City public school wrestlers aim to crash state party

February 26, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Forest Park senior Pierre Ford is confident in his quest for statewide respect, but Carver sophomore Kama Owens has so much nervous energy that he "can't sleep at night."

The two wrestlers, both District 9, City-Wide tournament champions, are among several from the city's public schools who will see action in today's regional segments of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's state competition.

The top four regional finishers in each weight class qualify for next weekend's 4A-3A and 2A-1A state tournaments at Western Maryland College.

"It's bigger than life," said Owens (171, 19-3), No. 3 seed in 4A-3A Region IV, which includes two-time Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference champ Walbrook and four-time defending state champion Old Mill of Anne Arundel County.

Douglass, Edmondson, Poly and Southwestern also will compete Region IV, with Mervo, City, Lake Clifton, Northern and Patterson joining schools from Baltimore and Carroll counties in 4A-3A Region I.

Mervo heavyweight Junius "Mooco" Myers (21-2, 17 pins) and Northern's Paul Johnson (125, 23-2) -- both City-Wide champs -- are seeded Nos. 4 and 3, respectively, in 4A-3A Region I.

"I'm a little nervous, but I can't wait," said Johnson, a former junior league wrestler who, like Myers, placed third in last weekend's MSA tournament.

The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Myers, who bench-presses 400 pounds, said, "This whole experience is a mysterious thing -- something none of us have gone though."

No. 14 Walbrook (12-0) seems most equipped: It was eighth in zhesapeake's Invitational before winning the Salisbury Christmas and District 9, City-Wide tournaments.

Eight Warriors earned enough points to reach the regionals, with six seeded fourth or higher. George Chandler (130, 24-2) is No. 1 and Kevin Muldrow (135, 22-5) No. 2, and Jamil Stokely (160, 21-4), Dana Harris (119, 22-4), Mark Hollingsworth (140, 16-2) and Kevin Forrester (171, 24-6) No. 4s.

"My kids were point conscious as far as the states. They worked hard to get decent seeds," said Walbrook coach Wavie Gibson, a 1982 state champ at the Eastern Shore's Mardela High. "They got a taste of [state tournament] atmosphere at different tournaments. We've generally seen a variety of wrestling styles."

Dunbar and Forest Park are in 2A-1A Region III, with MSA champ Ford as the top seed at 152 pounds.

"There's pressure being No. 1," said Ford (29-0, 23 pins). "I deserve it, but the state won't respect us until they see us wrestle."

Along with Ford's 189-pound City-Wide champion teammate, Omar Villanova (27-2, 18 pins), four locals are seeded third or higher in 2A-1A. Dunbar's sophomore wrestlers Bruce Pendles (112, 24-1) and Martius Harding (160, 21-5) are the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

Villanova's class boasts Wilde Lake's sixth-ranked two-time regional champ, Nate Casella.

Harding, a City-Wide runner-up, could face top-seeded Howard County champion Shawn Chaconas (Glenelg) and third-seeded defending region champ Al Grunder (Northeast).

A City-Wide runner-up, Harding dropped his MSA title bout, 3-1, last weekend to Mount St. Joseph's top-ranked Danny DeVivo.

"If I use my strengths correctly, I should be in the [regionafinals]," said Harding. "After that, I want to be state champ."

Ranked fourth by the MSWA, Pendles likely will face No. 6 Northeast's No. 2-ranked region champ

Mike Kusick (25-1). Kusick is Anne Arundel's two-time county champ and was second in last year's 2A-1A states.

Pendles became Dunbar's youngest MSA champ last year but was dethroned, 6-4, last weekend by Curley's Sean Mryncza.

"That loss makes me more determined," said Pendles. "The city's going to knock off some state champs."

Chandler, Edmondson's top seed, City-Wide champ Maurice Simmons (22-1, 13 pins) and either Poly's No. 2 seed, Joe Collick (145, 21-4), or Southwestern's No. 3 seed, Keir Hicks (145, 22-2), have good shots at a Region IV crown.

Chandler should see Old Mill's sixth-ranked Kevin Seavey (26-5No. 3 seed), who was third in his county, or Howard County runner-up and No. 2 seed Mark Grinspoon (Howard High).

Chandler and Seavey have a common opponent in Northeast's sixth-ranked Steve Smiddy. Seavey split one-point decisions with Smiddy, who edged Chandler in overtime.

Simmons' 135-pound class includes Old Mill's sixth-rankecounty champion Rick Oleszczuk, a No. 3 seed, who must get by Muldrow.

"I was seeded fourth at Aberdeen and still won that tournament," said Simmons, a junior. "I think I can do it again in the regionals."

Collick, an MSA runner-up who edged Hicks, 11-10, for the City-Wide title, said, "If I wrestle hard, I can beat anybody."

Said Owens: "The city's underdogs want to show what we can do."

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