County mat tourney appears wide open Host Dundalk leads seeding parade

February 19, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Randallstown managed a five-point victory over Owings Mills in last year's Baltimore County Wrestling Tournament, but enters this year's version with just four wrestlers seeded fourth or higher.

"That hurts some of our mediocre kids," said coach Jeff Langrehr, whose No. 10 Rams (10-3) tied No. 11 Dundalk (12-1) for the Class 4A-3A county dual-meet title. "There are a couple of guys wrestling higher seeds before they actually should."

The tournament is today and tomorrow at Dundalk. The host school has the most wrestlers seeded fourth or higher with eight, followed by No. 4 Owings Mills (six), Pikesville (five) and Franklin and Hereford (four each). Dulaney and Eastern Vo-Tech each have three.

"Any team can be a spoiler, which makes it interesting," said Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker. "You win this type of tournament with the guys who place fifth and sixth."

Two of the seven returning champs are at 135 pounds: Owings Mills' top-ranked two-time state champion, Gregg Kessler, the top seed, and Randallstown's Justin Grodnitzky at No. 2.

Other top-seeded returning champs are Milford Mill's third-ranked, defending 2A-1A state runner-up Gary Harris (112); Franklin's No. 2 ranked Jerry Hudson (130, third in 4A-3A states); Dundalk's No. 2-ranked, defending 4A-3A state champ Rick Staab (145); Randallstown's third-ranked defending 4A-3A state champ Johnny Montgomery; and Owings Mills' top-ranked, two-time state champ Grant Johnson (171).

Here is a glance at each weight class:

103: No. 3 seed Josh Ellin (Owings Mills) recently handed top-seed Sean Groszkowski (Franklin), ranked No. 6, his second loss. Dundalk's No. 4 seed Dan Simancek (Arundel tournament champ) and Overlea's twice-beaten John Stanley (No. 2) make it interesting.

112: Two-time champ Harris has Perry Hall's No. 2 seed Steve Boothe to deal with after pinning Boothe in 1:09 of last year's title bout. Owings Mills' No. 3 Adam Fink has beaten Pikesville's No. 4 Justin Sisserman.

119: EVT's top-seed Wayne Gast, a 4A-3A state runner-up, lost to Boothe for third place at 103 last year, 6-4. Kenwood's No. 2 Jason Miller has an overtime loss to Gast, but must beat Perry Hall's No. 3 Jason Brown (fourth at 119 last year) for a rematch.

125: This one's up for grabs between top four seeds Alex Leanos (Dulaney), Josh Swirnow (Pikesville), Jim Hudson (Franklin) and Brian Nagle (EVT).

130: Jerry Hudson split bouts with Pikesville's defending 2A-1A state champ Cory Setlen, pinning Setlen in 2:54 for last year's county crown. For a rematch, Setlen must defeat Randallstown's No. 3 Brandon Grodnitzky, who was fourth last year and who fell to Hudson earlier this year, 11-10. Hereford's No. 4 seed Nathan Bryan was a runner-up last year and should test Hudson.

135: Kessler should reach the final, but Justin Grodnitzky's challenge should be Dulaney's No. 3 Tim Gardener, whose abilities showed in a victory over Boys' Latin's sixth-ranked Shane Marquess.

140: Towson's top-seed Shawn Kopalchick won last year's regional crown after a county runner-up finish, and won't overlook Chesapeake's No. 4 seed Tom Strong. Overlea's once-beaten John Fields is the No. 2 seed, but Kenwood's No. 3 Warren Burke, a champ in the Boys' Latin's tournament, is a threat.

145: This weight class belongs to Dundalk's Staab.

152: In the final, Randallstown's Montgomery likely will tackle Loch Raven's Mike Brammer, who was third in last year's county tournament after an 8-5 loss to Montgomery's teammate, Kent Morrison. Brammer, a regional champ, has lost just once, to Hereford's defending state champ Jesse Channell.

160: This is by far the toughest class. Hereford's third-ranked Channell, the top seed -- lost an exhibition to Overlea's No. 6 seed Lonnie Means. Behind Channell (third at 160 last year) are Randallstown's No. 2 Morrison (runner-up at 152 last year), Dundalk's No. 3 Rich Estes, Dulaney's No. 4 Jamie Mantegna (champ at Aberdeen tourney) and Owings Mills' No. 5 Jason Pinsky (14 pins).

171: Owings Mills' Johnson is an easy pick over No. 2 Pat McCloud (Towson), No. 3 Roy Collins (Hereford) or No. 4 Phil Brown (Overlea).

189: Owings Mills third-ranked Ed Overton is the top seed, and figures to handle No. 2 seed Derek Pittillo (EVT).

Heavyweight: Pikesville's Wayde Ezell, Woodlawn's Darrell Mance, Dundalk's Don Forbes and Owings Mills' Clint Helphinstine are the top four seeds. Ezell, third in the county and fourth in last year's 2A-1A state meet, has split bouts with Forbes, and beat both Mance and Helphinstine. Mance has beaten Forbes.

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