Johnson captures Folkstyle honors North Carroll's Myers 4th among 103-pound wrestlers

April 05, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Led by Owings Mills' three-time state champ and 1992-1993 All-Metro Wrestler of the Year, Grant Johnson, a team of Maryland's best wrestlers continued to earn nationwide respect.

Johnson led 2-1 before he was pinned early in the second period of his title bout against New York state runner-up Mitch Clark in the three-day Folkstyle National High School championships at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. He added Folkstyle All-American honors to his seventh-place, All-American effort in last summer's freestyle nationals.

Johnson, pinned for the first time in a 131-6 high school career, attempted to become the state's third champ in the national tournament's five years. Former All-Metro Wrestler of the Year Gene Curran (Curley, 1990) and Walter Reed Jr. (Southwestern, 1991) were titlists. At 44-1 with 30 pins, he is being recruited by over 25 Division I colleges.

His Owings Mills teammate, three-time state champ Gregg Kessler (125, seventh) and North Carroll's Jeremy Myers (103, fourth) also competed for the Marylanders.

For placing among the top eight of their weight classes, Myers (4-2 in the tournament) and Kessler (7-2) also earned All-American honors, along with Smithsburg's state champ, zTC Doug Batey (140, fourth), Paint Branch's Craig Middledorf (119, sixth) and McDonough's (Charles County) Damon Newsome (140, seventh).

Johnson's semifinal bout was a 5-3 decision of Pennsylvania's two-time state champ, Jason Roberson, who dropped from 189 pounds to face him.

A week earlier, both Johnson and Roberson -- then at 189 -- were winners of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's All-Star Classic, with Johnson beating Pennsylvania state champ Damion Jones, 3-1, to pace the U.S. All-Stars to a 30-15 victory over a team of Pennsylvania state champs.

Johnson's road to the final included a 10-4 victory over Arizona state champ Alan Hayes, a 7-1 victory over Ohio State champ Corey Palling, a 13-3 win over New Jersey runner-up Chris DeFrancia and a first-period pin of Oklahoma runner-up Joey Dawson.

For Myers, a senior 2A-1A state runner-up this year, the honor made up for his failure to defend the state crown he won as a junior. He became North Carroll's second straight All-American, joining Tommy Dell (eighth last year).

"It feels pretty good, but I'm still kind of upset," said Myers, who will attend North Carolina's Campbell University. "I was up 8-2 in the second period of the semifinals against the Illinois [state champ], who took second." Myers lost that bout, 11-10, on an escape with one second left.

"I beat state champs from Maine, Iowa, Kansas, Vermont and Montana and a Pennsylvania runner-up," said Kessler. "It feels awesome. This is a total honor."

Going 2-2 were Randallstown state champ Kent Morrison (160) and Broadneck's former state champ, Charlie Bennett (112), and Old Mill's Marc Procaccini (145) went 2-1. At 1-2 were Aberdeen's Zack Fowl (119), Mount St. Joseph's Kevin Neville (160) and Owings Mills' Ed Overton (189).

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