Open tourney format gets pilot shot

April 27, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

In its meeting last Thursday, the executive council -- the state association's committee to study the playoff structure -- decided to use soccer and volleyball as pilot programs for an open state tournament next fall.

Under the new format, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association will abandon its present playoff point system to allow all teams -- regardless of regular-season records -- an automatic postseason berth.

The goal is to institute the new system for all sports except football.

"Coaches have between now and next fall to schedule games," said Ned Sparks, executive secretary for the MPSSAA.

Changes at Randallstown?

Randallstown football coach John Buchheister recently learned from principal Clark Powell that he may be forced to teach at another county school next year as the odd-man out among the school's seven physical education instructors.

Buchheister, who has a 128-44 record, including a 1A state title at Milford Mill in 1987 and the 4A crown at Randallstown in 1990, said it is the fourth time in his 24-year teaching career -- and the first time in 17 years -- that he has been "excessed" from a school.

"I'm not upset about it. I've only been told that the teaching position I'm in is being excessed," said Buchheister, 47, who learned his status three weeks ago. "I have not been told that I won't be here or that I'm not coaching."

A decrease in enrollment for physical education health classes forced the number of health classes to be reduced from seven to four. "That excesses one teacher. The county's responsible for getting that teacher into another school," said athletic director Jim Higgins.

Wrestling update

Some past and present All-Metro wrestlers are making waves both nationally and world-wide.

McDonogh's sophomore wrestler J.R. Plienis (209 pounds) won last weekend's freestyle state title at Old Mill, won both the Greco-Roman and freestyle events two weeks ago at the Cadet World Team Trials in Chicago and wrestled at 220 to win the Greco-Roman portion of last weekend's Northeast Regional championships in Brockport, NY.

State champs Steve Kessler (132, Owings Mills) and Chris Williams (152, Hammond) also won freestyle state titles.

Also in the regionals, Mount St. Joseph's two-time All-Metro junior Danny DeVivo (165), The Baltimore Sun's 1993-94 Wrestler of the Year, won the Greco-Roman category and was a freestyle runner-up for the second straight year.

Plienis, 15, next goes to Chicago for the June 24-30 World Championships in which Plienis placed 10th a year ago as a Greco-Roman competitor. With regional wins, both Plienis and DeVivo also qualified for the Tour De Monde.

Plienis won the Cadet Worlds' Greco-Roman title for the second straight year and improved on last year's freestyle runner-up finish. He is ranked No. 1 by USA wrestling in both disciplines at 182.5 and 209 pounds.

At McDonogh, Plienis (28-3, 19 pins) was the Maryland Scholastic Association champ and placed third in last month's National Preps Tournament.

Plienis said he will wrestle in the freestyle category rather than the Greco-Roman because USA wrestling does not permit simultaneous competition in both at the worlds.

DeVivo, who qualified for last year's Tour De Monde in Bulgaria, lost a regional freestyle rematch of last year's 154-pound championship. Rising Sun's two-time state champ, Jason Townsend, edged DeVivo, 7-6, on a controversial call.

Also at the Cadet Worlds, Havre de Grace's state runner-up Thomas Free (103) placed third in Greco-Roman. Free, a Northeast regional runner-up, was a second-team All-Metro pick and a Harford County and regional champ.

Owings Mills graduate and former three-time state champ, Grant Johnson (180.5), was a runner-up in the University championships.

Johnson, The Baltimore Sun's 1992-93 Wrestler of the Year, went 18-4 as a freshman at Boston University, placing second in the Big Northeastern Conference.

Randallstown graduate and former two-time state champ Mike Jenson, The Baltimore Sun's 1991-92 All-Metro Wrestler of the Year, was a conference runner-up at Rider and led the team in wins.

John Carroll coach named

Robert L. Heubeck, a 1985 graduate of John Carroll, has been named its new boys soccer coach. The former All-Harford County player replaces longtime coach John Hughes, who three years ago coached the Patriots to the school's only MSA soccer title.

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