1997-98 All-Howard County wrestling teams

March 12, 1998|By Rick Belz

Wrestler of the Year

Brandon Lauer, River Hill, Sophomore, 103: In his first high school season, Lauer won state, region and county titles, and went 34-0 with 17 pins and five tech falls. He won his state title the hard way, defeating the second, third and fourth place finishers who had a combined total of 11 losses this season -- six of them to Lauer. At states, he defeated runner-up Eric Kuczinsky, of Williamsport, 19-7; third-place finisher John Narlis, of Towson, 10-6; and fourth-place finisher Kevin Stine, of Mardella, 13-0. He's highly knowledgeable and super-aggressive. He won tournament titles at Bowie, Wicomico and Catonsville.

Coach of the Year

Bill Smith, Hammond: Smith's Golden Bears pulled off something no other county team ever has. They won the county, region and state dual-meet and tournament championships. It was their first state tournament championship and first one for a county team since 1986. And they won their second regional tournament title. They won their fifth county tournament in six seasons, third straight, and set county tournament records for most points (254) and most wrestlers in the finals (10). They went unbeaten in dual meets at 18-0. They completed a third straight unbeaten county dual-meet season. They won their second state dual-meet title in three seasons. The team started two sophomores, four juniors and seven seniors. Smith has coached 12 years at Hammond. During the past 11 seasons, the Golden Bears are 122-33-2. He instituted a new policy this season whereby his wrestlers wore ties and sat in the front of their classes four days a week. "It was for team unity and to improve the image of the wrestling team," Smith said. "I wanted to see who wanted to be dedicated to what we were trying to do. Most of the kids liked it." Although one of his best wrestlers, a 30-plus winner the year before, quit because of the policy, Smith called it "very successful."

The first team

Adam Clark, Hammond, Senior, 160: He won the county championship after finishing as runner-up his junior season. He was regional runner-up this season. His record was 31-8 with 19 pins.

Randy Curtin, Hammond, Senior, 171: A hand injury and sprained ankle sidelined him six weeks, but, finally, he recovered to win the county title in an upset of Oakland Mills' Quentin Milroe. Then Curtin was third at regionals despite an unlucky seeding. Curtin finished 21-6 with five pins. He was county runner-up his junior season.

Derek Dauberman, River Hill, Jr., 112: All four of his losses were to the same wrestler, Hammond's Vaymond Dennis, the Class 1A-2A state champion. A county champ as a sophomore, Dauberman finished second in the county, region and state this season. His record was 31-4 with 18 pins.

Vaymond Dennis, Hammond, Jr., 112: Only the third Golden Bear to win a state title and the first underclassman, he added county and regional titles. He was 4-0 against River Hill's Derek Dauberman, the only one to beat Dauberman. Dennis' record of 39-5 established a school single-season victory mark. He has won two county titles in three seasons, finishing second last season. "Vaymond constantly faced tough competition and never backed down," said Smith. "He lost two matches but was not intimidated at the Beast of the East."

Danny Embrey, Hammond, Jr., 135: Embrey won the county championship after finishing third a year ago. He also won the regional title. His 32-10 record included nine pins and nine major decisions.

Jason Frizzelle, Oakland Mills, Jr., Hwt.: Frizzelle won county and regional titles and finished fourth in the state. He defeated state runner-up Matt Nelson of Hammond three times in memorable matches, and lost to eventual state champ, Ben Brand, in the state semifinals, 3-2. Frizzelle's record was 27-6.

Josh Law, Hammond, Sr., 140: After winning the county title at 140 pounds, the first-year varsity wrestler competed at 145 pounds and finished sixth at regionals. His record was 24-11.

Quentin Milroe, Oakland Mills, Sr., 171: He finished second in the county championships but came back to win the region title; he finished fourth in the state. He was 34-5 and led the county with 28 pins.

Matt Nelson, Hammond, Jr., Hwt.: He finished second at the county, region and state tournaments, losing the county and region to Jay Frizzelle and the state to Ben Brand. His personal highlight was winning the Hammond tournament. He was 32-7.

Jimmy O'Connor, Glenelg, Sr., 145: He won his second straight state and regional titles, and third straight county championship. His 33-1 record gave him a 112-18 career mark and two-year mark of 65-1. He had 19 tech falls. His junior year, he went unbeaten and was co-Wrestler of the Year. O'Connor joins former teammate Jeremy Lignelli as a two-time state champ and will wrestle at either Duke or James Madison next season.

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