Hammond stays unbeaten with county championship Seven Bears reach finals, five emerge as titlists

February 18, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The Year of the Bear continued as second-ranked Hammond nailed down the county tournament championship in impressive fashion at Atholton yesterday.

A week ago the Bears (16-0) won their first Class 1A-2A state dual-meet championship.

Defending county tourney champion Oakland Mills finished as runner-up, 212-155. The Scorpions placed only three in the finals and didn't produce a county champion.

Hammond placed seven wrestlers in the finals, and five emerged as county champions.

Senior Hansel Henry (171 pounds) and junior Josh Zillmer (140) led the Bears by repeating as county champions. Zillmer (26-3) is now a three-time county champ.

"Everyone did what they were supposed to do, not just our champions," Hammond coach Jeff Starnes said.

As they have all season, the Bears were sparked by their 103- and 112-pound wrestlers, Vaymond Dennis and Jared Zillmer. They both won county titles.

Jan Grothe (21-11) won at 130 pounds for Hammond.

Freshman Jared Zillmer (28-2) pinned his way through the tournament. His 26 pins are a school record.

Henry's match with Howard's Frank Tortella was one of the tournament's highlights. Tortella (21-3) took an early 2-0 lead but Henry (27-3) rallied to win, 3-2.

Another highlight match was Glenelg's Jimmy O'Connor's against defending county champion Chris Naylor of Oakland Mills. O'Connor, who was pinned by Naylor earlier this season, trailed 6-2 at one point, but rallied to pin Naylor in 4:39.

The victory earned O'Connor the coaches' vote for the Glenn DeVane Award as the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

O'Connor's teammate Jeremy Lignelli (24-0) repeated as county champ in another highlight match, a 6-4 decision over Atholton's Tim McGrail.

Centennial finished third with 149.5 points and three individual titles.

Defending state and county champion Joon Kim (18-2) won at 189 for the Eagles with a 10-6 decision over Hammond's Don Clark.

Centennial's Matt Augustin decisioned Hammond's Tony Dakis at 145 pounds, 12-8. Dakis had beaten the top seed, Howard's Matt Sartwell, who was a defending county champ.

And Centennial's Lance Rhodes, who had lost in the county finals a year ago, won a 10-4 decision over Mount Hebron's Quint Lears.

Howard had nine wrestlers in the semifinals, but sent just three to the finals to finish fourth with 140 points.

Howard's Chris Poling (22-3) extended his winning streak to 22 by taking the 160-pound title, and teammate Brian Neal took the heavyweight title.

Wilde Lake had the remaining county champion, Alex Hernandez, at 135 pounds. He defeated top-seeded John Nguyen of Oakland Mills, 9-2.

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