1996-97 All-Baltimore City/County wrestling teams

March 11, 1997|By Lem Satterfield

Coaches of the Year

Henry Franklin, Calvert Hall: Calvert Hall was a threat to beat anyone it faced. Third-year coach Franklin, 27, and assistants Todd Crandell, Gary Baker and Dane Rianhard, helped the No. 8 Cardinals (22-7) set a state record in dual-meet wins. Calvert Hall was 0-10 before Franklin took over, but was 11-8 and 14-8 the next two seasons. The Cardinals' four finalists -- all runners-up -- at the private school states were an area-best. Calvert Hall was fourth at MIAAs, fifth at the states and eighth at the National Preps -- all school bests -- and had a tournament win over Baltimore County champ Eastern Tech. The Cardinals nearly knocked off Damascus (ranked No. 10 in the state) and Curley (ranked No. 9) in losses by six and one point, respectively.

Troy Stevenson, Patterson: Second-year coach Stevenson, 24, had no assistants, but often received counsel from his father Mel, a former wrestler for John Lowe at Milford Mill. Yet he dethroned city power Southwestern with an incredible 241 points at the city meet. "When I interviewed him for the job, I could tell he was committed. He had this 10-foot stare in a 5-foot room," said athletic director Roger Wrenn. "He has this Pied Piper quality about him, and the kids love him and follow him. He loves his sport and he knows his sport." A marginal wrestler while at Woodlawn High, Stevenson's efforts produced the Clippers' first region champ in heavyweight Claude Marrow -- a three-time city champ -- and their first state place-winner in city champ Leonard Bridgeforth (160-171), who was fourth at the states and second at the regions. First-year wrestler Richard Johnson (140, 22-4), a freshman, was a city runner-up and third at the regions where Patterson (14-1) finished fourth out of 22 teams.

Wrestler of the Year

Steve Kessler, Owings Mills: Kessler, ranked No. 1 in the state since his freshman season, and No. 3 nationally by USA Wrestling, went 148-0, becoming the state's second four-time state champ and the first to go unbeaten. The three-time All-Metro has 73 pins and 46 technical falls for his career, and likely will attend Blair Academy Prep school in Blairstown, N.J., which is ranked No. 1 in the nation. There, he'll try to improve his grades before moving on to the college ranks.

First team at a glance

Will Filbert, McDonogh, Jr., 103 pounds (38-0): Ranked No. 1 in the state the entire season, Filbert won his second straight MIAA and private schools state titles and notched his 18th pin of the season to win the title at the National Preps tournament.

Chris Hanlon, Calvert Hall, Jr., 112 pounds (48-7): Hanlon, ranked No. 3, pinned 26 opponents, was MIAA champ, runner-up at the states and third at the National Preps Tournament. Hanlon easily could have wrestled at 103, but went at 112 against bigger

opponents most of the season as a sacrifice for the team.

Demetrios Gourgoulianis, Eastern Tech, Jr., 119 pounds (36-3): Gourgoulianis helped his team to dethrone Owings Mills for the county title, placing first at counties and regions and third at states.

Tommy Free, Sparrows Point, Sr., 125 pounds (31-1): Free, ranked No. 2 in the state, pinned 23 opponents en route to winning his fourth county title -- he won the Harford County version as an Edgewood freshman -- his fourth region title and his second state title. Free, who also has placed second and fifth at the states, was not scored upon at this year's state meet. His career record is 122-4 with 84 pins and he carries a 3.2 GPA with a 1,410 Scholastic Assessment Test score.

Chuck Jones, Kenwood, Sr., 130 pounds (32-2): Jones, ranked No. 2 in the state, was county and region champ and state runner-up -- for the second straight season. Jones, who carries a 3.2 GPA and scored 1,070 on his SAT, pinned 23 opponents and had a win over Free.

Rob Johns, Calvert Hall, Jr., 130 pounds (51-3): Johns, ranked No. 3 in the state, was MIAA champ for the second straight season, and also was a state runner-up for the second time in his career. Johns finished third at the National Preps Tournament, and his 33 pins are a single-season school record.

Mike Boettcher, Curley, Jr., 135 pounds (37-6): Boettcher, ranked No. 2 in the state, is the Friars' first two-time state champ and was runner-up at this year's MIAAs after being first last year. Boettcher, who was fifth at the National Preps Tournament, is 2-1 against McDonogh's No. 3 Joe Smith. Boettcher holds the school-records for career wins (94) and reversals (66), ranks second in career takedowns (149) and third in career pins (45).

Erik Schafer, Mount St. Joseph, Sr., 140 pounds (37-6): Schafer, ranked No. 3 in the state, pinned 16 opponents, was third at states, and won the MIAA title over Boys' Latin's Gary Colbert. Schafer, who was second at the states twice before this season, pinned Colbert en route to a third-place finish at the National Preps Tournament.

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