Neal and Reid pin down state championships Anne Arundel County experiences hard times

March 03, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Yesterday's state tournaments at Western Maryland College ended a lean year in wrestling for Anne Arundel County, but two seniors, Southern's Tyrone Neal (140) and South River's Gene Reid (119), earned individual 1A-2A crowns.

Neal, a runner-up as a freshman, won his third straight state title with a pin of Northeast's No. 4 Jay Queer (28-4) -- his fourth and most dominant win over Queer this year.

Reid (29-2) called it "definitely the tournament of a lifetime." He avenged two losses, one by pin in last week's region title bout, with a 7-5 overtime decision by takedown against Mardela's No. 2 Rodney Stine (29-2) to become his school's first state champ.

Neal (32-1) scored a 12-0 quarterfinal decision, a 15-0 semifinal technical fall, and did not allow a point in his first-round fall. But he trailed, 2-0, after Queer nailed a takedown on his signature move -- a fireman's dump.

"I can't believe I let him get that takedown on me because I knew VTC that move was coming. It was a wake-up call," said Neal (125-10 career), who eclipsed the school-record of two titles held by his ,, father and coach Tyrone Neal Sr. "I wanted to go for the pin."

Queer (28-3) reached the title bout with pins in 1:44 and 45 seconds, respectively, and a technical fall.

Reid reached the title bout with a 3-0 decision over Overlea's Cory Scott, a pin of West region champ Jeremy Fuss (Catoctin), and edged Central's Prince George's County champ Lance Correia, 3-1, in the semifinals.

Stine, a third-place finisher last year, had upset last year's champ, No. 1 Tommy Free (Sparrows Point), by 7-5, in the semifinals.

Broadneck (27 points, 17th) was the highest placing team in the 3A-4As -- won handily by Damascus (a state-record 152.5 points -- followed by Arundel (21 points, 23rd). Owings Mills won the 1A-2As with a state-record 142.5 points.

Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer was inducted into the state's wrestling Hall of Fame.

"I never expected this, and I was shocked to get the phone call," said Hepfer, who since 1970 has won 229 dual-meet matches, a state title in 1987 and was The Baltimore Sun's 1993 All-Metro Coach of the Year. "It's a tremendous honor to be honored in this manner."

Hepfer's award was bittersweet, however. He had to watch Isaac Haertel (152, 26-2, 17 pins) finish as a 3A-4A runner-up for the second straight year after being pinned in 5:16 by Damascus' Randy Pickett (30-1) in a battle of co-No. 2-ranked wrestlers.

For Northeast, sixth in the 1A-2As with 62 points, No. 6 Chris Morrow (135, 30-1) entered as the county's only unbeaten wrestler, but lost his semifinal bout, 6-0, to Owings Mills' Ari Dolid. Teammate T.R. Fleming (145) gave Owings Mills' Steve Kessler, who improved to 109-0 with his third consecutive state crown, a tough semifinal battle in a loss and wound up fourth.

Old Mill, whose highest placer was sixth-place Rich Sampson, did not have a state champ for the first time since 1986. The Patriots have won a state record six crowns, including last year's and an unprecedented five straight before being dethroned in 1994.

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