Loaded Old Mill and Chesapeake hunt for a state title at W. Md.

9 Patriots hope to better last year's 5th-place finish

State wrestling preview

High Schools

March 03, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

For the second straight year, Old Mill has a busload heading up to Western Maryland College for this weekend's Class 4A-3A state tournament, once again sending nine wrestlers as repeat East region champs.

The No. 2-ranked Patriots, who already captured the dual-meet state title, were overwhelming at last weekend's region meet, beating runner-up Chesapeake by 50 points.

And with region champs Adam DeCosmo (130 pounds), Dave Hicks (145) and Antoine Cooksey (171) leading, the Patriots are looking to make up for their disappointing fifth-place finish at states a year ago.

Anne Arundel county champs Dave Kim (25-2 at heavyweight) and Nick Liston (23-6 at 140) -- both region runner-ups -- also will be counted on to produce points.

Preliminaries for the 4A-3A and 2A-1A are to start at 2: 30 p.m. The tournament's first day will continue through to the quarterfinals. Action will pick up at 10 a.m. tomorrow, with finals scheduled for about 5 p.m.

"Going in, we wanted to bring numbers and some No. 1 seeds. We have three No. 1 seeds and two No. 2s -- some nice kids," Old Mill coach Vern Hines said following last weekend's region win.

Hines, in his second season, sees a number of factors that should bring better results at this year's state tournament. He said this year's team brings a stronger work ethic and less arrogance, compared to last year's group. And county competition was stronger this season. Plus, his Panthers come in healthy.

"Hopefully, we'll be more prepared, because we're more experienced. Having been there, we understand the situation better. If everybody goes in and does [his]job, and no one quits on us, we'll be OK," said Hicks, following his solid 11-1 major decision over South River's Brian King at last weekend's region tournament.

Chesapeake, relying onquality over quantity, could make a serious run at the team crown with five standouts -- Jeff and Matt Eveleth, John Mosca, Melvin Guthrie and Steve Yaruta.

Those five won region titles last weekend and are a combined 142-6 on the season. Aside from Yaruta, a freshman 103-pounder, all have extensive experience at states.

Jeff Eveleth, a senior 119-pounder, won a state title last year, and brother Matt, a sophomore 112-pounder, was a state runner-up as a freshman. Both are undefeated at 29-0 this season. Mosca is 30-1 at 160, and Guthrie 28-1 at 189.

"We definitely have an opportunity, and everyone is fired up. It's my senior year, and we have five, fine, solid guys going. Everybody has to be on top of things, ready to go," said the older Eveleth.

Broadneck, third in the region, is sending six wrestlers, led by region champs Ricky Boulay (28-2 at 125) and Jordan Rathlev (21-8 at 152).

Arundel has a region champ in 135-pounder Mike Money, who goes in 26-3 after stopping top-seed Gary Barclay of Lake Clifton last weekend with a 14-8 decision.

And don't forget about Northeast senior heavyweight Rodney Jones, who surprised Old Mill's Kim with a decisive 11-1 major decision last weekend, having lost to him the week before at the county tournament.

Jones, 14-1 after being inserted into the starting lineup late in the season after James Taylor was ruled ineligible, comes into the weekend oozing with confidence.

Joining Old Mill and Chesapeake in the hunt for the team title is River Hill, which captured the North region and has eight wrestlers headed to states.

The Hawks, from Howard County, had three region champs and three runners-up last weekend, led by two-time state Brandon Lauer, who will try to close out his high school career undefeated. The senior standout is 34-0 on the season and 107-0 for his career.

In the dual-meet state championships on Feb. 5, Old Mill came from behind to edge River Hill in the final, getting pins from 189-pounder Adam Dayton and Kim to score a 30-28 win.

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