Old Mill fixes sights on stretching title streak to 6

December 10, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Coach Mike Hampe dug up an old campaign cry of Wayne Hardin when Old Mill was shooting for an unprecedented fifth straight Class 3A-4A championship last season.

In the 1960s, when Hardin was Navy's head football coach and going for a fifth consecutive victory over Army, he urged his troops: "Go for five."

It worked for Hampe as well as it did for Hardin. Now what will Hampe use as a motivational tool?

"Try to get a fix on six," Hampe said, smiling.

If his campaign slogan is a bit weak, Hampe's team is not. Old Mill is clearly the class of the county. Coaches are in general agreement on that.

"We can't beat Old Mill," said Broadneck coach John Mayberry. "I don't think anybody can."

"Old Mill," said Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes, "is the cream of the crop. Arundel is a close second. For the county championship, it should be Old Mill, Arundel and Northeast."

Oh, yes, and Northeast, the defending state 1A-2A champion. "They're coming on like gangbusters," said Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer.

Annapolis Panthers

The bad news is that Annapolis was 2-8 last season. The good news is that almost everybody is back from that team, more experienced and stronger.

The Panthers were 12-1 in 1991 and tied for the county championship. They followed that with a 12-2 record in 1992. Graduation left coach Dave Gehrdes unarmed last year.

"We lost just about everybody from 1992, so we had a lot of young kids," said Gehrdes, now in his 13th season. "They got their indoctrination through battle. We didn't have as good a season as we had hoped, but now we've got everybody back."

Almost everybody, anyway -- 10 of the 13 regulars.

The top returnees are seniors Mike Zambernardi, Dan Buckingham, Jack Copus and Matt Smear. All had records of .500 or better.

Zambernardi was third in the region at 130 and lost his first match in the state tournament by one point. Buckingham was fourth in the region at 145, Copus was fifth at 152 and Smear compiled a .500 record at 189.

"Copus has been our most consistent wrestler over the years," Gehrdes said. "As a sophomore, he was fourth in the county and fifth in the region at 145 and was fourth and fifth again last year."

Other returnees include seniors Morgan Hurt, Andy Lyons and ** Cary Lukens and sophomore Lenny Bromberg. The leading newcomers are freshman Gideon Lukens and sophomores Justin Hans and Rich Tarsley.

"If things fall the way I think, we should surpass last year's record," Gehrdes said. "We won't be good enough to compete against Old Mill, Arundel and Northeast for the county championship, though. We're a notch below those three."

Archbishop Spalding

With Jim Nemeth on a one-year sabbatical to Hungary, the head coaching job has fallen to Ron Young. A former Arundel High wrestler, Young was last year's assistant.

Spalding was 10-1 and won the Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference championship. The team's strength was numbers, with at least three boys fighting for jobs in each weight class.

"We had a really good season after a slow start, when we entered a large tournament and got our butts kicked," Young said. "But we learned from that and rolled into the season with a good attitude."

This year's team is built around the four captains -- senior Michael Riesner, 17-12 last year, and sophomores Jason Hardman (25-9), Dan Musiker (20-13) and Matt Gomes (13-10).

Other returnees are Steve Angelis, Brent Neenan, Tom Malloy, Mike Meinhardt and heavyweight Bob Wiltshire. The three key newcomers are Jimmy Foster, Peter Jones and Kevin Angelis, all freshmen battling for the 103-pound job. The two losers will compete for the 112-pound position.

"Our goal is to repeat as C Conference champions," Young said. "If we don't have a lot of injuries and if we get rolling early, we can do it."

The big match will be against Douglass in mid-January, probably for the C Conference championship.

"Most of the teams we faced last year had only six or seven wrestlers," Young said. "Douglass was the only one with 13, and that's why I say they'll probably be our toughest opponent."

Arundel Wildcats

Expectations at Arundel might be soaring were it not for an occurrence beyond coach Buddy Hepfer's control.

The Waters brothers, Don and Dan, moved with their families to Delaware. Dan was fourth in the state at 119 and Don reached the state tournament last season.

"With them in the lineup, we would have had a decent group of six varsity wrestlers coming back," Hepfer said. "As it is, we have four, and that's a big difference."

Hepfer, whose first season at Arundel was 1970, would have had reason for optimism. The Wildcats posted an 11-3 record last season and finished third in the county tournament, second in the region and seventh in the Class 3A-4A tournament. Their lone dual-meet defeats were to state champions Northeast (1A-2A) and Old Mill (3A-4A) and Gilman.

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