Hereford's Channell lets opponent make first move 2A-1A state champ gets his victories off other's mistakes

December 20, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

At just 5 feet 5, Hereford's 160-pound wrestler Jesse Channell has the stature of a mauler -- but his finesse-oriented style may surprise you.

Instead of bowling over a guy with his pile-driver physique -- which he is capable of doing -- Channell would rather put his 11 years of mat experience to work.

"I'm definitely a defensive wrestler," said Channell, 17, who is third-ranked by the Maryland State Wrestling Association with a 6-0 record, including two first-period pins and two technical-fall victories.

"I can usually wait for the other guy to make a mistake, then counter him."

Who can argue with success?

Channell's technique worked for victories 27 times last year in 32 matches with one tie, "seven or eight pins and a lot of technical falls."

He capped the season with a 3-1 2A-1A state championship victory over Smithburg's then-fifth-ranked Vince Catania, who entered the bout with an 18-1 record.

"He may say that he's defensive, but we've improved his offensive techniques," Hereford coach James Long said.

"He's convinced that he's got to be more offensive, especially since the matches that are tied during dual meets are going to be decided in overtime -- not that he gets into that situation very often."

Channell has captured the Hereford tournament title, beating Dundalk's Rich Estes, 7-2, in the title bout last weekend.

"Jesse's strong points are when he's on his feet. He's deceptively quick, very strong and real stocky," said Long. "His weakness was probably from the top position, but he's improved a lot there also."

To reach his 152-pound crowning achievement against Catania, Channell had to overcome North Carroll's Ron Miller, 16-8, North East of Cecil County's top-seeded Andy Vanover, 3-2, and Northeast of Anne Arundel County's regional champion Alan Grunder, 9-3.

Vanover returns this year and is the MSWA's fourth-ranked 160-pound wrestler.

"My best match, I think, was against Vanover when I only won by a point," said Channell, who placed third in the county at 160 pounds last year before dropping to 152 pounds for the regionals, where he also took third.

"I was disappointed with the regionals and really didn't think I'd get there, but my coach [Long] had a long talk with me and I just decided to go all out. I got the takedown against Vanover with about 4 seconds left. After that, I felt like, 'Hey, I can be the state champ.' "

Channell's only losses last year were against some of the best around.

He dropped an 11-1 decision to Owings Mills' two-time state champion, Grant Johnson, another decision to North Harford's state runner-up Marc Perrine and to Towson's Tim Burke, who was fourth in the region.

Channell split bouts with Loch Raven's regional runner-up, Mike Brammer -- ranked No. 5 at 152 -- beating Brammer, 9-2, in the rematch.

Before last season, Channell never had won a state title despite his years as a junior leaguer with the Hereford Recreation Council.

Channell barely had received his championship plaque before setting a goal to "win the states again, going undefeated."

"I just wanted to be in the best shape possible for this season," Channell said. "But I didn't lift weights too much, I didn't want to add any more volume."

To that end, he spent the entire summer bulking up to 185 pounds while running 1 1/2 miles a day to maintain endurance. He began slimming down as soon as school began.

"I've felt like I've got a reputation to uphold, and I've got a lot more confidence this year," said Channell who maintains a 3.0 grade-point average and hopes to attract the interest of Kutztown and Bloomsburg in Pennsylvania.

"I still get nervous before every match. But I'm just ready to go against anybody they put in front of me, no matter who shows up on the mat."

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