N. Carroll and Key battle for county wrestling title No. 3, No. 5 teams square off tomorrow

February 02, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Westminster wrestling coach Solomon Carr has it "dead even," and South Carroll coach Pete Olson gives a slight edge to North Carroll and its tradition.

One thing's for sure, tomorrow's North Carroll-Francis Scott Key showdown in Hampstead is a can't-miss match for the high-school wrestling enthusiast.

Two of the top teams in the state are featured. The Panthers of North Carroll are ranked third in the metro area and the Key Eagles are fifth. Each is 9-0, and the Carroll County title on the line.

"Packed gym," Olson said.

"Left side will have the Panther fans, right side for the Eagles. It's going to be great. I wish I could be there."

Westminster and South Carroll have had to face North Carroll and Key.

Carr and Olson know all about the two teams.

"North Carroll looks pretty strong up to 125. But then you get up to the upper weights, Key will start pouring it on," Carr said.

Olson said there may be a chance that by the time they get to the heavier weights, things already could have been decided in North Carroll's favor.

Both teams got a good look at one another over the weekend, when North Carroll won the 12-team South Hagerstown tournament. Key was a close second. Ten of the 13 champions came from the two schools (Key had seven, North Carroll three), and the Eagles had a 4-0 edge in head-to-head competition.

"Beating a guy a few days earlier gives you a big edge, and on the other side, it's very tough to overcome a loss," Carr said.

Olson sees it differently, citing an instance a few years back when one of his wrestlers went up against an opponent five times in a season with a different outcome every time. Only one point separated the two in the combined score of the five matches.

In a close match of this magnitude, Carr and Olson believe coaching strategies will play a major role. Panthers coach Dick Bauerlein and Key's Bill Hyson have a combined 31 years of head-coaching experience.

Carr and Olson agree Bauerlein has more flexibility in his lineup and look for him to manipulate it to the fullest after losing four matches one-on-one to Key over the weekend.

"When you have two good teams like this, it can come down to strategy," Carr said.

"Dick has the option to move things around, where Key is pretty set with their lineup."

What it comes down to is depth, particularly in the lower weight divisions, where Bauerlein always seems to have a few quality wrestlers he can bring up from the junior varsity.

This could enable him to move senior Jeremy Myers, ranked first by the Maryland State Wrestling Association at 112, up to 119 to go up against one of Key's top lower-division wrestlers, Steve Lessard. Olson and Carr believe that's what Bauerlein will do.

Another key will be what Olson calls the "swing" matches. North Carroll and Key have divisions they are pretty sure will earn points. It's the matches where no clear favorite is established that could be the difference.

"The undecided matches look to be at 130 and heavyweight. Those matches could tell the story," Carr said.

Olson also throws in the 135-pound division as a toss-up.

Francis Scott Key won all three of those matches over the weekend. Junior Chris Beale decisioned North Carroll sophomore Corey Rill, 10-6, in overtime; Key senior heavyweight Mark Smith pinned North Carroll senior Rick White on the way to taking the title; and sophomore Randy Owings defeated senior Andy Kiler, 3-1, at 130.

The Owings-Kiler match will be tomorrow's main event. Owings is ranked second in the state at 130 with a 19-1 record, and Kiler is sixth with a 15-1 mark.

Last year, a penalty point on Kiler for stalling was the only difference in two meetings. The first match, in the dual meet, resulted in a 0-0 tie before Owings won a 1-0 decision in the county championships.

"Track record says Owings," Olson said.

"He looks very polished, but Kiler is very tough and keeps coming at you, so you really can't count him out. It will be a great match."

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