Howard County team previews Local Sports: Wrestling Previews

December 05, 1996|By Rick Belz

Atholton Raiders

1995-96 record: 5-7 overall, 2-5 league

Coach: Bruce Linblad

Top wrestlers: Wade Zancan, 145, Jr.; Elliott Lipple, 125, Sr.; J. P. Giles, 130, Sr.; Bryan Loeffler, 135, Sr.

Outlook: The Raiders have one of the weakest outlooks of any county squad. They have no one at 160 pounds or above. Second-team All-County wrestler Tim McGrail transferred to Hammond. An excellent heavyweight, Paul McElheny, is academically ineligible. "And we have four in school who just didn't come back out," Linblad said. "No one wants to put the work in. Wrestling is one of the most difficult things to train for. We'll be hard-pressed to beat anyone, giving up 24 points per match." The Raiders do have some strength. Zancan was county runner-up and second-team All-County at 140 last season.

Centennial Eagles

1995-96 record: 10-3 overall, 6-1 league

Coach: Todd DeCrispino

Top wrestlers: Tony Carmadella, 145, Sr.; Justin Rix, 189, Jr.; Aaron Perkins, heavyweight, Sr.

Outlook: The Eagles are coming off one of their best seasons, after finishing second in the county and region and seventh in the state. "This is a rebuilding year," said DeCrispino. "But as a team we'll do better than average. We have some kids with real potential. We're thin in a lot of weight classes, but can fill all but two JV classes." The Eagles lost second-team All-County wrestler Billy Allen, who transferred to River Hill. Perkins was second-team All-County with an 18-6 record, and Carmadella was 13-8. Rix was 15-0 on JV and 1-1 on varsity.

Glenelg Gladiators

1995-96 record: 5-7 overall, 4-3 league

Coach: Matt Nagle

Top wrestlers: Jeremy Lignelli, 152 or 160, Sr.; Jimmy O'Connor, 135, Jr.; Kevin Ferguson, 171, Sr.; David Ferguson, 189, Sr.; John Clark, 135, Soph.; Peter Bourg, 140, Jr.

Outlook: The Gladiators lost coach Ed Ashwell to Long Reach, but picked up Nagle, who wrestled at Centennial and then at Maryland for two years. Nagle is Glenelg's fourth coach in four years. The Gladiators have a strong nucleus, starting with Lignelli, who went undefeated (33-0) and won a Class 1A-2A state title at 152 pounds -- the only county wrestler to win a state title. He was one of only two first-team All-Metro wrestlers from the county. O'Connor was county champion at 119 pounds, and the county tournament MVP because of his stunning upset of Oakland Mill's Chris Naylor. O'Connor finished third at regions. In addition, the Gladiators have Kevin and David Ferguson, who made made it to the state tournament. Kevin was second in the county at 160 pounds. "This is a building year, but we have some strong individuals who will make states," Nagle said.

Hammond Golden Bears

1995-96 record: 16-0 overall, 7-0 league

Co-Coaches: Jeff Starnes, Bill Smith

Top wrestlers: Josh Zillmer, 140, Sr.; Jared Zillmer, 119, Soph.; Vaymond Dennis, 103, Soph.; Tony Dakis, 160, Sr.; Tim McGrail, 152, Sr.; Mark Read, 130 or 135; Scott Osborn, 125, Sr.; Matt Nelson, HW, Soph.

Outlook: The Bears are prohibitive favorites to repeat as county champs this season. They graduated only four seniors from a state dual-meet championship team, and return first-team All-Metro Jared Zillmer (35-3), third in the state at 112, as well as his brother and three-time county champion Josh Zillmer (25-3). County champion Vaymond Dennis (27-11) also returns. Adding to Hammond's quality depth they have county runner-ups McGrail and Dakis. Osborn finished third in the county, Nelson fourth. The Bears bring up two JV champs in Randy Curtain (160) and Kyle Peddicord (171). "We're still young, but if we get lots of leadership, we'll be very good," Smith said. The Bears will compete in the 25-team Magruder Tournament for the first time, as well as the Lackey Tournament.

Howard Lions

1995-96 record: 6-6 overall, 5-2 league

Coach: Roger Colon

Top wrestlers: Brian Neal, HW, Sr.; Kapil Bhanot, 103, Sr.; Joel Hegg, 171, Sr.; Josh Rosenblatt, 160, Sr.; Barry Dagold, 130, Fr.

Outlook: Colon, 26, tackles his first high-school coaching job but has been involved in wrestling for 15 years. He's an enlisted Navy man stationed at Fort Meade who wrestled in a Pennsylvania high school program. The Lions expect to forfeit only one weight class -- 112. Neal (27-3) won county and regional titles and finished fifth in the Class 3A-4A state meet. He was also an All-American at the Greco-Roman nationals in North Dakota. Bhanot and Hegg were .500 wrestlers who hope to improve this season. Dagold gained experience by wrestling in the Beltway League. "We have some strong individuals and lots of enthusiasm among our freshmen and sophomores," Colon said.

Long Reach Lightning

1995-96 record: First year

Coach: Ed Ashwell

Top wrestlers: J. C. Porter, 112, Soph.; Joe Filipowicz, 119 or 125, Soph.; Jeff Carter, 119, Jr.; Jason Barrett,135, Soph.

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