Five champions direct Chesapeake-AA to East crown

Cougars set school mark, sending 10 to state tourney

Class 4A-3A wrestling

February 24, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

After going 0-for-3, the Chesapeake wrestling team is 2-for-2.

On the strength of five individual titlists, the sixth-ranked Cougars added to their Anne Arundel County tournament crown by capturing the Class 4A-3A East Regional tournament last night at Meade.

Chesapeake missed out on county, regional and state dual-meet titles, but is quickly making up for lost glory by winning its first county and regional tournament crowns since 1980.

"We're going to keep continuing to prove ourselves," said senior Jason Shehane (22-5), the reigning Anne Arundel titlist who edged Northeast junior Joe Fold (23-5) for the 189-pound championship, 3-2. "Every time, we want to pull more and more ahead [of the competition]."

Ten Cougars finished in the top four, meaning that Chesapeake will break its school record of seven representatives at the state tournament, which is next weekend.

"That was my goal, to bring 10 to states," said Cougars coach Rex Miller. "It worked out."

Five wrestlers earned top seeds by winning regional titles. Senior Matt Eveleth, ranked second in the metro area with a 29-1 record, will attempt to claim a third consecutive state crown after scoring a hard-fought 12-5 decision against Annapolis sophomore Ben Graham (27-4) at 125 pounds.

Anne Arundel champs Steve Yaruta and sophomore Chris Grove also return to the state tournament. Yaruta, a junior with a 27-6 mark, nipped Patterson senior Warren Brown (21-4), 3-2, at 119, while Grove, a sophomore, who is ranked second in the metro area with a 22-3 record, defeated Meade senior Matt Harvey (23-5), 6-1, at 135.

Shehane, who is making his first trip to states, will be joined by first-timer Shane Fraser (30-5), another Anne Arundel titlist who edged Patterson junior Dominic Bullock (25-2), 3-0, at 103.

Combine those with second-place finishes from sophomores Corey Bowers (112), Jim Woodland (130) and junior Chad LaPlanche (160) and thirds from sophomore Seppi Serio (145) and senior Ernie French (152), and it's no surprise that Chesapeake trounced No. 8 Annapolis, 192-160.5, for the regional championship.

But the Panthers produced four individual champs of their own.

There was sophomore Andrew Smith (27-2), who avenged a loss to Woodland (27-7) in the county final with a 9-5 decision and senior Bill Vollono, who is ranked fifth in the metro area with a 27-4 record, squeaked past Severna Park junior Steve Smith (28-7), 8-7, at 140.

Then Anne Arundel titlist and senior Joe Mihoces (25-5) defeated Old Mill senior Dominick Grossi (23-4), 8-3, at 152, while Anne Arundel champ and senior Paul Macknis (27-3) - who is ranked first in the metro area - edged Patterson senior and Baltimore City titlist Chris Price (24-3), 3-2, at 189.

No. 7 Old Mill placed third with 133.5 points courtesy of first-place efforts from sophomore Doug West, who earned his second straight regional championship by winning on riding criteria over second-ranked Bowers (29-3), and junior William Bell (29-5), an Anne Arundel titlist who pinned Severna Park junior Brian Payer (27-7) in 5:02 at heavyweight.

West's victory repeated a similar road from last season when he lost to Bowers in the Anne Arundel championship final, but returned to upend Bowers in the regional tournament.

"I didn't plan on losing in the county [tournament], but yeah, that's what I was thinking," said West, the area's third-ranked wrestler who improved to 29-2.

Northeast was fourth with 89 points as junior Chris Dyke (27-5) collected his first regional title in easy fashion when North County senior Cody Sheldon (23-7) forfeited the 145-pound match to prevent exacerbating a shoulder injury.

Patterson - which sent three wrestlers to the finals in Bullock, Brown, and Price, but came up empty - finished fifth with 81 points.

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