Owings Mills freshman Kessler captures first title

March 06, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Barely had Owings Mills' 130-pound freshman Steve Kessler stepped off the mat before whispers began circulating of his possibly winning four state titles.

Third-ranked in his class, Kessler had just won his 1A-2A title bout in overtime over Northeast's fourth-ranked Matt Jewer (29-2), a senior who had pinned his three previous opponents.

"I knew he'd be strong, and I knew I'd have to wrestle the match of my life," said Kessler, whose team finished 14th -- the highest of any Baltimore County team.

His accomplishment has him within range of Aberdeen's Matt Slutzky, who two years ago became Maryland's first three-time champ.

Damascus of Montgomery County dethroned Northeast by a half-point for the 1A-2A title, and Northern of Calvert (76.5 points) dethroned Old Mill (72, third place) for the 3A-4A crown. Frederick (76 points) was second.

Randallstown (15th, 28 points) was the highest-finishing Baltimore County team in 3A-4A, as top-ranked Gary Harris (125, 30-0, 25 pins), won his second straight title after three pins and a title-bout default over Old Mill's Nick Basta (31-4).

Woodlawn's top-ranked heavyweight Darrel Mance (29-0) also repeated, pinning North County's fifth-ranked Corey Fowler (26-6) in the semifinal and winning his title-bout, 3-1, over Arundel's fourth-ranked John Noon (29-2) on a takedown with 35 seconds left.

Dulaney's Mike Kassolis (103, 31-3) lost 4-3 to Wheaton's fourth-ranked Scott Munsey (29-1), and his fifth-ranked teammate, Alex Leanos (130, 32-3) lost 8-4 to Frederick junior Tim Novak.

Walbrook's sixth-ranked Jamil Stoakley (171, 27-4) was the only city wrestler to reach a 3A-4A title bout, where he lost, 10-7, to McDonough's (Charles County) Chris Brown (30-5).

On the 1A-2A side, Dunbar's third-ranked Bruce Pendles (112, 28-2) was a runner-up to Northeast's No. 2-ranked Marty Kusick (29-1), falling short in a 7-6 decision after leading, 2-0.

Pendles' teammate, sixth-ranked city and regional champ, Hermondoz Thompson ( 135, 26-2), dropped a 5-0 decision to Francis Scott Key's Randy Owings (30-1). Kusick and Owings won their second straight crowns.

The only other county wrestler to reach the finals on the 1A-2A side was Overlea heavyweight Mike Knoedler, who lost, 10-2, to Rockville's Andy Stroud (26-0).

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