1997-98 All-Carroll County wrestling team

March 12, 1998|By John W. Stewart

Wrestler of the year

Matt Yinger, Francis Scott Key, Sr.: Joining his brother Zac (twice) as a state champion, the 135-pounder was one of eight in the tournament to complete a perfect season (28-0), and he did it despite missing the first two weeks with a shoulder injury, one that continued to nag him throughout the season. His first outing was against Westminster, and he defeated the Owls' Tim Sharkey in their only meeting, 3-0. Later, he won his fourth straight Key tournament title and placed first at the Hammond tournament. Before the state tournament, he had the highest state ranking of any Carroll wrestler, second behind Robby Johns, of Calvert Hall. At the state meet, he sailed through virtually unchallenged, winning by a major decision, 18-4; an 8-2 decision, and successive pins at 5: 09 and 3: 06.

Coach of the year

Bryan Wetzel, North Carroll: In his fourth year as head coach after succeeding the legendary Dick Bauerlein, Wetzel saw the program, led by seniors Adam Boog and Ben Fleming, return dividends. North Carroll was one of only three schools (with Class 1A-2A Rising Sun and Class 3A-4A Sherwood) with multiple winners (Fran Jackson at 103 and Boog at 171). This season, he scheduled tough tournaments, such as ones at McDonogh and Arundel, and dual meets with two strong Anne Arundel schools, Northeast and Old Mill. In early January, the Panthers were blown out by Old Mill, 67-9, but Wetzel brought his club right back, beating Westminster and Francis Scott Key. The team finished 10-4, and shared the regular-season county championship with South Carroll and Westminster. A central Pennsylvania native, Wetzel has been active in wrestling since he was 5. He wrestled at Slippery Rock University, and has been a teacher at North Carroll the last six years. Of following Bauerlein, he said, "I didn't put any pressure on myself. Those are big shoes to fill, and you go out and do the best you can. You count on your top wrestlers, but you need the others because it takes 13. After Old Mill, to the end of the regular season, I did not see us wrestle poorly."

The first team

103 -- Fran Jackson, North Carroll, Fr.: Backed by a solid Junior League history, he made an immediate varsity impact. He was one of five county champs to add a regional title, and one of three to earn a state crown. Additionally, he joined North Carroll's Danny Thomas (1984) as the only county freshman to win a state title, and last week, he was the only freshman to win a state second at the Meade tournament. Included among his wins in a 32-2 season (18 pins) were two of the four losses inflicted on South Carroll freshman Dan Patterson (30-6, 18 pins) ahead of the state tournament.

112 -- Chris Reiter, Westminster, Jr.: The class of the county at this weight, he was the only one of the regulars with a winning record. A two-time county champion, he finished 23-13, with two of the losses to Fallston senior Mike Strobel, including the region final. He was 0-1 in the state tournament.

119 -- Bobby Biden, Westminster, Sr.: Denied a four-year sweep of county/region championships in the region final, he tried to come back in the state tournament (0-2) despite being hampered by an ear injury. For the year, he was 32-5, with 15

pins. His only pre-state losses were to Rich Reesey (Dundalk) in the region final, and in the semifinals of the season-opening Annapolis tournament, where he placed third. He was first at the Damascus and North Hagerstown tournaments.

125 -- Jim Reiter, Westminster, Sr.: A county champion for the second time (also 1996), he lost to Matt Bulloch of Dulaney (third in the state) at the regional, and was 0-1 at the state tournament to end 30-9. In an earlier tournament, he was third at North Hagerstown.

125 -- Clint Day, Francis Scott Key, Jr.: He reached the state semifinals, then split a pair of consolation matches, finishing fifth (29-8). During the season, he split a pair of matches wit Reiter, and in tournaments, he was third at Annapolis at 125, and first at Key at 130. He was a county and regional runner-up.

130 -- Kyle Burger, Westminster, Jr.: A two-time county champion, he finished second in the region to Aberdeen's unbeaten James Axel, and gained the state semifinals. He eventually placed fourth (35-6 for the year), again losing to Axel, this time 7-5, in overtime. He won the Damascus tournament and placed third at North Hagerstown.

135 -- Tim Sharkey, Westminster, Sr.: Although wrestling mostly at 135, he moved up at the county tournament and took the 140-pound championship. He was a regional runner-up for the second straight year and went out of the state tournament in the first round after getting fifth a year ago. At the regional, he lost to Parkville's Dave Heath, who went on to win a state title and finish the year undefeated.

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