Hammond set to take long shot at state wrestling title

March 04, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Heading into this weekend's 1A-2A state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College, Hammond is ranked No. 9 in the state and given a distant shot at a title.

As runner-up to No. 4 Damascus of Montgomery County in the 1A-2A South Region, Hammond qualified eight wrestlers -- including three region champions and three runners-up.

Damascus (11 wrestlers, one champion) sends the most wrestlers, followed by West Region winner No. 3 North Carroll (nine, three). South Region third-place finisher Lackey of Charles County (eight, two) and East Region winner No. 5 Rising Sun of Cecil County (eight, four champions) also figure in.

Defending 1A-2A state champion Northeast, the East Region runner-up to Rising Sun, qualified only seven wrestlers. Yet its five solid region champions -- including the state champion Kusick twins, Marty (112, 25-1) and Mike (119, 26-0) -- are the most of any 1A-2A contingent.

"I know that it's going to be a tough battle between Damascus, North Carroll, Northeast, Owings Mills, Rising Sun and us," said Hammond coach Bill Smith.

The Bears set a record with three region champions in third-ranked Chris Williams (31-3), fifth-ranked Josh Zillmer (119, 23-2) and sixth-ranked John Motley (130, 28-7).

Motley has a school-record 189 takedowns, and Williams' 31 wins are a single-season school record.

"Our chances are real good since we don't wrestle any top seeds in the first round," Smith said.

On the 3A-4A side, Howard (six wrestlers, one region champion) isn't expected to challenge five-time champion Old Mill (nine, three).

Contenders for the 3A-4A title include South Region champion Northern of Calvert County (eight wrestlers) with five champions and three runners-up, and No. 7 Frederick (seven, three), which edged Churchill of Montgomery County (six, one) for the West Region crown.

Individually, Wilde Lake's three-time county and region champion, Mike Green (171, 17-2), Oakland Mills' second-ranked, two-time county champion Juri Freeman (103, 29-1) and Hammond's Williams have the best shots at 1A-2A crowns.

Green, who was third in the states as a sophomore, placed fourth last year after losing to North Carroll's third-ranked Chris Boog (29-1), whom he should meet in the semifinals.

Green pinned all three region opponents last week, including Lackey's then-No. 1 Nathan Kmieciak (29-1), whose semifinal opponent should be Catoctin's second-ranked region champion Shane Tiffany (28-0), a 5-4 winner over Boog last week.

Williams' quarterfinal rival should be Hereford's county and region runner-up, Mike Gorleski (27-6), followed by Smithsburg's second-ranked David Everhart (23-1) in the semifinals.

In the finals, the Williams-Everhart winner should meet Northeast's two-time region champion Jason Grunder, North Carroll's Saidrick Lewis (29-2), Aberdeen's sixth-ranked Chad Guerrera (26-1) or Rockville's second-ranked John King (26-3).

King, an earlier 1-0 loser to Williams, meets Lewis in the first round.

On the 3A-4A side, Howard's sixth-ranked county and region champion Eric Paskin (145, 26-0) looks to remain unbeaten. Teammate Seth Eldridge (171, 24-2) was a county and region runner-up.

Obstructing Paskin's path to the final are Chesapeake's Steve Davis (25-5), an Anne Arundel County runner-up who was third in the East region, and Queen Anne's district champion, Josh Miller (26-4), who was second in the East Region.

From the other side, Linganore's fourth-ranked John Chucoski (27-0) or Old Mill's Mike DiLeonardi (27-6) should reach the final.

Assuming Eldridge keeps winning, his path should include first-round opponent Dan Roper (Suitland, 9-1) and quarterfinal opponent Jamie Weister (17-2, Frederick).

A potential semifinal opponent is Walbrook's sixth-ranked, two-time Baltimore City champion Jamil Stoakley (24-3, 16 pins). Stoakley is favored to meet McDonough's Chris Brown (26-5) in the finals.

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