Northeast grapples with losing

January 17, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Northeast coach Al Kohlhafer entered his fourth-ranked Eagles in yesterday's Arundel Invitational hoping to get better competition.

And after the Eagles' third-place finish -- which included DeMatha's fourth-ranked Robert Alexander (119) pinning Northeast's second-ranked Mike Kusick in just 26 seconds -- he considered himself successful.

"This just shows that we've got a lot to work on and it'll get us ready for our county tournament," said Kohlhafer, who watched Marty Kusick (112) win a title, and his twin brother, Mike, Steve Smiddy (130) and Al Grunder (160) finish second.

"We had some good matches and some bad matches, but overall, I think we held our own."

Newark, N.J.'s St. Benedict's (139.5), a four-time state champion, was an easy winner with nine wrestlers in the top four and two champions, outdistancing DeMatha (127.5), ranked 10th by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, and the Eagles (118.5), ranked No. 7.

Marty Kusick (17-0) blanked DeMatha's Aberdeen Tournament champ, Bill McKinney, 12-0, to pull within three points of the second-place Stags, but Alexander (28-2) got his 23rd pin over Mike (16-1) to put DeMatha ahead for good.

Alexander, who also has a first-period pin of Broadneck's sixth-ranked Charlie Bennett, has 2-1 series lead over Mike Kusick, who edged him for a junior-league state title two years ago.

"It's no big deal, he's lost before," said Kohlhafer, whose squad won its dual meet with DeMatha. "It's something that happens occasionally and he'll be one of the first guys in practice next week ready to go."

Arundel's third-ranked Greg Booth (171, 16-1) won by a decision over McDonough's sixth-ranked Chris Brown, 7-3, to win his title.

Northeast freshman Dale Bowers (103) was losing, 11-0, when he pinned Churchill's Nick Franzetti with 30 seconds left for third place. Eagles junior Jason Grunder (145, third) won, 10-5, over Quince Orchard's Erik Blank, breaking a 5-5 tie with five back points in the third period.

The Wildcats' junior heavyweight John Noon (17-1, 13 pins), who suffered his first loss, 6-4, in the semifinals to Oakland Mills' Justin Wethington, won a scoreless bout on overtime riding criteria for third place against Quince Orchard's Chris Connors.

Noon trailed 4-2, in his consolation semifinal bout with DeMatha's Paul Fitzmaurice, before pinning him with eight seconds left.

Arundel's Waters twins, Dan (119) and Don (125), were third and fourth, respectively. Dan (14-3) earned a 5-4 decision of Quince Orchard's regional champion, John Zinno. Zinno, last year's tournament runner-up, suffered only his second loss and won the recent Lackey tournament title.

Don won his consolation semifinal by overcoming a 6-2 deficit against Northeast's Chris Morrow with his pin in 2:18. The Wildcats' Mark Chesla (140, third) pinned Northeast's Ron Katzenberger for third place, avenging his first round, 7-2 loss.

The tournament's nine-team field included Montgomery County champion Quince Orchard (fourth), which won last year's Arundel tournament; Charles County's McDonough (fifth), the MSWA's third-ranked team; and Howard County tournament champ Oakland Mills (seventh).

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