Owings Mills High, using its superiority in the middle and heavy weights, held a slight lead over Randallstown after the semifinal and consolation rounds of the 32nd annual Baltimore County Wrestling Tournament last night at Chesapeake High.
Owings Mills had 145.5 points, to 141.5 for Randallstown. Perry Hall and EVT were third and fourth respectively with 104 and 83 points.
But the championship round, which begins today (3 p.m.) at Chesapeake High, seems to be a two-team showdown, with Owings Mills and Randallstown each having five wrestlers in the finals. The two teams will meet head-on in only one weight class, as defending state champion Mike Jenson of Randallstown meets Owings Mills' Sigmund Frazier in the 171-pound bracket. Perry Hall's Steve Amenta will also meet Owings Mills' Grant Johnson, another state champion, in a significant match (160). Owings Mills' Greg Kessler, also a defending state champion, advanced to the finals of the 130-pound bracket.
Randallstown also showed considerable strength in the middle and heavy weights, advancing Justin Grodnitzky (125), John Montgomery (145), Kent Morrison (152), Jenson and heavyweight Eric Gertner to the finals.
Owings Mills won last year's tournament. Randallstown has not won the championship since 1981.
Hammond High, which is trying to win its first Howard County Wrestling Tournament, took a slim lead over perennial favorite Oakland Mills in the opening round last night at Atholton High.
Hammond, which will send 10 wrestlers into today's semifinals, held an 84-80 lead over the Scorpions after last night's quarterfinal and quarterfinal consolation matches. Each of the Golden Bears' 13 wrestlers is still in a position to score.
The Bears won the county's dual-meet title last week. They are attempting to break the Scorpions' hold on the league tournament. Oakland Mills has won the past two tournaments, and has taken 12 of the past 15.
The Scorpions, who lost their first dual meet under four-year coach Dan Ricker to Hammond last month, also came away from last night's action in strong position. Oakland Mills advanced 11 wrestlers to the semifinals and has a tournament-high six top seeds going into today's competition.
Wilde Lake scored 72 points to take over third place. Howard grabbed fourth place with 60 points.
The finals are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Seven-time defending champion Aberdeen advanced wrestlers in 11 weight classes to take an early lead after the quarterfinals of the Harford County Wrestling Tournament at Fallston High. Aberdeen led with 81 points followed by Edgewood, 54.5, and C. Milton Wright, 47.
Among those advancing for Aberdeen were defending state and county champs Zack Fowl (112) and Matt Slutzky (135). Fowl, ranked No. 1 in his weight class by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, won by forfeit. Slutzky, a three-time defending state and county champ ranked second by the MSWA, pinned his opponent.
Defending county champs Jim Ervine, Havre de Grace, and Scott Birth, Bel Air, also advanced in the 125-pound class. Ervine, ranked fifth by the MSWA, and Birth pinned their opponents in what may be the toughest weight class in the tournament. Edgewood's Ty Long and Harford Tech's Albert Nichols also advanced at 125.
All of the top seeds advanced to today's semifinals including Bel Air's Rob Smallwood (ranked fifth by the MSWA at 152 pounds), North Harford's Marc Perrine (ranked third at 160) and Havre de Grace's Tom Burdsall (ranked fifth at 171).
Anne Arundel County
Seconds after his first-period pin of South River's Travis Murock, Old Mill's fourth-ranked Jason Bryant ran over to watch Northeast's second-ranked Marty Kusick edge Arundel's Phil Meenan, 9-0, in the other 103-pound semifinal.
"I wanted to watch his technique, so I'd know what to expect," said Bryant. The sophomore, who had lost, 6-4, to Murdock earlier, was one of 11 Old Mill semifinalists and owned a 5-3 victory over Meenan.
"I've wrestled Kusick a lot in junior leagues," said Bryant, who lost, 9-1, to Kusick during the season. "I've always made dumb mistakes."
The three-time defending Class 4A-3A state champion Patriots made few mistakes last night, giving their coach, Mike Hampe, a nearly perfect gift for his 46th birthday. It was only nearly perfect because two of his wrestlers did not make it into the semifinals of the 33rd annual Anne Arundel County tournament at South River.
The Patriots (74 points) led second-place and No. 4 Broadneck (61) -- which qualified eight semifinalists -- with the rest of the championship semifinals and the wrestle-backs for seventh-place remaining.
Third-place and No. 7 Chesapeake (57 points), No. 5 Annapolis (49.5) and South River (46) each had six semifinalists, and sixth-place Severna Park had four.