CO-WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR
* Marty Kusick, Northeast, Sr., 112, 36-0 -- A week after becoming the county's first four-time champion, top-ranked Marty (131-2 career) suffered a head injury just hours before the start of the 1A-2A East Region Tournament. But the injury, which required six stiches to close, didn't prevent this two-time All-Metro from winning his fourth region crown and his third state title. Kusick, who was third in the state as a freshman, had among his wins a 15-0 technical fall over state champ Insuk Choe (Quince Orchard); decisions of 13-3 and 9-2 over Arundel's state champ, Phil Schleifer; and a 10-1 romp over Riverdale Baptist's third-ranked Mike Torro. The only losses of Marty's career came by, 8-5, to eventual state champ Jeremy Myers (North Carroll) as a freshman in the state semifinals, and, 4-3, to DeMatha's three-time National Prep champ Todd Beckerman (152-1 career), whose only loss came by 8-7 against Marty two years ago.
* Mike Kusick, Northeast, Sr., 119/125, 37-1 -- During his 127-5 career, Mike, ranked No. 2 in the state, has not only won four county crowns like his younger brother, but he's won three regional crowns and made four appearances in the state finals, being second as a sophomore and winning three state crowns. Kusick's only loss this season came when DeMatha's Todd Beckerman scored a late takedown to win, 4-3. Kusick blanked Quince Orchard's state runner-up David Chee, 5-0, in the Arundel Tournament; scored a technical fall over Franklin's Son Nguyen (fourth in the states); scored a 7-0 victory over Calvert Hall's two-time National Prep runner-up Gino Amasia; and pinned Severna Park's former state runner-up Jamie Kuch. Mike won the Outstanding Wrestler trophy at this year's senior All-Star Classic. Behind the Kusicks, co-Wrestlers of the Year for the third straight time, Northeast has won two consecutive Anne Arundel County Tournament Crowns and a 1A-2A state title two years ago.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Nick Basta, Old Mill, Sr., 140, 18-8 -- Basta won his second straight county and regional titles and helped the Patriots by often weighing in at 130 or 135 against the opposing team's better wrestler. Basta, a state runner-up last year, had a pin, a technical fall over Chesapeake's Jason Schmitt and a 9-2 decision over Broadneck's Isaac Putnam in the regional tournament. His forte is technique.
* Adam Butts, Meade, Sr., 171, 32-2 -- Butts is ranked No. 2 with Tromaine Graves, with whom he split victories, being dethroned as county champ by Graves. Butts also owned an 8-6 decision over South Carroll's two-time state champ Mike Chenoweth, behind whom Butts was a state runner-up last year, and a first-period pin over Poly's Baltimore City champ Darnell Dezurn, who entered the bout at 25-1 with 20 pins. This year, Butts pinned his 21st, 22nd and 23rd opponents at the states before crushing Suitland's two-time Prince George's County champ, Dan Ropel, 15-4, in his state title bout. His best moves were from the neutral position, where he often tossed opponents to their backs.
* Mark Chesla, Arundel, Sr., 152, 34-2 -- Top-ranked Chesla, a 3.3 student who began wrestling as a freshman, became his school's first two-time state champion and won his second county and regional crowns along the way. The slick and flexible Chesla had 25 pins, but needed decisions of 4-2, 8-7 and 7-5 -- the latter in overtime over Old Mill's Mike Hines -- to win his second straight crown. He also bounced Lackey's 1A-2A state champ, Ryan Hersey, 8-2, and Friends' state runner-up, Ethan Goldberg, 11-6, to win the gold medal at this year's senior all-star classic.
* Mike DiLeonardi, Old Mill, Sr., 145, 30-7 -- DiLeonardi, ranked No. 6 in the state, added a state crown to his first county and second regional titles this year. In the state semifinals, he avenged a loss of a year ago, 3-1, over Howard's favored Eric Paskin, who entered their bout at 30-1 but finished third for the second straight season. DiLeonardi owns a 9-3 victory over Arundel's state champ Mark Chesla. He also downed Chesla's teammate, Isaac Haertel, four times, including the county, regional and state finals -- the latter by 8-6 on an overtime takedown.
* Travis Gottlich, Chesapeake, Sr., 103, 32-1 -- Gottlich, ranked No. 5 in the state, relied on conditioning and skills honed in the Navy's junior league program to pin 17 of his 33 opponents. Gottlich, who was 29-5 with 15 pins last season, this year won the Arundel, Aberdeen and 3A-4A East Region tournaments crowns for the second straight year. He also won his first county and Chesapeake Tournament titles. At the state meet, Gottlich held a 4-0 title bout lead over Quince Orchard's region champ Insuk Choe before Choe secured a late and controversial pair of near fall points to win, 6-5.