Arundel's superior score (241 points) takes title Three Wildcats place first in record-setting showing

February 23, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

With a county-record 241 points compared to runner-up Old Mill's 173, No. 2 Arundel, ranked No. 7 in the state, dominated in defense of its Anne Arundel County tournament crown in the 38th annual event at Chesapeake High.

Titlists for the state Class 3A-4A dual-meet champion Wildcats were Pat Ortman (119 pounds, 25-7 record), Graham Harris (140, 28-2) and No. 6 Isaac Haertel (152, 31-1, 21 pins), with Brian Schroeder (125), Wayne Nichols (130, 28-5), Rob Connolly (160, 28-4, 16 pins) and Matt Neidig (171, 23-7, 17 pins) finishing second.

Steve Banvard (145) and Jeff Blachly (189) were both third, and Nick Smith (135) and Bobby Kilby (Heavyweight) both fourth for Arundel, which eclipsed Old Mill's 1992 scoring record of 229 points.

Haertel, a two-time state runner-up, defended his title, 9-2, over North County's WT Aye (23-4), with whom he split regular-season bouts. Harris out-scored two opponents by 15-1, then pinned Annapolis' Gideon Lukens (17-7).

Lukens, who finished fourth last year, scored a semifinal 7-2 upset of North County's Mike Parks (23-4), who had beaten Lukens twice before.

"Our strategy was just to wrestle him aggressively. I wanted to get the takedown and go from there," said Haertel, who is Arundel's winningest wrestler with 109 career victories, and can become his school's first three-time state place-winner.

Ortman's 4-3 title-bout win over Old Mill's Chris Deadder (119, 16-3) improved his lead to 2-1 in their series, and gave the Wildcats 231 points. Deadder had reversed an earlier 9-6 loss with his 13-5 semifinal victory over Severna Park's Mike Stewart (23-4).

"Chris is real good on his feet, so I switched up some things in my attack. And after the first takedown, I was confident," said Ortman, a county runner-up last year.

In their title bouts, Neidig and Connolly, lost to region champs from Chesapeake in No. 4 Carl Cicchetti (21-2) and Chad Duncan (25-4, 13 pins), respectively. Cicchetti, a county runner-up who finished fourth at states, beat Connolly for the third time, 10-0. Duncan defended his county title with his second victory of the year over Neidig, 11-8.

Schroeder was pinned by Chesapeake's Ryan Howard (125, 18-5), with whom he split regular-season bouts, and Nichols lost, 7-3, to Old Mill's Rich Sampson (130, 28-4).

Haertel said coach Buddy Hepfer was concerned about an emotional letdown after his Wildcats (18-0) had beaten Westminster for the state duals title last weekend.

"As a team, we wanted to come in and wrestle impressively," Haertel said, "and I think we did."

Ortman, Schroeder, Connolly and Neidig all avenged earlier losses with semifinal wins. Ortman hammered Southern's Scott Bonds, 10-1; Schroeder edged Broadneck's Matt Ormsby, 2-0; Connolly pinned Northeast's Anthony Brown (21-5); and Neidig edged North County's Michawn Yuvienco, 4-3.

Old Mill had two more champs in No. 5 Chris Combs (112, 28-1, 19 pins) and No. 4 Gary Serago (135, 21-3).

Combs defended his title by overcoming a second-period 6-3 deficit for an 8-7 decision over Meade's Matt Pandullo (22-5). Pandullo, who yielded the decisive escape with 1: 25 left, has never beaten Combs, including several junior-league encounters. TC Serago, a region runner-up last year, secured a 3-1 victory over Annapolis' Andrew Hemminger (20-5), who was runner-up for the second straight year.

Northeast had three champs in Bobby Couch (103, 25-2), Tyrone Eaton (145, 21-1) and Tony Serio (189, 20-2).

Couch, who won a 2-0 title bout over Southern's Nick Alley (25-2), had reached the finals on a 4-3 decision over Chesapeake's Matt McNees. Alley had reversed an earlier loss with his 8-5 semifinal decision of Annapolis' Dan Hemminger (21-3).

Eaton scored eight takedowns in a 17-7 rout of Southern's Phil Glenn. A runner-up last year, Eaton's lone loss is to Haertel by 3-2. Serio took a 6-3 victory from Broadneck's Jesse Young (19-6).

Annapolis heavyweight Nate Brooks (18-3), a 6-foot-4, 277-pounder, scored his 12th pin to beat Old Mill's 6-foot, 277-pound Dane Johnson (14 pins). Johnson, an earlier 2-1 overtime loser to Brooks, reached the finals by avenging losses to Severna Park's Ron Howard and North County's Tony Chase.

Old Mill's 189-pound Ben Hines, who had regular-season victories over Young and Serio, suffered a muscle bruise in his chest during his 8-6 quarterfinal victory over Arundel's Jeff Blachly. Hines forfeited his semifinal match to Serio, then pinned his way to a fourth-place finish.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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