1993-94 All-Anne Arundel County wrestling team Hepfer is top coach

Marty, Mike Kusick are co-honored

March 09, 1994|By Lem Satterfield

COACH OF THE YEAR

Buddy Hepfer, Arundel -- In his 24th season, Hepfer (205-79-4) became the county's first coach to reach the 200-career dual-meet victory milestone, but shortly after that win, injuries and ineligibility ravaged his squad. Not long after watching 119-pounder Phil Meenan fail to finish in the top four of the county tournament, Hepfer asked him, "When are you going to start shooting takedowns? I see things," while pointing to his own eyes. Over the next two weeks, Hepfer pushed Meenan to win region and state titles. He also pushed junior Mark Chesla (152) to win county, regional and state crowns, and senior heavyweight John Noon to win the counties and finish second in the regions and states. Neither Chesla or Noon had wrestled before their freshman seasons, and Hepfer -- taking only Meenan, Chesla and Noon to the states -- paced Arundel to a fourth-place finish out of 63 teams.

CO-WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR Marty Kusick, Northeast, Jr., 112 -- This second-ranked, three-time county and regional champ won his second straight state title, 7-6, over Baltimore City's third-ranked, two-time city and Maryland Scholastic Association champ Bruce Pendles (28-2) of Dunbar. In the states, Kusick (16 pins, four technical falls) also beat Montgomery County champ Randy Pickett (31-3, 27 pins) of Damascus and North Carroll's fifth-ranked, state runner-up Doug Dell (34-4). An All-Metro pick, Kusick also beat Old Mill's third-ranked state champ Jason Bryant (32-2) for the county crown. His only loss came by 5-3 against DeMatha's top-ranked, two-time National Prep champ, Todd Beckerman (100-1 over two seasons), whose only career loss came by 8-7 against Kusick.

Mike Kusick, Northeast, Jr., 119 -- Top-ranked Mike (11 pins, eight technical falls) reached the state finals for the third straight season, flattening North East's (Cecil County) No. 2-ranked Tim Taylor (27-4) for his second straight state crown. This All-Metro pick had three wins over Severna Park's No. 3-ranked Jamie Kuch, who was third in the states this year and second last year. The Kusick brothers also were the county's co-Wrestlers of the Year last season.

THE FIRST TEAM Travis Gottlich, Chesapeake, Jr., 103 -- Though the county's lightest at 99 1/2 pounds, Gottlich, last year's junior-varsity county champ, was the most consistent of its 103s, winning titles at Arundel and Aberdeen, placing third in the counties and at Chesapeake, and winning a regional title, 1-0, over Baltimore City champ Dorian Paul.

Tyrone Neal, Southern, Soph., 125 -- Second-ranked Neal (13 pins, 10 technical falls) improved on last year's state runner-up effort by winning this year's state title, along with his first county and second regional crowns. Neal also won tournaments at Broadneck, South River and Annapolis, the latter over Mount St. Joseph's sixth-ranked MSA champ Russell Fecteau (28-5). He has the potential to surpass his coach and father, Tyrone Neal Sr., who won state titles in his junior and senior seasons.

Nick Basta, Old Mill, Jr., 130 -- Basta beat two county runners-up to become a state runner-up to Randallstown's top-ranked, two-time champ Gary Harris. His slick style overcame stronger opponents, as in his 2-1 county-title bout win over South River's Jamie Reid, and his 5-0 victory over North Carroll's fourth-ranked Corey Rill. Basta dropped to 125 for the regional crown over Glen Burnie's county runner-up, Jay Queer, and pinned Mervo's city champ, Wayne Lucas, in the regional semifinals.

Matt Jewer, Northeast, Sr., 135 -- Fourth-ranked, county and two-time regional champ Jewer (19 pins, two technical falls) pinned six of his last 10 opponents, including three straight entering his overtime, 130-pound state-title bout loss to Owings Mills' third-ranked Steve Kessler (35-0). Jewer won titles at Broadneck and Arundel, beating DeMatha's fourth-ranked Brian Page, 20-8, at Arundel. His only other loss come at 135 by 4-3 against St. Joe's fifth-ranked, MSA champ Tyran Dungee.

Steve Smiddy, Northeast, Sr., 140 -- No. 2-ranked Smiddy (14 pins, two technical falls) won the counties and his second straight regional crown, and was a state runner-up for the second straight year. He won titles at Arundel and Broadneck and was a runner-up to Mount St. Joseph's top-ranked, National Prep runner-up Paul Scott (28-4) at Chesapeake.

Steve Davis, Chesapeake, Sr., 145 -- After being slammed by Old Mill's Mike DiLeonardi -- who beat him earlier in the season -- Davis was declared the winner of the county title. A back injury prevented him from wrestling against DiLeonardi in the regionals, where Davis placed third. But Davis capped the season with a state runner-up finish after a 10-5 semifinal upset of Howard's sixth-ranked Eric Paskin (30-1).

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