Annapolis and Old Mill take to the mat

Panthers, Patriots put unbeaten records on line


High School

January 04, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis wrestling team has a chance to break a long drought tonight.

The eighth-ranked Panthers travel to Millersville to meet No. 9 Old Mill in a dual meet that will undoubtedly have ramifications on the race for the county dual-meet championship.

According to Annapolis athletic director Dave Gehrdes, the Panthers haven't beaten the Patriots in the program's history.

What is certain to Panthers coach Tom Sfakiyanudis is that his squad will have to rise to the occasion to remain undefeated.

"They have always been fundamentally sound, and I don't expect that to change," said Sfakiyanudis, whose team is 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the county. "We need to score with pins and not give up any to win."

Several key individual bouts include Annapolis junior Brett Cherba (11-0) against Patriots junior Josh Baynham (14-4) at 119 pounds; sophomore Andrew Smith (11-1) against senior Shaun Miller (13-5) at 130; senior Joe Mihoces (10-1) against senior Dominick Grossi (14-4) at 152; and senior Paul Macknis (11-1) against senior Chris Bonner (15-3) at 171.

The Panthers have won the Ed Peery Invitational and the Ralph Wetzel Holiday Classic - the latter courtesy of seven individual championships out of a possible eight. Old Mill, which is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the county, has captured the Lackey Tournament and was second at the St. Stephens & St. Agnes Classic.

Perhaps a more intimidating strength for the Patriots is the fact that they haven't lost a regular-season dual meet since dropping a one-point decision to Gilman on Dec. 16, 1997 - a streak of 55 straight victories.

"There's really no pressure in the practice room to uphold that, but the kids know what the expectations are," said Old Mill coach Jim Grim. "Annapolis is a very good team, and so are we. We're ready."

South River on roll

The girls basketball season is less than a month old, but one team already has emerged as a surprising leader in the race for the two spots in the county championship game on Feb. 19 at Broadneck.

No. 19 South River cemented its front-runner status with a 53-46 victory over 17th-ranked Chesapeake yesterday.

With the win, the Seahawks improved to 6-2 overall and, more importantly, 3-0 in the county standings.

South River has a one-game lead over No. 11 Arundel, Broadneck, Chesapeake, No. 20 Glen Burnie, Old Mill and Severna Park - all of whom have 2-1 county marks.

"I expected us to be competitive," said Seahawks coach John Wardell, who graduated six players from last season's county finalist squad. "Am I surprised that we're 3-0 in the county? Probably a little bit because we have played Meade and Chesapeake and Old Mill, and all of them are good teams."

Unlike last year when South River usually turned to All-County star Lindsey Roche to spark the team, this season's squad has spread the wealth.

Senior guard Jess Olsen, who leads the team in points, scored 23 against the Cougars yesterday, but got some help from sophomore forward Lindsay Sheppard (12 points and seven rebounds) and junior center Jo Denevan (10 points and seven rebounds).

Wardell and assistant coaches Dave Klingel and Doug Hall have installed a fast break-oriented offense to avoid relying on one player to provide the offense.

The Seahawks have now posted convincing victories against then-No. 11 Glen Burnie and Chesapeake after getting walloped, 61-17, by Frederick last week.

But Wardell said he believes that setback may have helped rather than hurt his team.

"I think the girls learned from it," he said. "I think it reinforced in their minds that they have to practice harder and that they have to focus on the court."

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