Centennial program pointed in right direction

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

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.

Gerstenfeld (six pins) had three second-period falls in the tournament, losing his semifinal bout, 9-4, to Anne Arundel County champ Corey Fowler. Fowler, who was third in the regions last year, lost his title bout, 5-0 to Arundel's No. 4 John Noon (11-0, eight pins). Fowler beat Noon for the county crown last year.

Centennial's Kim (five pins), who placed fourth at both the jTC Annapolis and McDonogh tournaments, used two pins to reach the Arundel title bout. Kim's second pin -- in 1:50 of his semifinal bout -- came over Chesapeake's No. 2 seed Greg Vurgich (seven pins), who entered with a 7-2 record. He then met West Virginia's state champ Cliff Warden (10-0, nine pins, one technical fall) and was pinned in 1:21 of their title bout.

Rhodes (six pins, one technical fall) used a pin and a decision to reach the title bout, where he dropped a 3-2 decision to Chesapeake's Travis Gottlich (11-2, five pins).

Rhodes was fourth in last year's county tournament, but did not finish among the top four in the season-opening Annapolis and McDonogh tournaments. Yet he owns a 6-2 decision over Severna Park's Mike Stewart, who beat Gottlich, 5-3, en route to a runner-up finish in the Dec. 17-18 Chesapeake tournament.

Nagle entered the tournament as the top seed and hoped to do better than that at Annapolis, where he was fourth, and McDonogh, where he finished third. Instead, Nagle was upset, 10-8, by Chesapeake's unheralded Jason Schmitt, who was pinned in 3:11 of his title bout with C. Milton Wright's Vince Tucciarella (8-0, seven pins).

Glen Burnie's Jay Queer (10-1, six pins) -- who was fourth in his region last year -- beat Nagle, 7-4, for third place.

Nagle has faced some stiff competition this season, including Southern-AA's No. 2-ranked state runner-up Tyrone Neal and Francis Scott Key's county champ Steve Lessard, a recent tournament winner at his host school.

Lady-killer

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.

Gaels' grappling

Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph was fifth in a tough University of California (Pa.) tournament, with hefty contributions from Howard County residents.

No. 3-ranked David Inkman (130) and Russell Fecteau (125) placed third and top-ranked Danny DeVivo (160) placed fourth.

The tournament champion was Chicago's top-ranked Mount Carmel, ranked among the nation's top three teams. The 27-team field included 10 of Pennsylvania's top 15 programs.

Eagles excel

In winning the Dec. 29 Smithsburg tournament, the McDonogh Eagles' 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.

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.

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