1996-97 Harford County wrestling previews

December 14, 1997|By Lem Satterfield and Mark Hoeflich

Aberdeen Eagles

1996-97 record: 16-3.

Coach: Gene Blizzard

Top wrestlers: James Axel, 130, Sr.; Matt Kunkel, 189, Jr.; John Ishibashi, 145, Jr.; Tom Guerrera, 125, So.; Randall Overstreet, 119, So.

Outlook: Gone to retirement is Dick Slutzky (289-42-1 career), whose 33-year dynasty included 19 county titles -- the last 14 straight. Blizzard, formerly of Bel Air High, takes over after three years as Slutzky's assistant. There were some positives in Aberdeen's season-opening loss to North East of Cecil County. Two-time county and region champ Axel (32-2 record) edged North East's Ricky Smith (third in states), and Ishibashi (second in county, fourth in region) lost by a point to North East's state runner-up, Eric Lonabaugh.

Bel Air Bobcats

1996-97 record: 8-6.

Coach: Craig Reddish

Top wrestlers: Jeremiah Albright, Hwt., Sr.; Rob Abranowski, 130, Sr.; Chris Bland, 112, So., Carlow Buendia, 171, Sr.; Justin Knight, 154, Sr.; Pat Rose, 119, Jr.; Brad Stone, 103, Sr.; Jon Wainwright, 160, So.

Outlook: Stone, 28-3 and a regional champion a year ago, and Albright, ranked fourth in the state, are the bookends to a solid Bobcats squad. The steady improvement of Rose and Wainwright will benefit the Bobcats but overall depth will be the difference. Reddish, in his fifth season, also has a full JV team off which to feed.

C. Milton Wright Mustangs

1996-97 record: 2-11.

Coach: Gene Blizzard

Top wrestlers: Sam Brown, 140, Sr.; John Harmon, Hwt., Sr.; John Thornton, 160, Jr.; Matt Lehto, 135, Jr.; Jake Still, 119, So.; Ray Class, 112, So.; Jeff Tapino, 103, So.

Outlook: Thornton and Harmon are the only returning place-winners. Thornton was third in the county, fourth in the region and sixth at states, and Harmon was fourth in the county. But the Mustangs started well, beating Kenwood in a match where Thornton lost only by a point to region champ Matt Myrick up at 171.

Edgewood Rams

1996-97 record: 6-8.

Coach: Darren McKeno

Top wrestlers: Luis Emmanuelli, 130, Sr.; John Lee, 125, Sr.; Nana Lohmann, Hwt, Sr.; Greg O'Donnell, 189, Jr.; Pam Loss, 112, Jr.

Outlook: Being one of the youngest and most unproven teams in the county, the Rams will rely more on individual efforts, especially from Emmanuelli, who was fifth in the region a year ago. McKeno must forfeit four weight classes and will go with several freshmen. Loss is the school's first-ever female wrestler, who as the 14th seed won one of three matches at the North East tournament last weekend.

Fallston Cougars

1996-97 record: 9-5

Coach: Andy Amasia

Top wrestlers: Mike Strobel, 119, Sr.; Chad Petry, 140, Sr.; Mike Neary, 152, Sr.; Joe Kupina, 171, Sr.; Kip Fields, 112, So.; J.D. Raley, 145-152, Jr.; Dave Williamson, 135, Jr.; Ben Imhoff, 130, Jr.; Al Petrelli, 145, Jr.; J.C. Croft, 103, Fr.

Outlook: Strobel and Imhoff were county champs, and Petry was a runner-up. Strobel (29-8) was third in the region, and Raley and Williamson bring valuable recreation and JV experience to a program that got off to a promising start with a win over region champ Rising Sun.

Harford Tech Cobras

1996-97 record: 7-6-1.

Coach: Gary Siler

Top wrestlers: Paul Boniface, 103, Sr.; Chris Fielder, 189, Jr.; Buddy Knight, 140, Sr.; Tony Martinelli, 135, Jr.; K.C. McQuiston, 145. Sr.

Outlook: The Cobras were able to build a full squad, but still face a challenging season because several key performers did not return this season. The Cobras will lean on seniors Boniface and McQuiston.

Havre de Grace Warriors

1996-97 record: 1-11.

Coach: Greg Long

Top wrestlers: Mike Lambert, 189, Sr.; Josh Foy, 160, Jr.; John Gibson, Hwt., Jr.; Brian Rogers, 145, Jr.; Eric Johnson, 140, Jr.; Jeff Hilldebrand, 135, Jr.

Outlook: After struggling last season, the Warriors hope last weekend's Patapsco tournament means a turnaround. Lambert (third in county), Foy (third in county) and Johnson were second at Patapsco. "We hopefully can send four or five guys to the regionals," Long said.

Joppatowne Mariners

1996-97 record: 3-14.

Coach: Danny Jones

Top wrestlers: Doug Mule, 130, Sr.; Ray Daugherty, 135, Jr.; Larry Shepard, 152, Sr.

Outlook: The Mariners lost county and region champ Tony Zeller (sixth at states) to a knee injury, but have 28 wrestlers who will fill all the weight classes.

John Carroll Patriots

1996-97 record: 1-11.

Coach: Chris Daigle

Top wrestlers: Tim Boyd, 130, Jr.; Sean Dunsberger, Sr., Nate Albright, 152, Jr., Josh Seufert, 119, So.; Nick Perry, 189, Fr.

Outlook: Daigle, a former state champ at Westminster in 1974, brings a lot of knowledge to his first season at John Carroll. The Patriots have several wrestlers out, and Perry was runner-up in the season-opening Curley Invitational.

North Harford Hawks

1996-97 record: 10-3.

Coach: Fred Holtz

Top wrestlers: Reuben Kraft, 189, Sr.; Jason Bertuzzi, 145, Sr.; Jason Owings, 135, Sr.; John Dillard, 140, Sr.; David Conrad, 125, Jr.; Charlie Angelilli, 130, So.; Daniel Hoeck, 119, So.; Anthony Augustino, 112, So.

Outlook: Dillard (first in county), Conrad (third), Kraft (third), Bertuzzi (fourth county, third region) and Owings (fourth region) should be the leaders in a program that had a turnout of 26 wrestlers.

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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