Northeast, Old Mill on the defensive

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

Neither five-time 3A-4A state champion Old Mill nor 1A-2A champion Northeast has an easy task in defending wrestling titles at Western Maryland College today and tomorrow.

The East Region champion Patriots qualified more wrestlers (nine, with three region champions) than any other team in its field.

But South Region champion Northern of Calvert County has eight qualifiers -- five region champions and three runners-up. Northern won just two matches against Old Mill in last month's state duals semifinal.

A first-round bout between the Patriots' Eric Donoway (160 pounds) and Northern's Sean Stone -- who earlier was pinned by Donoway's teammate Mike DiLeonardi (145) -- could go a long way toward establishing Old Mill's intensity.

West Region winner Frederick edged Old Mill for the state duals title and had three region champions.

But three of the Cadets' seven qualifiers, including region champion Jamie Weister (171, 17-2), lost against the Patriots. Two of the wrestlers who won didn't qualify, including Craig McIlvaine, whose pin clinched the Cadets' 30-27 victory.

Churchill of Montgomery County, runner-up to Frederick in the West, qualified six wrestlers (one champion) but will need some upsets to contend. Ditto for South Carroll, upset winner over Perry Hall in the North Region. South Carroll has seven wrestlers, one a region champion.

Old Mill's third-ranked Jason Bryant (112, 28-3) has placed fourth and third, respectively, in successive years, but will need help from region champions Nick Basta (125, 28-4) and Mike DiLeonardi (145, 27-6) as well as sixth-ranked runner-up Don Patterson (189, 29-6).

All four have good chances to reach finals, but Linganore's fourth-ranked John Chucoski (27-0) looms for DiLeonardi in the semifinals.

"With some upsets, we'll have a shot just like everyone else," said Patriots coach Mike Hampe. "There's no dominant team, so this could be one of the most exciting tournaments in quite a while."

In the 1A-2A, county champion and East Region runner-up Northeast's seven qualifiers include the most region champions (five).

The Eagles have the defending champion Kusick twins, Marty (112, 25-1) and Mike (119, 26-0), state-runner-up Steve Smiddy (140, 25-1), Jason Grunder (152, 19-6) who was third last year, and Matt Jewer (130, 26-1), who was fourth.

"It could be tough for all of them, but I think Mike has an excellent shot," said Northeast coach Al Kohlhafer. "We can't take anything for granted."

East Region champion Rising Sun of Cecil County has eight wrestlers and the second-most number of champions (four).

South Region champion Damascus of Montgomery County leads all teams with 11 wrestlers, followed by West Region and state dual champion North Carroll (nine). Hammond and Lackey of Charles County finished second and third, respectively, in the South Region and qualified eight wrestlers each.

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