Contenders, pretenders are hard to pin down

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

Who can figure high school wrestling?

One week, Francis Scott Key's Eagles are finishing second in the Annapolis tournament, ahead of DeMatha of Prince George's County. The next, the Eagles are runners-up to five-time, 3A-4A champ Old Mill in the Francis Scott Key Invitational, although Old Mill was coming off a dual-meet loss to DeMatha.

One week, Smithsburg's Leopards are battling Francis Scott Key to a 30-30 tie.

The next week, the Leopards are finishing third in their own tournament behind runner-up Linganore -- which two weeks earlier, finished sixth behind South Carroll in the Chesapeake Invitational tournament.

Does this mean that South Carroll has a shot at Francis Scott Key on Jan. 25?

Etzler sparks Eagles

Ryan Etzler's initial varsity tournament was a bittersweet one.

The 103-pound Francis Scott Key wrestler opened the season with a runner-up finish in the Annapolis tournament, using a pin and a decision to reach the title bout, where he was pinned in just 35 seconds by Calvert Hall's top-ranked Gino Amasia.

However, Etzler (8-1, six pins) was perfect in last week's 26th annual Francis Scott Key Invitational, pinning all three opponents -- including Woodlawn's previously undefeated David Plack -- for the title.

Plack entered the bout with a 9-0 record, five pins and a No. 5 ranking by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, but Etzler built an 11-2 lead over Plack -- including five back points -- before planting him in 4:41.

The only person who was more impressive was his fourth-ranked teammate, Zac Yinger (145, 10-1), who was crowned the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler after getting a second-period pin and two first-period pins.

Yinger (seven pins) won his second straight Francis Scott Key tournament crown, pinning Old Mill's Mike DeLeonardi (12-3, five pins) in just 21 seconds. What makes Yinger's victory even more impressive is the fact that DeLeonardi was coming off a 4-2 victory overDeMatha's top-ranked Robert Alexander.

For the Eagles, top-ranked All-Metro state champ Randy Owings (135, 8-0) and Chris Beale (140, 9-2) won in the tournament for the third straight time while Steve Lessard (125, 9-2) became a two-time winner.

Lessard emerged victorious from the tournament's toughest weight class, blanking another tournament champ, Mike Harris (Catoctin), 9-0, in the semifinal, before winning 6-1 over John Carroll tournament champ Matt Carlsen (Bel Air) in the title bout.

Carlsen reached the finals on a 3-2 decision over Woodlawn's Keith Leister.

Orderly fashion

Recent battles among 119-pound wrestlers lend credence to the Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings.

In the title bout of the Chesapeake tournament, Northeast's top-ranked, 1A-2A state champ Mike Kusick downed Severna Park's No. 2 Jamie Kuch, 14-3. Kuch, last year's 3A-4A state runner-up, later edged Arundel's No. 3 Phil Meenan, 1-0, in a dual meet. Meenan, who was third in the state two years ago, had an earlier 2-1 victory over North Carroll's No. 4 Doug Dell for the Meade tournament title.

Almost an upset

McDonogh's No. 4 Martius Harding (160) lost 5-4 in his Smithsburg tournament title bout against 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.

Centennial improves

Centennial's wrestling team is improving in its tournament efforts, with last week's fifth-place showing in the Arundel Holiday Invitational being the Eagles' finest.

The Eagles got runner-up efforts from Lance Rhodes (103, 10-5) and Joon Kim (189, 9-5) to finish ahead of county rival Wilde Lake (ninth) in the 10-team field.

Centennial's fourth-place finishers were regional runner-up Jason Nagle (125, 11-4), Robert Rix (145) and Kevin Heywood (135), who was third in last year's county tournament.

For Wilde Lake, Carlo Gerstenfeld (heavyweight, 9-4) and Richard Jackson (152) were third, and Darnell Kelly (189) fourth. The Wildecats' fifth-ranked Mike Greene (171, 2-0), highly favored to win, was on vacation and did not participate.


For two straight years, 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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