Wildecats match up with best Experienced squad holds potential Wilde Lake HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING PREVIEW

December 06, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Wilde Lake just can't seem to catch a break.

Last season, the Wildecats were the state's best losing wrestling team at 4-7-1. They dropped four dual meets by three points or less in an 0-5 start, yet still came back to finish a strong third in the county tournament.

But the Wildecats enter this season without three valuable components of that team. Antoine Harris (125 pounds), who will not wrestle this season, transferred to Atholton. Chris Turner (130) moved to Virginia. And middleweight Joe Underhoffer moved to California.

Still, the Wildecats have some superb wrestlers and enough overall talent to make a serious run at a county championship.

"I won't make any bold predictions. If I had Harris and Turner, I would. But I don't, so I won't," said Rich Jackson, in his 22nd year at Wilde Lake.

The Wildecats will be led by senior Nate Casella (189) and junior Mike Green (171), two key members of the state-championship football team who could win state wrestling titles. Each came painfully close last season.

Casella went 25-4 with 14 pins, winning county and regional titles before losing in the state finals.

"He [Casella] is still pretty banged up from football. The talent is there," Jackson said. "It's just a matter of how far he wants to take it."

Green was 20-4 with eight pins. He also won county and regional championships before placing third in the states.

Other key contributors figure to be seniors Fennell Howell (125), Nick Yoon (119/125), Tony Crawford (140) and Robert McGrain (160).

Howell, who went 11-10, grabbed second place at the county tournament. Yoon went 18-10 and won a county title at 119, but needs to be more consistent.

The same goes for Crawford, who was 16-10 and took third at the regionals. McGrain, after a 15-9 season that included a fourth at the county tournament, should contend for a title this season.

Sophomore Carlo Gerstenfeld figures to improve significantly on his 4-10 season.

The Wildecats are counting on several newcomers to beef up their ranks. Senior Derrice Green (119) was a junior varsity champion last season. Junior Richard Jackson (152) took second at the JV tournament. And sophomore Tommy Chung (145), senior Albert Sasso (152) and freshman Josh Ho (112) have impressed Jackson.

"On paper, it looks pretty good," Jackson said. "We should match up pretty well with anybody we face."

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