Owings Mills has 6 champs in 1A-2A regional event Kessler, dropping to 145, racks up victory No. 105

February 25, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Owings Mills collectively and Steve Kessler in particular just keep rolling along.

The Baltimore County school finished with six individual champions and overwhelmed the rest of the 20-team field in the Class 1A-2A North regional tournament at Havre de Grace yesterday. Successful defender Owings Mills finished with 230 points to 119.5 for Aberdeen, runner-up for the second straight year.

Two-time state champion Kessler, a junior, wrestling at 145 after a season at 152, ran his record to 32-0 (105-0 for a career) when he scored a technical fall over Pikesville's Steve Golob (29-4). In winning county and regional titles in the last eight days, he had two pins and five technical falls.

Owings Mills teammates winning titles were Steve Kellner (125, 28-5); Ari Dolid (135, 29-3); Shaun Andoll (160, 23-8); Willie Broadnax (171, 28-3); and heavyweight Anthony Smith (32-1). In addition to Kessler, Broadnax defended his crown, and Sparrows Point's Tommy Free (119, 33-0), made it three straight regional titles, having previously won twice at 103.

Aberdeen had three champions, second seeds Kevin Carter (103, 23-1), and James Axel (112, 23-2), and third seed Mark Fazekash (140, 19-6), and Sparrows Point two, with top seeds Free and Mike Young (130, 31-1). The other two champs were second seed Robin Watkins (152, 22-2) of Overlea, and Greg Forbes (189, 21-1) of Milford Mill.

"This is one of the most talented teams I've had," Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker said. "It's not as mature as some others [four seniors, six juniors, and two freshmen], but they are improving on that every week."

The Eagles entered 12 wrestlers and all qualified for the state tournament, which begins Friday at Western Maryland College.

Of dropping down to 145, Kessler said, "I feel really good -- bigger, stronger, quicker," which may not bode well for the remainder of the state's 145-pounders.

There were three championship pins, as Free made it 30 for the year with a three-match sweep, capped by a 1-minute, 44-second fall of Drew Bowers of Owings Mills; Kellner had the quickest, putting down Nat Paloma of Overlea in 1:26; and Brian Watkins dispatched top seed Mark Lasek of Patapsco, up from 145, in 1:43.

Carter had the only overtime decision, as he came back from having his shoulder pop out with one minute left in regulation -- "It did it some last year, but this was the first time it happened since the first of the year," he said -- then managed a takedown of Billy Weber of Sparrows Point for the decision.

The 189-pound final matched two of the program's most impressive records: top seed Tom Staab of North Harford, who had won 28 in a row since an opening-match loss, and Greg Forbes of Milford Mill, 20-1. Forbes controlled the match all the way, winning, 7-4.

"I've been working with my coach, Tyrone Gordon, a former Overlea state champ, and he has made me better," said Forbes, second in last year's regional. Forbes wrestled heavyweight much of this year, and pointed out that helped him improve his work against bigger foes.

"I get my speed from Coach, because we go at it a lot, and he has made me faster and more disciplined," he said. "I consider Staab bigger, but I got up on my toes more and was able to come through."

At 130, Young kept his cool during a final that saw Grant Ohler of Lansdowne disqualified. He was assessed four penalty points during the match, and later was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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