Glenelg's Lignelli ends 33-0 season at the states 152-pound senior collects Gladiators' first title

March 03, 1996|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jeremy Lignelli of Glenelg spotted Steve Kessler from about 10 yards away and raced over to hug the Owings Mills wrestler while letting out a loud scream.

"I got mine," yelled Lignelli. "I got mine."

Moments after Kessler wrapped up his third straight undefeated season with his 109th straight victory and third state title, Lignelli copied his friend. Lignelli finished his perfect season by winning the school's first state championship last night at the state tournament at Western Maryland College.

Kessler (145) led Owings Mills to its fourth Class 1A-2A state title in six years. Damascus, which lost to Owings Mills by just 1.5 points last year, moved up and easily won the Class 3A-4A title. Both teams set records for the most number of points scored -- Owings Mills with 142.5 and Damascus with 152.5

No. 2 Hammond, the Class 1A-2A dual-meet champion, finished ninth with 48 points. In Class 3A-4A, Centennial took seventh with 44 points.

Lignelli (152, 33-0) defeated Ryan Green (29-2) of Linganore, 3-0, to win the state title. After an even first period, Lignelli scored a second-period escape and takedown for the three-point victory.

The junior finished third in the state last year with a 33-2 record, and he said he wanted much more.

"I was going for it all this year," said Lignelli. "I wanted to stay undefeated and win it all."

And so Lignelli did, winning a third straight county title, a second straight region championship and the first state title -- something that brought a smile to the face of Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell.

"He'll do whatever it takes to win," said Ashwell. "He's never stopped working hard since he was a freshman."

Joon Kim (189) of Centennial hoped to win his second straight state title in the Class 3A-4A competition, but Ryan Hoffman of Thomas Johnson stopped those plans, pinning him to take the title.

In a tight match that went back and forth, Kim took a 6-5 lead early in the final period. But Hoffman (29-2) caught Kim (23-3) in a roll and pinned him to take the state title.

Kim won the state title at 189 last year, scoring a 5-3 decision over Don Patterson of Old Mill.

"He was hoping to win," said Centennial coach Todd DeCrispino. "It was his dream to come back and repeat."

Hammond did not repeat its recent state title performance, but got third-place finishes from Jared Zillmer (112) and Hansel Henry (171).

Zillmer (35-3), a freshman who set a school record for pins this season with 29, got caught and pinned by Davey Blake of Kent County at 1:02 in the semifinal.

But Zillmer, the county and region champion, came back to score two victories, including a 7-1 decision over William Miller of Owings Mills in the consolation final.

Henry, the county and region champion, got stuck in the quarterfinal, as Don Foderaro pinned him at the 1:35 mark. But Henry (34-4) paid back the Parkside wrestler later, scoring a 14-7 decision in the consolation final.

Vaymond Dennis (103), the county champion and region runner-up, finished sixth for the Golden Bears. He ended the season with a 27-9 mark.

Hammond coach Jeff Starnes still was a bit disappointed that none of the Golden Bears made the finals.

"I'm not happy in the simple fact that I really think Hansel should have been in the finals, and the same thing for Jared," said Starnes. "Both of them made mistakes, and in wrestling you've got to be alert all the time, and that's my fault because I should have had them better prepared."

Three other Howard County wrestlers made the consolation finals -- but all lost. Alex Hernandez (135, 28-6) of Wilde Lake, who handed Kris Dietrich of Smithsburg his second loss of the season in the consolation round, finished fourth as did Lance Rhodes (119, 22-3) of Centennial and Atholton's Tim McGrail (152, 27-12).

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