Arundel tourney signals start, strength

14-team wrestling event features champs, tradition


High Schools

January 10, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Over the past two decades, plenty of state champions - both individuals and teams - have first taken to the mats at Arundel High about this time of year.

The 20th annual Arundel Invitational gets started this afternoon with a 14-team field set for two quality days of wrestling. The tournament starts at 3:30 p.m. today and resumes tomorrow morning at 9:30.

Host Arundel will be joined by fellow county foes Annapolis, Broadneck and North County, with perennial state powers DeMatha, Churchill, Sherwood and Lackey also competing.

"It's a very competitive tournament and for this time of year, it's a good way to judge where you're at and where you need to go," said Arundel coach Bill Royer.

Arundel freshman Justin Bowser (12-2 at 103 pounds) and junior Andrew Stiffler (9-4 at 119 or 125) will lead the host Wildcats; Annapolis has state runner-up Ben Graham at 135; Broadneck has received a strong early season from 215-pound junior Tyler Moyer; and North County boasts junior John Hostler at the 171-pound class.

DeMatha, the Washington powerhouse, brings two national prep champs - Mike Rowe at 112 and Rudy Rueda at 135.

Three-pointers galore

It's been pouring threes lately in boys basketball play.

Old Mill sophomore point guard Alex Buchholz was the latest three-point rainmaker, hitting a county-record 11 on Tuesday in the Patriots' 95-32 win over Northeast (1-7).

Buchholz, who finished with 51 points, went 11-for-17 behind the three-point line.

In 1990, Glen Burnie's Mike Thibeault had 10 three-pointers in a 72-68 win over Queen Anne's. That mark was tied last Friday when Arundel junior Barry Kitchen went 10-for-10 in the Wildcats' 80-31 win over Northeast.

Buchholz came into the game averaging around eight points a game for the Patriots (6-2).

"He had seven three-pointers at the half and I'd been shuffling the lineup to get everybody in the game. Alex was the only starter I left in because I knew he was within reach of the record," said Old Mill coach Eric Smith. "He didn't know about it. He hit two in the third period and his last three-pointer came midway through the fourth. He really hadn't taken a lot of shots up to [Tuesday night], but he started shooting and was feeling pretty good."

One of Thibeault's county records barely survived - his 52 points in the same win against Queen Anne's.

AACS girls on roll

The Annapolis Area Christian girls basketball team is off to a 7-1 start, looking to better last year's second-place finish in the Maryland Christian Athletic League.

The Eagles opened league play on Tuesday with a 76-1 win over Perry Hall Christian, getting the balanced effort coach Bob Topp is hoping to see throughout the season.

Senior guard Paige Cheek is the team's catalyst, averaging 11.4 points and seven-plus steals a game. Two 6-foot post players - junior center Monica Bunts (10.4 ppg., 7.0 rebounds) and senior forward Kristin Benner (8.9 ppg., team-high 8.2 rpg.) - handle most of the work inside.

"That's what we're excited about - having balance at different parts of the court," said Topp.

Capturing their first MCAL crown (the league is in its second season) is one goal the Eagles have set. Another is topping the 17-6 mark the team had two seasons ago, the best finish in seven seasons under Topp.

The Eagles will get a good challenge outside the league tomorrow when Severn School visits at 2 p.m. On Tuesday, they will then take on Greater Grace, which along with Elkton Christian, should give the Eagles the biggest push in the league.

Fresh view

Girls basketball coach Dave Griffith had an unfamiliar view at Annapolis High on Tuesday.

The Panthers' former head coach made his first trip back to Annapolis as an assistant coach with Severna Park, watching his new team come away with a 59-38 win. Griffith spent eight seasons as head coach at Annapolis from 1994 to 2001, going 111-87 and guiding the Panthers to state semifinal appearances in 1994 and 1997.

"It felt different, but it actually feels good with the win," said Griffith, who spent last season as an assistant at Washington College before coming on board at Severna Park under Bill Giblin.

Coaches needed

Old Mill is looking for a head tennis coach and an assistant in girls lacrosse for the coming spring season.

Athletic director Bruce Lawton is accepting applications and can be reached at 410-969-0837 for more information.

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