Will to win drives Glads' Lignelli He tries harder: Jeremy Lignelli, Glenelg's most successful wrestler ever, is ranked second in the state at 152 pounds with a 19-0 record.

February 11, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Glenelg wrestler Jeremy Lignelli is ranked No. 2 in the state. And, of course, being No. 2 means you have to work harder.

That's fine with Lignelli, who uses for motivation the knowledge that there's always someone, somewhere, who's better than he is.

"The most exciting thing about wrestling is having that will to keep getting better, the will to win," he said.

His 19-0 record is evidence that Lignelli's will to win is still strong in his ninth year of wrestling. Those 19 wins include seven pins, two technical falls and seven major decisions.

The 152-pound junior already is the most successful wrestler Glenelg has ever had. He was 25-6 his freshman season. He was 33-2 last season and finished third in the state, losing in the state semifinals to two-time state champion Zach Yinger of Francis Scott Key.

Lignelli is a two-time county champ with a good chance to join Tim Lewis (Atholton), Jeff Rosenberg (Oakland Mills) and Adam Seidman (Oakland Mills) as the only four-time county champs.

"He makes a good captain because he's always trying to get better, and that kind of attitude rubs off on the rest of the team," Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell said.

"He's quiet, but leads by example. He helps other wrestlers with his knowledge, and because we are so young he is one of the main reasons we achieved our goal of finishing fourth in the county this season."

Glenelg went 4-3 in the dual-meet season and 5-7 overall. The county tournament starts Friday.

Lignelli describes himself as the type of wrestler who likes to control the tempo of a match.

In past seasons he has wrestled better on the bottom than top, but thinks that that has changed.

He's so improved, that Ashwell, who didn't coach him last season, thinks that Lignelli's strength now is wrestling on his feet.

"He's not taken down often. He's constantly moving. And he doesn't hesitate," Ashwell said. "He knows how to get into and out of a move, and if countered he knows the next move. He doesn't even have to think about it."

Lignelli sparked Glenelg to one of its biggest wins ever, a 34-33 victory over perennial power Oakland Mills.

Glenelg trailed 27-6 when Lignelli started a rally with a pin.

"I knew we had a good lineup coming behind me, and we still had a chance to win if I could just do my job," Lignelli said.

Another match he looks at fondly was a 13-2 victory over then third-ranked Primielle Pettway of Central in the finals of the Chopticon Tournament, which Lignelli has won three straight times.

Lignelli thinks his toughest opponent this season was Tony Calhoon of Francis Scott Key, a wrestler he'll see again tomorrow and Tuesday during the Hammond Tournament. He beat Calhoon, 5-0.

Lignelli wrestles far beyond the normal high school season.

"I wrestle until the summer up at McDonogh where some of the top wrestlers go to work out," he said.

He spends his summers getting ready for football season. He's a running back for the Gladiators.

He attributes much of his success to an early start. He wrestled for several youth organizations, including the St. Paul's Saints, Columbia Cobras, Columbia Hurricanes, Randallstown and the South Carroll Warriors.

In the eighth grade the Warriors won a state title and he placed sixth in the state.

"For a while I was wrestling with two teams five nights a week and that got me better," he said. "I wrestled 70 matches with the Warriors one year."

His goal this season is to win county, region and state championships and go undefeated.

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