Better late than never, clash of champs Old Mill, Northeast is on tonight's agenda

January 26, 1995|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

A year ago at about this time, Anne Arundel County wrestling fans were hoping to witness a milestone: Old Mill at Northeast in what would be the state's first dual-meet clash between defending state champs.

Old Mill was a five-time defending 3A-4A statechamp, with Northeast being the defending 1A-2A state champ. It was the first time a single county had shared the state crown for both classifications.

Then the snowstorms hit, and because of rescheduling problems, the big meeting was canceled.

"It was going to be at our place, and we expected a standing-room-only crowd," said Northeast coach Al Kohlhafer, whose Eagles last year dethroned Old Mill, 199.5-174.5, for their only county tournament crown since winning in 1977. "We felt we had a tremendous shot at winning, so it was disheartening not to wrestle."

But it's never too late to renew a rivalry.

Barring any mishaps, Old Mill (10-0, 9-0), ranked No. 3 in the area and No. 6 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, will play host tonight to Northeast (12-0, 9-0), ranked No. 4 in the area and No. 8 in the state.

The evening begins with the Patriots taking on DeMatha, ranked No. 3 in the state. Northeast isn't wrestling DeMatha, and Old Mill coach Mike Hampe said a loss to the Stags, 10-time Washington Metro League champs, would dampen his team's intensity.

It's part of a difficult stretch for the Patriots, who last week downed then-No. 5 North Carroll, 33-19, and this weekend will wrestle in No. 11 Gilman's Duals.

"Everything we do is in preparation for the states, and this is a tone-setter," said Hampe. "DeMatha and Northeast are two of the best teams in the state. But a winner takes whatever's facing him. That's our established tradition."

Northeast, coming off a 36-34 win over No. 6 Broadneck, is balanced throughout its lineup, beginning with the defending state champion Kusick twins, Marty (112 pounds, 18-0) and Mike (125, 18-1), as well as Glen Lail (119, 16-3) down low.

Jay Queer (135, 20-1), T.R. Fleming (140, 12-3) and Tyrone Eaton (145, 16-5) are in the middle, and Chris Morrow (152-160, 14-4), Ron Katzenberger (171, 17-2) and Adrian Spears (189, 15-4) are up top.

Old Mill may give up early points, but hopes to stem the tide with middle weight wrestlers Nick Basta (130, 10-4), and Paul Hultgren (135, 11-2), then get a strong finish from upper weights Mike DiLeonardi (145, 15-2), Mike Hines (152, 18-2), Mike Ruth (160, 13-5), Eric Donoway (171, 12-3) and Don Patterson (189, 15-1).

Old Mill hammered Northeast, 37-13, two years ago to increase the program's series lead to 6-2. Northeast is 0-6 since winning, 38-9, in 1977, and 31-21, in 1978 -- Hampe's first two seasons.

But the Eagles, winners of the county's first state title in 1976 under Kohlhafer, gradually have overtaken Old Mill, going 2-12 four years ago, then 6-7, 12-1 and 12-2 last year.

Northeast was 11th in the county tournament four years ago, then fourth, second and first last year, dethroning then 10-time tournament champ Old Mill.

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