Old Mill and Northeast pull a double County reigns in both meets

March 08, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

There seemed to be something charmed about the Old Mill and Northeast wrestling teams last weekend at Western Maryland College.

Old Mill captured its unprecedented fifth straight 4A-3A state title, and 2A-1A champ Northeast -- which in 1976 became the first county team to win a state crown -- won its second in coach Al Kohlhafer's 23-year tenure.

Anne Arundel County retained the 4A-3A title for the sixth straight year, since Broadneck won it in 1988, and became the first county to win both titles.

Last year, Northeast's Al Grunder lost his 152-pound semifinal, 9-3, to Hereford's Jesse Channell, who went on to win the state title. Grunder -- this time at 160 pounds -- faced Channell in this year's semifinal, winning, 9-5, and taking a 10-4 title-winning decision from Dunbar's Martius Harding.

"It's deja vu," said Grunder yesterday. He was told Monday or Tuesday of last week that he would wrestle Channell in the semifinal.

"After seeing he was ranked third in the state, and seeing him wrestle Friday night, he looked out of shape," said Grunder, one of the county's six state champs. "Coach Kohlhafer told me to stick with my offense, and I just went after him."

Old Mill's Todd Hultgren (152) got a similar chance at revenge.

A year ago, Hultgren had an 11-7 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation but was eliminated, 13-11, in a controversial first-round loss to McDonough's Chris Hawkins.

This year, Hultgren breezed to the title bout on two technical falls and a 17-4 decision. Hultgren, the state's fifth-ranked 152-pounder, faced Hawkins, ranked No. 2.

This time, Hultgren remained composed in a 14-6 victory and dealt Hawkins his second loss in 31 matches.

"That match was in the back of my mind," said Hultgren, who had a losing record as a sophomore. "I just figured I'd stay away from his muscle and go with my technique."

Old Mill's slender Ken Seavey (140), like his twin, Kevin (130), was mediocre when he began wrestling as a sophomore. Yet he went from being intimidated by his state title-bout opponent, Wheaton's fourth-ranked Giscard Grant, to beating Grant, 5-3, in overtime.

"Until about halfway through the first period, I had settled on taking second place because Grant pinned [Arundel's Matt McIntosh] in the first period in the semifinals," said Seavey, who trailed 2-1 early on. "Last year, I didn't even qualify for states. I had no idea that I'd make it here and win."

Seavey joined Northeast's Kusick twins, Marty (103, 34-0) and Mike (112, 33-1), and Arundel's Greg Booth (171, 31-2) as state champions from the county.

The Kusicks became the sixth brother combination -- and the third set of twins -- to win titles in the same year. Marty downed North Carroll's Doug Dell (30-1), 4-1, and Mike dethroned Dell's teammate, Jeremy Myers (30-1), 8-2, avenging Marty's 7-4 loss to Myers last year.

No. 2-ranked Booth, who was fourth last year, wrestled without a glitch. He pinned his first-round opponent in 1:49 and beat his final three opponents by a combined 27-2, including 9-0 over McDonough's sixth-ranked Chris Brown and 8-0 in his title bout over last year's 160-pound runner-up, Whitman's Brian Willard.

Other place-winners for Old Mill were Kevin Seavey (130, second), Jason Bryant (103, third), Rick Oleszczuk (135, fourth) and Marc Procaccini (160, fourth).

Procaccini, who battled the flu, was upset by Randallstown's eventual champ, Kent Morrison (32-3). But without Procaccini's battling back to take fourth place, the Patriots may not have won.

Also placing for Northeast, which finished five points shy of the 2A-1A state record (125 points), were Steve Smiddy (130, second), Jason Grunder (145, third), Matt Jewer (135, fourth) and Bill Katzenberger (152, fourth).

"In ninth and 10th grade, we were giving up 30 points right off the bat because we only had five or six kids on those teams," said Al Grunder, who as the Eagles' first four-time state qualifier never had placed.

"Our intensity started this year after we lost the Old Mill match," Grunder said. "We weren't the same team that shut out Severna Park and scored over 60 points against Queen Anne's."

Severna Park's sixth-ranked sophomore Jamie Kuch (112) reached the title bout on a technical fall, a pin and an 8-5 decision over Laurel's Danny Suite (32-1) before losing, 10-5, to Quince Orchard's John Zinno.

Broadneck senior Charlie Bennett (119) beat Arundel's Don Waters, 8-0, to finish third for the second straight year. Chesapeake's Ron Alexander (125) rebounded for third place from a 1-0 semifinal loss to Randallstown's Brandon Grodnitzky by pinning Bowie's Todd Smith in 3:58.

South River's Jaron Hairston (171, third) avenged an earlier loss by pinning Poly's Rashaad Kitchen and Southern freshman Tyrone Neal Jr. (119, second) blanked North East's (Cecil County) sixth-ranked Tim Taylor, 4-0, to reach the final.

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