
Southern's best wrestler is No. 2-ranked Jason Braithwait (152), a Class 2A-1A state tournament runner-up last year, and Bowie's No. 5-ranked Scott Wascavage (160) is a favorite in his weight class.
All action in this double-elimination tournament will take place Friday, beginning with the 10 a.m. quarterfinals and semifinals.
The finals are expected to begin at 5 p.m.
13th annual Arundel Invitational, Dec. 28-29, at Arundel The eight-team field at Arundel will include the host and two-time defending champion Wildcats, as well as local contingents Chesapeake, Glen Burnie, Meade and Northeast.
Wildcats coach Buddy Hepfer expects tough challenges from Chesapeake, along with Baltimore County's Dundalk, Charles County's Thomas Stone and Howard County's Wilde Lake.
"I know Thomas Stone is always good and I'm not sure what Dundalk or Wilde Lake has," said Hepfer. "It's a round-robin rotation format and I think it's going to be wide open."
Queen Anne's defeated Arundel, 36-28, in their Dec. 19 dual meet match, but Arundel rebounded with a 55-16 victory over Bowie.
Greg Booth (171), Brian Richardson (189) and heavyweight Pat Beach were all double-winners in the tri-meet and should contend for titles this weekend.