Healed Franklin seeks a rarity: small, then large-school titles

But state champs lie in each Indian's weight class

State wrestling preview

High Schools

March 03, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Scott Delpo's seventh-ranked Franklin squad has overcome its share of challenges, entering this weekend's Class 4A-3A state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College.

All but four wrestlers have missed time due to injury or illness. Two others, one a returning county champ, were lost to preseason injuries. Another heavily-counted-on teammate was declared academically ineligible before the county tournament.

In addition, Delpo's Indians, called "gamers" by South Carroll coach Pete Olson, have endured a schedule that has included Cecil County power Rising Sun and state-tournament caliber competition at Hammond and defending Class 4A-3A champ Damascus.

The tournament begins today and ends tomorrow at Western Maryland College. And should Franklin, winner of last season's Class 2A-1A state tournament, overcome the odds by taking the 4A-3A crown, it would the first Maryland program to win both classifications back-to-back.

"I'm happy with how the kids persevered, coming back to win counties [Baltimore County] after not winning it last year," said Delpo, 30, a Montgomery County native in his fifth year at Franklin.

Franklin is sending defending state champs Matt Schuster (119) and Sam Mays (160); Sam's twin, Luke (152); Evan Zipper (112); Stan Wagner (125) and Kevin Hebbel (135). Each of Franklin's wrestlers, only one of whom is a senior, has a defending state champ in his weight class.

If Schuster reaches the semifinals, he'll likely meet Gaithersburg's Mark Anderson, who pinned him last winter. A win would earn a berth against defending champ, Jeff Eveleth, of Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, or River Hill's Ryan Green, who has twice beaten Schuster.

Anderson, who edged Green in overtime earlier this eason, was runner-up to Eveleth last winter.

Sam Mays has two-time state champ Tony Howard, of Magruder, in his class. But before even considering Howard, he'd have to get past quarterfinal opponent Seth Staley (North Hagerstown), a state champ two years ago, then Chesapeake's John Mosca, who earlier defeated Staley.

Wagner is 0-2 vs. River Hill's two-time champ, Brandon Lauer, and Luke Mays (152) is 0-1 vs. Sherwood's two-time champ, Frank Edwards. Zipper and Hebbel are on the same side of the brackets as defending champs Marc Heincelman (Magruder) and Tim Lowe (Einstein), respectively.

Anne Arundel County and 4A-3A East region champ Old Mill, ranked No. 2 in The Sun, and 4A-3A West region king North Hagerstown have qualified the most wrestlers with nine each.

Howard County's River Hill Hawks and the Carroll County's South Carroll Cavaliers, ranked Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, finished first and second in the 4A-3A North region; each has eight qualifiers.

South region winner Northern-Calvert has region champ Ryan Foreman (145) among six qualifiers.

Old Mill edged River Hill, 30-28, for its second state duals crown and Anne Arundel's state-leading third overall two weeks ago. This weekend, Old Mill goes after Anne Arundel's state-leading 13th state tournament title. Old Mill has won a state-record six titles, including an unprecedented five straight through 1993.

The 3A-4A West region, however, has been dominant as of late. It has produced three state championship teams, two of them from Damascus, since 1995-96. The region boasts four returning state champs, in addition to state runner-up T. J. Salb (145), of Damascus, and teammate Chase York (112, third at states).

Owings Mills' Jason Summerlin (171) and Overlea's Chaudhry Afzal (145) each will lead their respective squads against 2A-1A competition.

Patterson's region champ, Caleb Moore (140), competing in the 3A-4A tournament, and Forest Park's region runner-up, Arthur Minor (171), in 1A-2A, are among the 17 tournament-bound wrestlers trying to become only the city's second state champion. Last winter, Poly's Dennis Scott (heavyweight) was first.

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