Jeffress joins 3 others from Carroll County in state winner's circle Kiler, Conaway, Chenoweth finish season undefeated

March 03, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The focus for Carroll County going into this weekend's state wrestling tournament was clearly geared towards the individuals. They didn't disappoint.

Moments before the start of last night's finals at Western Maryland College, North Carroll's Tommy Kiler was in the middle of a mat warming up and having some fun with South Carroll's Charlie Conaway and Mike Chenoweth.

A little more than an hour later, all three had won state titles. It was Chenoweth's third, Kiler's second and Conaway's first. All three completed their senior years undefeated.

Liberty senior Kevin Jeffress, a second seed out of the North region, then capped the night for the county with a buzzer-beating 3-1 decision over Kenwood's Chuck Jones at 125 to become the third Lions wrestler to win a state title and the first since Louis Harmel won in 1988.

"I saw all the other guys in our county win in the finals and I just knew I didn't want to be the only guy to lose," Jeffress said.

None of the five Carroll schools were in contention for a team title going into the tournament's second day.

Owings Mills had its fourth Class 1A-2A championship wrapped up early. Entering all finals yesterday, the Eagles had 129.5 points, already surpassing their own Class 1A-2A state record total of 125 points in 1991. They ended up winning by a 142.5-78.5 margin over runner-up Lackey. Francis Scott Key finished 18th with 31.5 points.

Damascus was doing the same in the Class 3A-4A, pulling away early to wind up with a 152.5-82 win over runner-up Northern of Calvert County. South Carroll was third with 72.5 points and Westminster had 42 points to finish eighth.

Kiler (27-0 at 140) got his only serious test in yesterday's semifinals when he trailed Douglass' Darren Black, 2-1, in the third period before coming back to get the pin.

He was in total control in the finals, coming away with a 14-3 major decision over Calvert's Shawn Poore. He closes out his career a two-time state champ with four county and region titles.

"I'm happy. I just wanted to relax and wrestle. I knew if I worked hard throughout I'd be fine," he said.

Chenoweth (31-0) cruised to his third straight state title, scoring a 19-3 technical fall over Crossland's Victor King in the final. In his career at South Carroll, he finished with a 94-2 record with 69 pins.

"It feels pretty good. Right now, it hasn't hit me. It probably will when I get home," he said.

South Carroll kept center stage with Conaway's 6-4 decision over Douglass' Frank Black-Glover at 160.

Black-Glover had a 3-2 lead in the second period before Conaway took control early in the third with three back points.

"This is great; I waited a long time for this," Conaway said. "It was tough. I just knew I couldn't let him take me down in the end. Last year, I came up a little short. This year I had more confidence and motivation. I just felt if I kept my head up and didn't make any dumb mistakes, I'd be fine this weekend."

Jeffress (27-5) reached the finals with two straight overtime wins, beating Gaithersburg's Richard Pelaez, 4-2, in Friday's quarterfinals before edging Broadneck's Todd Betz, 6-4, in yesterday's semifinals.

It appeared overtime was inevitable in the finals until Jeffress got a takedown on Jones on the edge of the mat in the final second.

"I felt confident," Jeffress said. "I knew I needed to take it to him and knew I could get to him. I just needed to stay aggressive. I'm happy as can be. I thought going in I had the toughest weight class and had to go through three ranked wrestlers. I knew it wasn't going to be easy."

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