Graham boosts Annapolis

3 wins push record to 13-0, Panthers to 7th

Arundel finishes 2nd to DeMatha

High Schools


January 12, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Three times last season, Annapolis' Ben Graham lost to three-time state champion Matt Eveleth of Chesapeake -- finishing runner-up at the Anne Arundel County, regional and state tournaments.

This season, the top-ranked Graham says he's on a mission.

"I lost to Eveleth, 12-1, 11-2, 12-5 and 7-5. It got closer every time -- right up until the state finals," Graham said. "When I walked off the mat last year, I told myself that I'd be disappointed with anything less than first place this year."

Last night at Arundel High, Graham (135 pounds) remained on course to achieve his goal, outscoring his three opponents by a combined 36-6 to run his record to 13-0. Graham was joined in victory by teammates Andrew Smith (140) and Brett Cherba (145) as the Panthers finished seventh in a 14-team tournament field.

DeMatha of Hyattsville, coached by Elkridge resident Dick Messier, outscored host Arundel, 216 1/2 -189 1/2 , for the title, crowning Mike Rowe (112) and Gary Stewart (189). Rowe (31-2) had falls in 75, 48 and 35 seconds. Stewart (25-1) also pinned all three opponents.

Smith (11-0), ranked fourth, had two pins and a 9-1 major decision over DeMatha's Scott Miller for the title, and Cherba (15-2) overcame a 4-1 second-period deficit to beat DeMatha's Erik Fawcett, 14-8.

For Arundel, Justin Bowser (103) won an individual crown, with runner-up finishes from Mike Handleman (130) and Brad Pendock (171). Bowser (16-1), whose only loss this year came against fourth-ranked Jason Jacovsky of Owings Mills, scored a pin and two technical fall victories -- the last by 25-7 for the crown.

"This is my first high school title, and it feels good to win in my own gym," said Bowser, a 14-year-old freshman. "After losing to Jacovsky, I realize I have to work harder. This could jump-start our team."

Handleman (15-4) lost a heartbreaker on double-overtime riding criteria to McDonough of Charles County's Derek McDermott (18-0). Pendock also lost his title bout after being pinned by Greencastle's James Amsley, but not before scoring a 6-4 quarterfinal upset of Bowie's unbeaten Mike McFadden, ranked sixth in the state, and a 5-4 semifinal victory over McDonough's Ryan Patterson.

Broadneck's Tyler Moyer (215), ranked No. 2 in The Sun, ran his record to 11-0 with an 11-4 victory over DeMatha's Ken Jefferson.

The Outstanding Lowerweight honors overwhelmingly went to Lackey's 125-pound Joe McKeever (11-1), who ousted state champs Danny April of Churchill and Cam Watkins of DeMatha. The Outstanding Upperweight was Sherwood's top-ranked Burke Edwards (152), whose 13-4 victory against Overlea's state runner-up Dan Sexton (15-2) was his 100th career win.

In his semifinal 12-4 rout of April, McKeever countered three separate lateral-drop-takedown attempts for nine points -- the last putting the two-time state champion on his back. April, ranked No. 1 in the state, lost for only the second time in his three-year career.

McKeever then used a cement job takedown, a switch reversal and an ankle pick takedown to overcome an early 2-0 first-period deficit in his 9-5 title-bout victory over Watkins (17-2) -- up from 119 where he's ranked No. 1.

A year ago, McKeever was fourth at Arundel, losing to April and two-time state champ Trent Dixon of Eastern Tech, who edged Watkins for last year's crown.

"Off of last year, losing to April, I knew how tough he was, and I knew what I had to do to beat him this year. I wrestled Cam in the offseason, so I knew what he liked to do," said McKeever, who suffered his only loss, 1-0, earlier this year to last night's 130-pound titlist Derek McDermott (18-0) of Charles County's McDonough. "They're both good on their feet, so that's where I had to break their confidence."

At 119 pounds, Churchill's state champ, Brandon Shapirio (16-0), won a battle of unbeatens, pinning McDonough's Matt Myers (17-1) in the second period.

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