If seedings count, Northeast has best shot for title Eagles place 12 in wrestling tourney

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

In today's county wrestling tournament, Northeast coach Al Kohlhafer hopes his seventh-ranked Eagles will do better than in their last appearance -- a 37-13 dual-meet loss at No. 3 Old Mill.

And with a county-high 12 wrestlers seeded in the top four of their weight classes, compared with 10 for the eight-time champion Patriots (12-1), the Eagles (12-1) have their best shot at Kohlhafer's fourth tournament crown in his 23-year tenure.

No. 13 Arundel has seven wrestlers in the top 10, including No. 1 seeds Greg Booth (189), who is ranked No. 3 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, and heavyweight John Noon. Coach Buddy Hepfer is going for his eighth tournament crown.

After placing 11th two years ago, Northeast was fourth in last year's tournament -- its best finish since winning in 1977.

Old Mill, meanwhile, won its third straight under 18th-year coach Mike Hampe, setting a scoring record (229 points) and shattering its previous mark (203.5 in 1991).

"Northeast still has our respect," said Hampe, whose Patriots are four-time 4A-3A state champs. "Every one of our guys is in great shape and working toward their peak. I think the semifinals could be the difference [in the tournament]."

There are seven weight classes -- 103, 125, 135, 145, 152, 160 and 189 -- in which seeded wrestlers from each team won't meet unless they reach the title bout.

The marquee meeting looms at 160, where the Patriots' No. 1 seeded defending county and state champion, Marc Proccacini (22-3), shouldmeet the Eagles' defending regional champ, Al Grunder (19-6), a county runner-up at 152 last year.

South River's sixth-ranked Jaron Hairston (171) is favored to win, and Northeast's Jeremy Funk (171, 10-5) is seeded fourth. But in three other weight classes -- 112, 130 and 140 -- Old Mill and Northeast have seeded wrestlers who could battle as early as the semifinals.

"We're looking good with the seedings," Kohlhafer said. "But a lot of it will come down to the semifinals, and we're not looking past the quarterfinals either."

The tournament's toughest class appears to be 130, where Northeast's Steve Smiddy (20-4) and Old Mill's Kevin Seavey (22-5) are seeded Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, behind No. 1 Sherrard Neal (Southern). Smiddy -- who split bouts with Neal -- should earn a semifinal rematch with Seavey, who edged him, 4-3, last Friday.

Northeast's returning defending county champ Kusick twins, Marty (112, 24-0) and Mike (119, 23-1), are top seeds, with Marty possibly facing Old Mill's Phil Schleifer (No. 4) in the semifinals. Old Mill's No. 2 Ken Seavey (140, 23-6) pinned the Eagles' No. 3 Ron Katzenberger (16-8), whom he should meet in the semifinals.

Old Mill junior Jason Bryant (103, 22-4) is the No. 1 seed and has a victory over Northeast's No. 2-seeded freshman Dale Bowers (19-5, 14 pins). Bowers has the tougher side, having to get by Chesapeake's No. 3 seed, Matt Howard (17-6, 11 pins), whom he has beaten twice.

The Patriots' third-seed Dave Basta (125, 22-8) has a 15-1 win over the Eagles' No. 4 Chris Morrow (19-8), but each has a difficult path to the title.

Basta lost, 7-0, to Chesapeake's No. 2 seed Ron Alexander (19-4, 11 pins), but must beat Alexander or Arundel's tough Don Waters, who has lost twice to Alexander by a combined three points. Morrow must defeat top-seed and former state champ Charlie Bennett (Broadneck), who is ranked fifth by the MSWA.

At 135, top seed Rick Oleszczuk (19-3), third for Old Mill last year, should have an easier time reaching the final than the Eagles' No. 3 Matt Jewer (20-7). Jewer likely will meet Chesapeake's No. 2 Steve Davis, who earlier dropped 6-4 decisions to both Jewer and Old Mill's Basta.

Northeast's No. 1 seed Jason Grunder (145, 21-4) has an 8-5 decision over Old Mill's No. 3 Mike Hines and appears to have an easier route. Hines must beat Arundel's muscular

Matt McIntosh (No. 2 seed) -- an earlier 3-1 upset winner over Oleszczuk -- to reach the title bout.

The Eagles' county runner-up, Bill Katzenberger (152), is No. 3 behind Arundel's Sean Quigley. The Patriots' No. 1 seed and fifth-ranked Todd Hultgren (21-5, 15 pins), third at this weight last year, must beat either Annapolis' unseeded Jack Copus (fourth a year ago) or Glen Burnie's No. 4 Darrell Miner.

Tournament seedings

The top four seeds for today's county wrestling tournament, listed in order from 1 through 4. (* denotes returning county champion; ** county runner-up; *** third place; **** fourth place)

103 -- **Jason Bryant, Old Mill; Dale Bowers, Northeast; Matt Howard, Chesapeake; Gene Reid, South River.

112 -- *Marty Kusick, Northeast; Jamie Kuch, Severna Park; ****Mark Downey, Chesapeake; Phil Schleifer, Old Mill.

119 -- *Mike Kusick, Northeast; Tyrone Neal Jr., Southern; Dan Waters, Arundel; Jay Queer, Glen Burnie.

125 -- **Charlie Bennett, Broadneck; Ron Alexander, Chesapeake; Dave Basta, Old Mill; Chris Morrow, Northeast.

130 -- ***Sherrard Neal, Southern; ***Steve Smiddy, Northeast; **Kevin Seavey, Old Mill; John Schulz, Arundel.

135 -- ***Rick Oleszczuk, Old Mill; Steve Davis, Chesapeake; Matt Jewer, Northeast; Harold Glenn, Southern.

140 -- Rob Zittle, Chesapeake; ***Ken Seavey, Old Mill; Ron Katzenberger, Northeast; Mark Chesla, Arundel.

145 -- ****Jason Grunder, Northeast; Matt McIntosh, Arundel; Mike Hines, Old Mill; Steve Spies, South River.

152 -- ***Todd Hultgren, Old Mill; Sean Quigley, Arundel; **Bill Katzenberger, Northeast; Darrell Miner, Glen Burnie.

160 -- *Marc Proccacini, Old Mill; **Al Grunder, Northeast; Greg Hepfer, Arundel; DeMetrius Herold, Broadneck.

171 -- ***Jaron Hairston, South River; Robert Moreland, Southern; Jeremy Funk, Northeast; Butch Springfield, North County.

189 -- **Greg Booth, Arundel; Chuck McConnell, Chesapeake; Don Patterson, Old Mill; Ken Fowler, Northeast.

Hvy. -- J. P. Noon, Arundel; Paul Musil, Glen Burnie; Corey Fowler, North County; T. J. Aminzadeh, Severna Park.

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