Old Mill rolls again in region, looks to reverse state fortunes

Patriots again qualify nine, vow to improve on 5th spot

4A-3A wrestling

February 27, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The similarities are uncanny.

For a second straight year, Old Mill was the class of the Class 4A-3A East Region, winning by a decisive, 177-127 margin over second-place Chesapeake yesterday.

And for a second straight year, the No. 2-ranked Patriots (17-0) will bring the majority of their team -- again qualifying nine wrestlers -- to next weekend's state championships at Western Maryland College.

The question: What happens next?

Last season, the Patriots had three top seeds fall on the first day at states and finished a disappointing fifth as a team.

That's something they don't want to repeat.

"Every year, it seems like we go up there and bomb out," said 130-pound junior Adam DeCosmo, a state runner-up last year who won his first region title yesterday with a second-period pin of Arundel's Ryan Lowder.

"Everyone has to go in and do their job. We wanted to make a statement that Old Mill has a job to do. We're on a mission. We want to bring back the tradition and we're out to win a state title."

Seniors Dave Hicks (145) and Antoine Cooksey (171) also won region titles for the Patriots, who won't have to look far for some of their toughest competition next week.

Chesapeake started out the season with a Fab Four -- Matt and Jeff Eveleth, John Mosca and Melvin Guthrie -- and has since added a star in freshman Steve Yaruta, who started a familiar trend yesterday by winning the 103-pound class.

Just as in last weekend's county championship, the Cougars swept the first three weight classes, with Matt Eveleth (112) and older brother Jeff (119) following Yaruta's lead. Mosca (160) and Guthrie (189) gave them five region titles yesterday.

The five are a combined 142-6 for the season, with the Eveleths both 29-0 to lead the way. Can Chesapeake win the state title sending five wrestlers?

The bout of yesterday's tournament was Cooksey's third-period pin of Lake Clifton's Charles Faulkner, who nearly had a pin himself in the second period before Cooksey rallied.

And the surprise of the night was without question at heavyweight, where Northeast's Rodney Jones stunned Old Mill's Dave Kim with an 11-1 major decision. Kim came away with a 4-3 decision against Jones in the county semifinals last weekend.

"This was my chance to shine," said Jones, who moved into the starting lineup when James Taylor was ruled ineligible earlier this month.

"It was all mental. I got a little more aggressive and played a little smarter game."

In taking third with 108.5 points, Broadneck had its typical steady performance. The Bruins will send six wrestlers to states, with Ricky Boulay (125) and Jordan Rathlev (152) going as region champs.

After losing the county title to Severna Park's Dan Fitzgerald last week, Boulay avenged the setback with a tightly-contested, 7-5 decision to win his first region title.

In the closing seconds of the third period, Fitzgerald had Boulay in a headlock, but couldn't turn him over to get the two points.

North Region

Ryan Green overcame a seven-point deficit on two near-fall points with five seconds remaining in an 11-9 victory over Franklin's Matt Schuster at 119 pounds, helping River Hill dethrone regional tournament champ South Carroll, 154.5-to -151.5, at Dundalk.

Green (29-3), who had scored a 4-0 win over defending state champ Schuster earlier this season, was joined on the victory podium by teammates Brandon Lauer (125), a two-time state champ, and Mike Romano (135), with Derek Dauberman (130), Jason Fawcett (171) and Scott Cannon (heavyweight) finishing second.

Danny Allen (112) and Jesse Fawcett (189) pinned their way to third place as the Howard County champion Hawks qualified eight wrestlers for next weekend's Class 4A-3A state tournament at Western Maryland College.

Lauer improved to 34-0 (107-0 for his career) with an 8-5 win over Franklin's Stan Wagner (30-3). Lauer nearly pinned Wagner with a first-period headlock, but was taken down to his back in the closing seconds of their bout. Lauer had defeated Wagner, 13-5, earlier this season.

Lauer's championship plaque was presented by Olympic silver medalist Zeke Jones, the assistant coach at West Virginia, which has signed Lauer to a scholarship.

"Brandon made a mistake, and it cost him five points," said coach Earl Lauer, whose son has 23 pins. "It's only the second time he's been on his back."

Down, 7-0, after being bearhugged to his back early on, Green made it 7-all entering the third period off a two-point, bar-arm tilt in the final 17 seconds of the second.

"I knew, from our first match, the tilts were there. No one ever said it, but I knew people thought my beating him was a fluke," said Green, a sophomore, who won the match with a "ball-and-chain to a half-nelson."

Romano (31-4) won, 2-1, over Dulaney's Mike Winters (30-4), who was fourth at states last season. Jason Fawcett (32-2) lost, 2-1, to Bel Air's Jon Wainwright (32-1), who escaped in the final seven seconds.

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