Anne Arundel County's two-time Class 3A-4A state champion Old Mill and Baltimore County's Class 1A-2A Owings Mills' -- the Maryland State Wrestling Association's second-ranked teams -- are favored to win their respective classes in the state tournament today and tomorrow at Western Maryland College.
The Class 3A-4A title should come down to coach Mike Hampe's Old Mill squad or Dick Bauerlein's North Carroll squad -- each of which qualified 10 wrestlers. Old Mill won the Jan. 4 dual meet between the two squads.
"I don't think the previous meeting is a disadvantage, but the first round will be very important to us," said Bauerlein, whose Panthers were Region I champs. "I'm also concerned about [Montgomery County's Region II champion] Quince Orchard [seven wrestlers], Broadneck [six] and Annapolis [three)]."
The Patriots' top wrestlers are the Layman brothers, senior Brent (135 pounds, 32-1) and junior Brian (160, 27-0), who are two-time defending county and regional champions. Brent was a state runner-up last year.
Old Mill heavyweight Don Marco (29-2) has lost twice to Oakland Mills' Monte Spencer (32-1), who was third in the state last year. ++ But the two juniors could well meet again for the state title.
North Carroll's favorites are defending state champion Dave Foster (152, 27-1) and state runner-up Tom Dell (119, 28-1). Jason Myers (140, 27-1) was third in the state last year.
Broadneck's 112-pound Shawn Miller (30-0, 24 pins) has
dominated his weight class, including a victory over Paint Branch's Craig Middledorf, the defending state champion. Teammate and regional champion Charlie Bennett (103, 30-2) may have to face Old Mill's Steve Lundstrom (27-4), who beat him for the county title.
Annapolis has 145-pound Pat Flynn (30-0), a runner-up last year, and 140-pound Chip Cochran (30-1), a county and regional champ this year. Flynn likely will have to face Meade's Luther Scott (26-3), whom he has beaten for the county and regional titles.
Chesapeake's 125-pound Brian Eveleth (30-0) is favored in his weight class, as is Randallstown's 171-pound Mike Jenson (31-0), third last year.
In Class 1A-2A, coach Guy Pritzger's Owings Mills squad ran away with the Region II title, qualifying 11 wrestlers for the state tournament. Owings Mills trounced second place, three-time defending state champion Aberdeen, 230-158.5.
Greg Kessler (125, 29-0), Grant Johnson (130, 24-1) and Jason Ricketts (145, 25-2) appear to be the favorites to win titles.
The area's top contenders for the 112-pound title are Owings Mills' Kenny Gendason (27-2) and Overlea's defending state champion Kevin Heid (27-3). Gendason has twice beaten Heid, but dropped a decision in last weekend's regional championship bout to Heid.
Aberdeen coach Dick Slutzky may not win an unprecedented fourth straight state title, but has three wrestlers who could grab individual honors.
Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings
103--Mynor Herrera (DeMatha), Zack Fowl (Aberdeen), CharliBennett (Broadneck); Gary Harris (Owings Mills), Mike Greene (Elkton), Tim Spielman (Loyola).
112--Shawn Miller (Broadneck), Craig Middledorf (Paint Branch), Phil Pass (Poly), Jeff Daigle (Chopticon), Kevin Heid (Overlea), // Voltair Valle (Eleanor Roosevelt), Kenny Gendason (Owings Mills).
119--Tommy Dell (North Carroll), Shane McCarthy (Mt. St. Joseph), Malcolm Compton (Poly), Brett Wilke (Gilman), Brian Thomas (Beall), Trevor Doing (Frederick), Mike Lowe (Mardela).
125--Brian Eveleth (Chesapeake-AA), Greg Kessler (Owings Mills), Kyantae Hawkins (Frederick Douglass), Jon Mack (Mt. St. Joseph), Jason Draper (Smithsburg), Nathan Wilson (Westmar).
130--Doug Stottlemeyer (South Hagerstown), Grant Johnson (Owings Mills), Gary Mryncza (Curley), John Kim (Gilman), Margolis (McDonough), Allen Bittinger (Northern-Garrett).
135--Matt Slutsky (Aberdeen), Brent Layman (Old Mill), Brian Michaels (South Hagerstown), Tim Thomas (Northern-Garrett), Chad Votta (Mt. St. Joseph), Damon Stephens (Suitland), Jon Klaff (McDonogh).
140--Bernard Dozier (Mardela), Dan Osorio (Aberdeen), Doug Batey (Smithsburg), Kris Reina (Mt. St. Joseph), Chip Cochran (Annapolis), Vince Higgs (Thomas Stone), Jason Myers (North Carroll).
145--Pat Flynn (Annapolis), Vince Catania (Smithsburg), Luther Scott (Meade), Vince Higgs (Thomas Stone), Tom Bristow (Bullis Prep), Chris Pierce (Poolesville), Troy Charney (Frederick Douglass).
152--Dave Foster (North Carroll), David Gilner (Gilman), Brian Hunt (South River), Jason Braithwait (Southern-AA), Alan Dinerman (Wootton), Keith Spurlin (Edgewood), Tom Cavanaugh (Bullis Prep).
160--Brian Layman (Old Mill), Joe Horwat (Bullis Prep), Eric Alban (Quince Orchard), Jason Robinson (Beall), Jim Hurd (Smithsburg), Donnie Ray (Weaton).
171--Mike Jenson (Randallstown), Shannon McGee (North East), Chris Stratemeyer (Loyola), Marcus Foran (DeMatha), Damian DeVriendt (Poolesville), Ben Casella (Wilde Lake), Steve Tichelman (Bullis Prep).
189--Walter Reed (Southwestern), Chris Butler (Linganore), Chris Kretsinger (Smithsburg), Boomer Warfield (Westminster), George Del Ricco (DeMatha), Shawn North (Sherwood), Jake Scott (Suitland).
Hvy--John Swigart (Overlea), John Scheer (Chopticon), Monte Spencer (Oakland Mills), Don Marco (Old Mill), Darryl Rider (Wicomico), Scott Bitzel (Northern-Garrett).