Lissau, Dungee grow familiar with lead roles St. Joe wrestlers tune up for National Preps event

February 27, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

In the past, Mount St. Joseph wrestlers Jake Lissau and Tyran Dungee were mere understudies to such stars as All-Metros Shane McCarthy, Paul Scott, David Inkman, Kevin Neville and Danny DeVivo.

But each of them is a team captain this season, gaining an opportunity to show their senior leadership. And for the next week, they'll be gearing up for next weekend's National Preps Tournament at Lehigh University, where Dungee was fourth last year.

"The guys who were here before, they were stars you looked up to," said Dungee, ranked No. 1 at 160 with a 34-2 record (22 pins, six technical falls). "Being a captain, there's a lot of pressure, but it's also an honor to lead a team with this kind of tradition."

Dungee's shining moments this year came in winning his second straight crowns in both the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state tournaments. Dungee, also a Maryland Scholastic Association champ as a sophomore, dominated opponents to earn the Outstanding Wrestler award at the MIAAs, and was the only Gaels wrestler to be crowned champ at the states.

Lissau is also a two-time MIAA champ. And while he's finished only second in each of the last two state tournaments, Lissau this year accomplished something only two Gaels had: a title in the 8-year-old Power Ade Christmas Tournament at Trinity High in Pittsburgh. Scott Shaw (1990) and Chad Votta (1992) were the Gaels' only previous winners.

"That was pretty special, the biggest tournament I've ever won," said Lissau, whose highest finishes in junior leagues were third and fifth at states.

Ranked No. 6 at 135, Lissau has the team's best record (30-1, 21 pins). And like Dungee, he has won the Annapolis and Maryland Catholic Invitational at Curley earlier this year.

But what's even more impressive is Lissau's dedication: Despite a 1 1/2 -hour daily commute to school from Queen Anne's County, he's missed just one practice in four years, "And that's because his car broke down. Otherwise, he's been there through injuries, illness, whatever," Mount St. Joseph coach Paul Triplett said.

For Lissau, a 3.5 grade point student last quarter, the long ride means waking up "around 5:45, getting home no earlier than 7:30."

"Queen Anne's High is close, but St. Joe was best for wrestling, academics and recognition," said Lissau, who is considering Roger Williams, Drexel, Gettysburg and Western Maryland.

Dungee has developed into a more offensive-minded wrestler through past workouts with DeVivo and Neville. "Tyran used to be a counter wrestler, but DeVivo and Neville would really pound on him," Triplett said. "But Neville [now at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island] came back last year, and Tyran held his own."

Along with his two wins over DeMatha's National Prep champ Robert Alexander, now the state's No. 1-ranked 152-pounder, Dungee considers among his biggest wins a 12-1 shellacking of Bullis' Benny Ferro, who was 26-1 and ranked No. 1 in the state. Dungee was 28-4 and ranked No. 4.

Dungee credits his mother, Alma Williams, for encouraging him to wrestle in Owings Mills rec program at age 5.

"My mom's only missed one high school match, and that's because she wasn't well," said Dungee, junior league state champ in eighth grade. "I'm looking strongly at VMI. To graduate from there would set me up for life. And it would be a great gift to my mom."

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