Old Mill, Northeast in pursuit of county title

February 14, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

An ice storm forced cancellation of Tuesday's Old Mill-Northeast dual wrestling meet, but the battle of state champions tentatively is scheduled to take place today and tomorrow or tomorrow and Thursday.

With the closing of schools today in Anne Arundel County, scheduled athletic activities are not supposed to take place, according to county policy. But county coordinator of physical education Rick Wiles is appealing to county officials to make an exception. A decision is expected this morning.

Northeast's Al Kohlhafer, coach of the defending 1A-2A state champs, goes for the fourth county crown in his 24-year tenure, ** and Old Mill's Mike Hampe, coach of the five-time, 3A-4A state champion Patriots, is after his 10th -- and fifth straight -- in 19 seasons.

Over the past four years, Northeast (12-1) has narrowed the distance between the two programs, finishing 11th in the county three years ago, fourth a year later and runner-up last season.

This year's Eagles have eight wrestlers seeded in the top four of their weight classes, including four No. 1 seeds, compared to six in the top four for the Patriots, only one of whom -- fifth-ranked Don Patterson (189 pounds, 20-5) -- is a top seed.

"I'm real happy that the seeding went well for us, but we'll have to wait and see," said Kohlhafer.

A quarterfinal meeting between Northeast's third-seeded Glen Lail (125, 16-6) and Old Mill's Paul Hultgren (14-3) could go a long way toward determining the tournament's intensity for both teams. But Southern's No. 2-ranked Tyrone Neal (21-1), a state runner-up last year, should breeze to that title.

Top seeds for Northeast are the defending state champion Kusick twins, Marty (112, 19-1) and Mike (119, 20-0), No. 6 Matt Jewer (135, 20-1) and No. 2 Steve Smiddy (140, 19-1).

Marty (12 pins, three technical falls) and Mike (nine pins, four technical falls) are two-time defending county champs, and Jewer (13 pins, three technical falls) and Smiddy (10 pins, one technical fall) are runners-up.

Jewer's toughest challenge should come from Chesapeake's No. seed Doug Horton, a county and regional champ two years ago, and Smiddy's should come from second-seeded freshman Isaac Haertel (Arundel).

The Eagles' No. 2 seed Ron Katzenberger (160, 17-5, eight pins) will have a tough time toppling Meade's top-seeded Adam Butts.

Patterson was fourth last year for Old Mill, and second-seeded teammate Jason Bryant (112, 19-2), ranked No. 3 in the state, was last year's 103-pound county champ.

Old Mill's Nick Basta (130, 20-4) is a first-year varsity wrestler, and defending county champ Mike Hines (152, 14-5) is seeded fourth behind Arundel's Mark Chesla (fourth last year), Northeast's Jason Grunder (14-5) and Glen Burnie's Darrel Minor (third last year).

Hines beat Grunder, 9-2, for last year's 145-pound title.

The 119-pound class is the tournament's toughest, with Mike Kusick and No. 2 seed Jamie Kuch (Severna Park), last year's county and 3A-4A state runner-up. Ranked No. 2 in the state, Kuch has the toughest side of the bracket.

Kuch owns a 1-0 victory over third-seed Phil Meenan, a regional champ two years ago whose first match is against Chesapeake's No. 6-seeded Matt Howard. Howard, who placed third last year, lost, 5-4, to Meenan earlier this season but has a 9-7 victory over Old Mill's seventh-seeded Shawn Radford. Radford, an 8-6 winner over Meenan, faces Kuch in his first match.

The heavyweight title should be a rematch between Arundel's third-ranked John Noon, the unbeaten top seed, and North County's Corey Fowler, who edged Noon, 6-5, for last year's crown to become his school's first champion. Noon leads the series between the two wrestlers, 5-1.

Only one of Broadneck's seven seeded wrestlers -- Jake Schaeffer (171, 24-2, 16 pins) -- is at No. 1, compared to one -- Steve Davis (145) -- of four for Chesapeake.

South River's two top seeds -- the Reid brothers, Gene (103) and Jamie (130) -- went unbeaten against county foes, with Gene's chief challenge likely to come from Chesapeake's No. 2-seeded Travis Gottlich (18-2), a former junior varsity champ who lost, 4-3, to Reid during the season.

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