Lauer finishes fifth in national tournament

River Hill standout loses semifinal to foe from Okla.

High Schools

March 27, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Three-time All-Metro Brandon Lauer, The Sun's two-time All-Metro Wrestler of the Year from River Hill High, defeated Clinton Hicks of New Jersey, 6-1, to earn fifth place at 119 pounds in the National High Schools' tournament at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Ranked No. 8 by the National High School Coaches' Association, Lauer, bound for West Virginia on a wrestling scholarship, earned High School All-America honors by finishing in the top eight of his 57-man bracket.

Northeast heavyweight James Taylor went 4-2, coming within one bout of earning All-America honors. Tony Howard of Olney and Montgomery County's Magruder High finished fourth at 160 pounds, going 5-2 in the tournament. Howard lost, 3-1, to Matthew Ellis of Washington.

Lauer had won four bouts to reach yesterday's semifinals, defeating Nebraska's state runner-up, Chris Agustyn, 16-6; California's Jarrod Rothman, 6-3; Indiana's Rene Hernandez, 6-5; and Florida's three-time state champ, Peter Derstine, 9-7.

Lauer, who could not be reached to comment yesterday, lost his semifinal bout to Oklahoma's eighth-ranked Derek Stevens, whose double-overtime escape secured a 4-3 win. In the title match, Stevens was beaten by Missouri's sixth-ranked Dustin Brewer, 13-2. Stevens is ranked eighth at 125 pounds.

Brewer (153-2) and Stevens were undefeated entering the bout.

"Brandon rode Stevens for the first 16 seconds before they got to their feet. Lauer had one of Stevens' legs up in the air, but the referee blew the whistle, called a stalemate from the standing position, which is unusual," said Haswell Franklin, chairman of the Maryland State Wrestling Association, which sponsors state wrestlers to the event.

"Back on the mat, they're in the referee's position and Lauer gets cautioned twice for two false starts. A third would have cost Brandon a point and the match," Franklin said. "So on the next start, Brandon was cautious and the guy got out."

The loss dropped Lauer into the consolation semifinal, where he again faced Hernandez, this time, losing in overtime. Hernandez countered Lauer's takedown attempt at mat's edge and wound up on top for a 5-3 overtime decision.

"Brandon had Hernandez' leg up in the air and seemed to take him down for the winning takedown," Franklin said. "But the guy rotated his hips and came out on top. Brandon, to his credit, came back and destroyed the guy for fifth place."

Lauer became Maryland's fourth wrestler to go unbeaten for his career at 111-0 as a River Hill 125-pounder.

Victories in the event do not officially count toward Lauer's record, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, but as a high school wrestler, Lauer had won 117 bouts without a loss entering the semifinals. Lauer's was the only career unbeaten streak among wrestlers in the tournament, in which he was 6-2 overall.

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