Plienis and Harding make mark for McDonogh

January 03, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

In winning the Dec. 29 Smithsburg tournament, McDonogh's top-ranked J. R. Plienis (189) pinned three opponents, including Thomas Johnson's Adam Hoffman, who was third in his 3A-4A regional tournament last year.

Plienis' fourth-ranked teammate, Martius Harding (160), lost his title bout, 5-4, to Rising Sun's top-ranked, two-time 1A-2A state champ Jason Townsend. Harding was a runner-up in both last year's 1A-2A state and Maryland Scholastic Association tournaments.

Townsend entered this season 63-0 against Maryland competition, including five pins in his eight state tournament bouts. He handed Matt Slutzky (Aberdeen) his only loss two years ago during the same season Slutzky became the first four-time state champ.

McDonogh's Dave Trudil (119) lost his title bout, 8-3, to Thomas Johnson's No. 4 Joey Ottinger.

Mat Mavericks?

Is Eastern Tech's wrestling team good enough to hang with the state's best, as it has in the past?

This year's Mavericks are 4-0, led by Joe Catlin (119) and Brian Nagle (125), each at 10-0. Catlin has a win over Franklin's No. 6 Sean Groszkowski.

Baltimore County has won just four state titles since the tournament's inception, with Hereford taking the inaugural crown 1970. Owings Mills won consecutive 1A-2A titles in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

Eastern Tech -- in 1987 -- was the second county squad to win a state championship, cruising past runner-up Old Mill, 99-59.5.

That season, the Mavericks had individual champs in heavyweight Brian Gifford, who pinned all four of his opponents, and Joey Gast Jr. (145), an 8-0 overtime winner over Old Mill's Bill Boyce. Lenny Katillas (155) was Eastern Tech's runner-up.

"This team's the best since we were second in the states in 1988," said 21st-year coach Joe Gast Sr.

Thomas has promise

Could Woodlawn junior Mykol Thomas (10-1, eight pins) be in the running for a 3A-4A state title at 152 pounds? If he is, he could become only the Warriors'second champion. No. 2-ranked heavyweight Darrel Mance became the first last year, and may repeat.

Thomas resembles another 152-pound Woodlawn wrestler, Zedy Brown, who in 1990 was a runner-up in both the regional and state meets, losing his state title bout, 5-1, to DuVal's Jerry Donahoe.

Thomas pinned all three opponents en route to the title in last week's Francis Scott Key Invitational, and last year was a county runner-up and placed fourth in the region. Thomas' only loss this season has come by 8-6 to Overlea's No. 5 John Fields, in the title bout of the Pikesville tournament.

Thomas also has an 11-7 victory over Friends' Ethan Goldberg, an earlier winner over Northeast's No. 2- ranked regional champ Jason Grunder, who was third in last year's 2A-1A state tournament.

Biddison's best

Gilman's Jamie Biddison (189) won four matches, including a 3-1 overtime title-bout victory in last week's 15-team DeLone (Va.) Catholic Schools Christmas tournament. Biddison was third and second, respectively, in earlier tournaments at Magruder and McDonogh, losing the latter, 3-1, to McDonogh's Plienis.

Gaels' grapple

Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph was fifth in a tough University of California (Pa.) tournament. It got third-place efforts from top-ranked Paul Scott (140), No. 3 David Inkman (130) and Russell Fecteau (125). Top-ranked Danny DeVivo (160) and No. 3 Tyran Dungee (135) finished fourth.

The tournament featured 10 of Pennsylvania's top 15 teams.

Re-Birth?

Bel Air's 130-pound junior Matt Birth (9-3, four pins) has executed several escapes during his career, but he'll have trouble emerging from the shadows left by his older brothers, Chris and Scott.

The three brothers could pass for triplets, sharing similar facial features, slender body types, and wrestling styles -- the latter being a slick, yet intense attack.

Last week, Matt decisioned three opponents by a combined 29-9 to win the Francis Scott Key Invitational crown for the second straight season.

But Chris started things five years ago, winning the family's first state title, the 1A-2A version at 130 pounds. In 1992 at the 3A-4A level, Scott dethroned two-time champ, Craig Middledorf (Paint Branch), hammering out a 10-2 decision for the 125-pound crown.

Both Scott, an All-Metro pick in 1992, and Chris, an All-Metro in '89, ended their state title campaigns ranked No. 1 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association.

Lady-killer

For two years straight, Arundel's Ryan Markish (125) has wrestled females in the Wildcats' junior varsity invitational.

Last year, he pinned Wilde Lake's Maria Romano for the title. Last week, he faced a tougher opponent, but pinned West Lake's (Charles County) Jesse Lorraine, who entered the bout with a 5-1 record, including two pins over male opponents.

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