All-star search moves to county

Among group of 22 girls to try out for Md. team, 8 are from Anne Arundel

March 06, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

When a group of the best girls basketball players Maryland has to offer takes on a team from Pennsylvania next month, Anne Arundel County could be well represented.

Among the 22 candidates who have been invited or have committed to trying out for the Maryland team on March 28-29 at Annapolis High are forwards Najmah Fauntleroy and Tracey Pucci and guard Catherine Gonzalez of defending Class 4A state champion Arundel; guard Lindsey Roche and center Alexandra Sullivan of county runner-up South River; guard Diana Davidson and forward Nikki Curtis of regional runner-up Broadneck; and forward Nicole Dailey of Meade.

The aforementioned players will compete for 12 spots on a senior-only squad that will travel to Hempfield High School in Harrisburg, Pa., to participate in the Maryland-Pennsylvania All-Star Game on April 7.

The Pennsylvania team won last year's charity event by seven points, but Maryland coach Dave Griffith of Annapolis High said he hopes to reverse that result this season.

"Pennsylvania brought out a pretty good team last year," Griffith said. "With the quality of players we have, we should give them a run this year."

Arundel guard Jill Marano was invited to try out, but has opted to play in the First Capitol Classic All-Star Game at MCI Center in Washington next month instead.

Bitzer's run ends

Thirteen years ago inside a barely heated garage, Dick Bitzer introduced wrestling to the students of Annapolis Area Christian.

With the program seemingly reaching new pinnacles every season, Bitzer wrapped up his final season as the Eagles coach.

Bitzer, a Bible teacher at the school who will continue to helm the boys lacrosse squad, said he knew he would retire after his son Alex's final season on the wrestling team.

Bitzer, who watched 125-pound senior Luke Palumbo secure the school's first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and state private schools individual titles last month, recalled the program's roots as an intramural club in 1988.

When the school approved a varsity team a year later, the Eagles rescued singlets from a school that was ending its program and set up shop inside a garage behind a local church.

"There were 15 kids in this garage, and vans were on our wrestling mat," Bitzer said. "There wasn't much heat, and there was some wildlife in there."

All-star wrestling

A number of county wrestlers will participate in tonight's Haswell M. Franklin Senior All-Star Meet at River Hill High in Columbia.

Public schools state champions Adam DeCosmo and Adam Dayton of Old Mill, along with state runner-up Jake Dove of Broadneck, will compete for the Class 4A-3A squad. Representing the private schools team will be private schools state titlist Luke Palumbo of Annapolis Area Christian, Matt Cummings of Archbishop Spalding and Michael Kohler of St. Mary's.

The All-Star meet pits the best seniors from private schools against their counterparts from Class 4A-3A schools and Class 2A-1A schools.

Wrestling highlights

Several notable achievements were recorded at last weekend's state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College in Westminster.

DeCosmo secured his second straight state crown with an easy win in the 135-pound weight class. Finishing the season at 38-0 and leaving with a school-record career mark of 136-14, DeCosmo joined Chuck Sturm, Charles Royer and Greg Wise as the fourth Patriot to complete a perfect season.

Senior Adam Dayton's second-period pin in the 189-pound final helped Old Mill boast double winners for the first time since Mike Dileonardi and Paul Hultgren accomplished the feat in 1995. Dayton, who decked his way in all four matches to his first state title, ended his season at 36-1.

Junior Matt Eveleth of Chesapeake captured his second consecutive championship, joining older brother Jeff as the school's only two-time state titlists. Matt Eveleth, who went 32-0 at 125 pounds and is 97-3 for his career, is one victory away from tying the school record set by Marty Pyles.

Finally, although 103-pound freshman Doug West of Old Mill didn't place at the state tourney, his 34 wins are the most by any freshman in Patriots history.

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