Hammond adds another championship trophy Golden Bears grab fourth title in past five years

February 23, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Almost everything went as expected at the 28th annual Howard County Wrestling Tournament -- with only a couple surprises to make it exciting.

Hammond emerged as the team champion for the fourth time in five years, beating runner-up Oakland Mills, 230-183. And 11 of the 13 top-seeded wrestlers won titles. The other two titles went to second seeds.

Josh Zillmer of Hammond and Jeremy Lignelli of Glenelg both won their fourth straight county championships, a feat that had been accomplished by just three other wrestlers.

Glenelg's Jimmy O'Connor and Kevin Ferguson, and Howard's Brian Neal remained unbeaten on the season.

And J. C. Porter of Long Reach became that first-year school's first county champion by defeating defending champion Vaymond Dennis of Hammond, 5-4, at 114 pounds. Dennis was the only one of six defending champs who lost. The accomplishment by Porter earned the sophomore the Glenn Devane Award as the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

The two had split a pair of earlier matches, but Porter said he was sure he'd win last night. "He [Dennis] made a mistake by riding too high. I saw a leg and switched him and that was the turning point," Porter said. "But we'll meet again in regions and states."

Derek Dauberman of River Hill was the other second seed to win, and he was his first-year's school's first county champ. The freshman 105-pounder edged Kapil Bhanot of Howard, 8-5.

Oakland Mills wrestlers were involved in the two most exciting final matches of the tournament - both overtimes.

Senior Scorpion Chris Naylor won an overtime 5-1 victory against Scott Osborn of Hammond. Naylor had been upset in the finals last season after winning the title as a sophomore. "I'll always remember this. I'm so happy. I've been waiting a year for this. I promised myself I wouldn't lose this year and that's all I thought about in overtime."

At 191 pounds, Bryan Frizzelle of Oakland Mills and David Ferguson of Glenelg engaged in one of the most controversial matches in county history.

Ferguson was leading 3-1 with 27 seconds left when he began pumping his fist in celebration and the referee awarded a point to Frizzelle for Ferguson's unsportsmanlike conduct.

Frizzelle nearly escaped but was off the mat with five seconds left. With Ferguson riding on top when action resumed, Frizzelle managed to flip out from under Ferguson who flew up in the air and lost contact with Frizzelle as time ran out.

The referee at first awarded a reversal to Frizzelle which would have given him the match, but it was overruled by the scorer's table which said the reversal came after time ran out.

Frizzelle was credited for an escape, instead, and the score was 3-3 necessitating overtime. Neither wrestler could score in the first overtime, but both officials missed an obvious unsportsmanlike conduct call against Frizzelle after an injury timeout was awarded to Ferguson.

Frizzelle waved his hand in disgust at Ferguson after the timeout was granted, but both officals had their backs turned and were attending to the injured wrestler near Glenelg's bench.

"My attention was with the injured wrestler. If I had seen him [Frizzelle] I would have hit him with an unsportmanlike conduct call. I can't call what I didn't see. And I'm not allowed to consult the scorer's table on a call like that," referee Dick Schmeltzer said. "I did hit Oakland Mills for minus-one team point because of it."

The match went to a tiebreaker overtime, and Frizzelle won the coin flip and elected to take the bottom. Ferguson needed to maintain top position for 30 seconds and the match was his.

"Once I got the bottom I knew I had it won because neither of us was able to hold the other one down," Frizzelle said. "We both got caught up too much in the heat of the moment. But we know each other and there are no hard feelings."

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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