Hammond proves its mettle at Friends Invitational Bears capture 8 top-four finishes

February 07, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Officials did not keep team scores at yesterday's Friends Invitational, but Hammond wrestling coach Bill Smith did not need them to show his team's success.

No. 10 Hammond had eight wrestlers finish in the top four of their respective weight classes. The Golden Bears had one champion, two second-place finishers, three thirds and two fourths.

Smith said he wanted his team to use the tournament at Friends School as a warm-up for the postseason tournaments.

"We knew we had a solid team," said Smith, whose team is 11-1. "This was a great tuneup for the county and regional tournaments."

Erin Woodward (140 pounds, 20-2) was the lone Golden Bear to win a championship. He scored a 7-2 decision over Billy Burke (16-5) of Kenwood.

"That was probably my best match of the day," said Woodward, who jumped to a 5-0 lead and coasted from there.

Mike Chang (16-8) lost to Brandon Moore (20-1) of North Harford in the 112-pound final. Moore controlled Chang much of the way to score a 7-2 victory. Pat Brennan (189, 21-1) of Hammond took second when he defaulted to Eastern-Vo Tech's Derek Pittillo (21-1) due to a hyperextended elbow.

Smith liked his team's performance, but he was already thinking about the postseason tournaments.

"I won't be pleased until we win our county tournament and do our best in the regionals," said Smith.

Riverdale Baptist, which had been ranked first in the state, had seven wrestlers place in the top four, including four winners.

Josh Young (135) pinned Justin Grodnitzky of Randallstown in 3:07; Jeremy Young (145) defeated Brian Christin of Gonzaga, 12-3; Greg David (160) topped Jason Snyder (21-2) of Harford Vo-Tech, 13-3, and Jake Berry pinned Kama Owens (171, 16-3) of Carver at 1:05.

Randallstown also turned in a strong performance with six finishing in the top four. State champion Johnny Montgomery (152, 20-1) pinned Brian Meushaw of the Mount St. Joseph "B" team at 1:20 for the Rams' lone championship.

In addition to Grodnitzky, heavyweight Robert Dolan took second for Randallstown. Kenny Hunter of Mount St. Joe (10-0) pinned Dolan at 3:35. The Rams added one third and two fourth-place finishes.

In other championship matches, Errol Fernandez (103) of Gonzaga edged Sean Groszkowski (18-2, fifth in state) of Franklin, 7-6. The momentum swung back and forth, but Fernandez scored a late takedown to take the match.

The other close final saw Eastern Vo-Tech's Wayne Gast (119, 22-1), defeat Jason Miller of Kenwood, 7-5, in overtime. Gast rallied from a 4-0 third-period deficit to score the victory over Miller (19-3).

Waughn Hughes (125) of Gonzaga topped Brian McCarthy (18-3, sixth in state) of Joppatowne, 12-3, in their final. Jerry Hudson (20-0, second in the state) of Franklin scored a technical fall over Cardell Bolden of Riverdale Baptist.

There were few surprises in the tournament. The top seeds made it to the finals of every weight class, and won 11 of the 13 weight classes, including the final nine.

No one lower than third made it to the finals, and Fernandez (second) and Hughes (second) were the lone wrestlers who weren't top seeds to win a championship.

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