Around The Area

Wrestling

High School Sports

Winter Preview

December 05, 2003

Anne Arundel County

With nine starters back, most in the same weight class as last season, the Chesapeake Cougars have the early jump on the rest of a talented field of teams this season.

Senior tri-captain and state runner-up Corey Bowers (31-3 at 119) leads a Cougars lineup that's talented from top to bottom.

Defending Class 4A-3A state champ Old Mill will lean on state runner-up Doug West.

Severna Park and Arundel all have definite strengths and could emerge, while Annapolis has a talented one-two in seniors Ben Graham and Andrew Smith. North County, South River and Meade could be sleepers. At Northeast, T.R. Fleming takes over for Al Kohlhafer.

Baltimore City

State runner-up Matthew Oakley (171) and Derrick Jones (140) are among the two defending titlists and nine returning place-winners for defending Baltimore City duals and tournament champ Poly of coach Wavie Gibson.

Runners-up Lance Garner (130), Mike Bailey (145) and Lenthia Lewis (152) also return from a squad that ended Patterson's five-year dominance.

Coach Kama Owens' Carver, last year's runner-up to Poly, has city champ Brandon Johnson (140) back. Also back are runners-up Maurice Jones (125) and Dimitrick Woods (189) and third-place finishers Jeff Armstrong (103), Devon Williams (130), Tobias Sellers (135) and Mitchell Waters (171).

Baltimore County

Owings Mills goes after an unprecedented third straight 2A-1A state dual meet title, attempts to tie Old Mill of Anne Arundel County with a record sixth state tournament crown and looks to win its eighth county championship (third straight).

The county has 15 returning individual state place-winners. Defending state champs Rob Cooper (Owings Mills) and D.J. Scarponi (Hereford) and state runner-up James Knox (Dulaney) are all at 119.

Runners-up Eric Hood (Patapsco) and Scott Steele (Towson) are at 189.

Woodlawn, Perry Hall, Sparrows Point and Kenwood also have state place-winners.

Carroll County

Defending county champion South Carroll - the Cavaliers went 19-2 overall and won the regular-season and tournament crowns - again have a strong lineup for coach Dennis Frazier.

Senior Andrew Winfield went 33-2 last year and finished second in the state at 160. North Carroll's Robbie Pearre upset Winfield in the county finals.

North Carroll lost just one senior from last year's 12-2 team. Pearre, who took sixth in the state, returns along with county champions Zach Forbes (103/112) and Tim Hutchins (135).

Westminster took second in the county with its only loss of a 13-1 season coming to South Carroll. Justin Hughes (119) is the Owls' lone returning county champion.

Harford County

Harford Tech has won three straight county championships and the Cobras have more than enough back to be considered the favorite to win a fourth.

Mike Long, Mike Taylor, Josh Taylor and Brad Dreyer all are county and state title contenders for the Cobras, last year's 2A-1A runner-up which will wrestle a blockbuster schedule in hopes of taking the next step to a state crown.

The Cobras will get their toughest county tests from chief rival Fallston and Bel Air. Two-time triple-crown winner Nathan Bachmann leads a talented core at Fallston. Bel Air has the talent and experience to compete for the county title.

Howard County

County champ Vince Cina (38-3, third at states) leads defending league and 4A-3A state dual meet king River Hill in a balanced conference.

Joining Cina are county champ Kevin Cannon (145), runner-up Thomas Perkins (171) and third-place Ryan Lauer (125).

Oakland Mills boasts county champs Anthonio Josiah (135) and Sean Kendig (215) and Jeff Plasse (130, second). Centennial has Dominic Ventura (135, first county), Evan Bulger (145, second) and Mike Montanez (112, third). Back are Hammond's Ethan Cohen (103, second), Sean Vorsteg (125, second) and A.J. Smith (140, third). Wilde Lake and Glenelg each return two third-place finishers.

Private schools

Look for Mount St. Joseph and McDonogh to lead the way in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference, but Boys' Latin adds depth to the race, having finished as The Sun's No. 3-ranked team last year - two spots behind Mount St. Joseph.

Calvert Hall returns Nick Barone (119) and Brendon Smith (140) among five veterans who either placed in the top four at the MIAAs, or in the top six at private school states.

Dean Roberts (135), Blake Hoedebecke (160), Patrick McGrath (215) and Zac Tschuelin (hwt.) lead an improved John Carroll. Gilman's Benitez brothers, Robert and Patrick, lead its lower weights, and Nate Hummel, its upper.

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