Lignelli, O'Conner pin down titles Glenelg places 3rd behind Lackey, Owings Mills

Class 1A-2A wrestling

March 09, 1997|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When being congratulated on his team's first-place standing after Friday's initial day of competition at the state wrestling tournament, Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker gave a half-hearted smile.

"It may just be for a day," said Pritzker.

He was right.

Lackey showed the value of success in the consolation rounds. The Chargers did not land anyone in the championship round, but had several do well in the consolations and beat Owings Mills for the Class 1A-2A state title last night at Western Maryland College.

The Lackey victory broke a two-year Owings Mills hold on the title. Lackey also won the state crown -- beating Owings Mills -- in the dual-meet tournament two weeks ago.

The Chargers finished with 99.5 points, and Owings Mills' 82 points gave it second place. Glenelg took third with 79.5 points with Hammond fourth seven points behind the Gladiators.

Jeremy Lignelli (160 pounds) and Jim O'Connor (135) sparked Glenelg's third-place finish. Lignelli (36-1) repeated as state champion with his 17-2 technical fall over Cody Brenneman of Northern.

"It's a great way to end the season," said Lignelli. "I was pumped for it, and I was ready for action."

O'Connor (32-0) had little trouble with Eric Lonabaugh of North East-Cecil, scoring a 13-4 decision to complete his perfect season.

Team champion Lackey got no one in the semifinals and could do no better than Steve Gilligan's third-place finish at 160. But the Chargers put four wrestlers in the consolation finals plus another in the fifth-sixth final -- and the points added up.

The big story for Owings Mills was the state title of Steve Kessler. The 152-pound senior became the first wrestler in state history to win four state titles while not losing a match.

Kessler's 6-2 victory over Nathan Rickman from Southern of Garrett County let him finish the season 39-0 and his Owings Mills career at 148-0.

"I knew that I was going to win," said Kessler. "I'm just glad all the pressure's off."

Rickman made Kessler work. The Owings Mills wrestler, weakened by an intestinal virus, held a 2-0 lead after one and stretched it to 4-0 after a second-period stalling point and an escape.

L Kessler then took control in the third, extending it to 6-1.

Ari Dolid (140, 36-3) was the other Owings Mills wrestler to make the final, but he lost a tough 5-1 decision to Wheaton's Scott Munsey.

Dolid took a 1-0 lead against last year's state champion at 135. But Munsey took a one-point the lead late in the second period, and Dolid had to let him up and give up a point while going for a takedown in the third. He couldn't get it, and Munsey took him down for the 5-1 final.

Drew Bowers (135) and heavyweight Anthony Smith were the only other Owings Mills wrestlers to make the consolation final.

Smith scored a 5-4 overtime victory over Josue Leon of Lackey while Jeremy Fuss of Catoctin blanked Bowers, 9-0, in their match.

Pritzker would have liked another state title, but he was very pleased with his team's effort.

"I'm happy with [second place]," said Pritzker. "When you win the states four times, people expect you to win. Coming in second is pretty good, and I'm proud of the team."

Sparrows Point put two wrestlers in the finals and got championships from both. Mike Young (32-3) repeated at 130 by outlasting John Nguyen of Oakland Mills, 1-0.

Tom Free (125) won his second state crown in three years, rolling to a 15-0 technical fall over Darren Hollingsworth of North Caroline.

Free (35-1 this year, 122-4 overall) had won the state title two years ago before sliding to fifth last year. He also took second as a freshman and wanted to get back to the top.

"Last year, I had the worst day of his life," said Free, who didn't allow a point in the tournament. 'I just went out there all pumped up tonight."

Heavyweight Greg Forbes (34-0) of Milford Mill was the other repeat champion. Forbes, the winner at 189 last year, battled Brian Neal of Howard and stayed in control most of the time en route to a 7-5 victory.

Aberdeen's James Axel (119) got pinned by Rodney Stine of Mardela at 1: 42, and Premeill Pettway from Central topped Terry Lawson of Overlea, 18-5 at 171.

Nick Alley (103, 30-2) from Southern of Anne Arundel and Tyrone Eaton (145, 27-1) of Northeast-AA were the big local winners. Alley pinned Kevin Stine of Mardela at 1: 56 while Eaton topped Zane Harshman from Middletown, 10-4.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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