New attitude produces title for Southwestern Sabers score 58-point win over runner-up Mervo

February 18, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Statistically, this year's Southwestern team bears a striking resemblance to last year's. The Sabers' record is nearly identical, and many individuals have performed near the same level.

It's what can't be seen in the record book, however, that is carrying coach Fred Bullock's team to new heights.

Bullock said his squad is at last performing as a cohesive unit, a far cry from last year when it was every man for himself.

Yesterday, at the Baltimore City District 9 Championships, host Southwestern showed just how much that new attitude means, scoring a 58-point victory over Mervo to end Poly's two-year reign on top.

The host Sabers had four champions, but scored significant points in six other weight classes, helping them to improve on their third-place finish of a year ago.

"They're a much better team to coach than last year," said Bullock. "Everybody is pulling for each other. They're focused, .. and it's just fun to watch."

Southwestern (10-2 during the season) got first-place points from 125-pounder Ronnie Powell, 135-pounder Charles Frazier, 145-pounder Shawn Yates and 160- pounder Marshall DuVall, but also had Edward Leight (103), Andre Wooden (130) and Danilo Punnett (140) make it to the finals.

"The guys on the team have more will and are more determined than they used to be," said Powell, who last year was the Sabers' only district champion.

Powell was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Lightweight, starting from the second seed before winning all three of his matches by pin fall, including the 125-pound final against top-seed Kevin Joyce of Dunbar.

Other champions included 103-pounder Aaron Jones and 189-pounder Claude Marrow of Patterson, 112-pounder Aaron Saradpon and heavyweight Anthony Mason of Poly, 119-pounder Garfield Thompson, 130-pounder Milard West and 152-pounder Brian Cromwell of Mervo, 140-pounder Dennis Perry of Dunbar and 171-pounder Curtis Anderson of City.

The best finish of the day occurred in the consolation finals. Trailing by a point with time running out, City 189-pounder Desmond Foster scored a desperation takedown with two seconds left to pull out a 10-9 win.

But the biggest win of all went to Southwestern.

It was the third straight tournament victory for the Sabers, but by far the biggest.

"We've got a lot of experienced wrestlers this year," said Frazier, one of three seniors on what's still a freshmen- and sophomore-dominated squad. "We want to do our best because this is our last year."

Bullock said that, more than ever, the Sabers are standing behind one another and lending much-needed moral support at practice and during matches.

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