Taylor's confidence sparks perfect start

Harford Tech wrestler is 8-0, ranked sixth at 152

teacher leaves hospital

Notebook

High Schools

December 21, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Just call him the new and improved Josh Taylor.

Taylor, a senior on the Harford Tech wrestling team, has always been good, but so far this season, Cobras coach Gary Siler has seen a much better wrestler than the one who went 31-5 and won a regional title as a 140-pounder last year.

Though the season is barely more than two weeks old, Taylor already appears to be stronger, smarter, better technically and more intense than he had been in the past.

"He's rougher, tougher, he has things on his mind before he goes out there," Siler said.

It's also about confidence, and Taylor's is soaring right now - as is his win total.

With three victories this week, Taylor moved to 8-0 and is currently ranked sixth among 152-pounders in The Sun's metro rankings.

After capturing a title at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Newark, Del., last weekend, Taylor pinned two opponents in a total of 3:30 in Wednesday's tri-meet against Joppatowne and Bel Air.

"My confidence level is really high right now," said Taylor, who is wrestling despite having nearly 50 percent of the cartilage in his knee removed in an offseason procedure.

Taylor initially feared that the knee injury, which hindered him last year, would force him to miss some of the wrestling season. But he was back in time to play for the Cobras' soccer team this past fall.

"I push myself to the limit every day," he added. "I want to continue to work hard and have no regrets. I'd like to win states, but that's everyone's goal, too."

Taylor, who said he models himself after some private school wrestlers, got a huge boost with a 6-5 decision over Boys' Latin senior Brian Saval on Dec. 10. Saval was a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state runner-up last year after winning both those tournaments as a sophomore.

Siler, whose No. 4 Cobras (4-0, 3-0) handled the Lakers, 42-19, for one of the biggest victories in program history, said Taylor told him all week he would beat Saval.

"He's a really good wrestler, but losing never crossed my mind," Taylor said. "I knew if I wrestled my match, I could win."

Injured teacher released

Jason Redmond, the Edgewood Middle School teacher who was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma on Tuesday after being hit by an auxiliary basketball hoop that had swung loose during the Aberdeen-at-Edgewood junior varsity basketball game, was released on Wednesday.

Edgewood Middle principal Tom Pomilla said Redmond, 24, a first-year science teacher, needed 20 staples to close the cut on his head.

The incident happened during the second quarter of the JV game and caused a postponement of the rest of the JV game and the varsity game, which was to follow. The varsity game has been rescheduled for Jan. 27.

In response to the incident, county coordinator of athletics Forest Wiest said the county's maintenance and facilities department will likely develop a more-regimented procedure to check the basket supports. However, not much else is expected to change.

"There may be some adjustments, but the games will go on," Wiest said.

Holidays with the Hawks

For the third straight year, the North Harford girls JV basketball team pitched in during the holiday season to help some needy families.

After collecting more than $1,400 in donations from parents and local businesses, the Hawks went on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart, buying everything from paper towels to clothes to toys.

The gifts will be distributed to the needy families through a school organization.

"We had 16 girls this year and we turned them all loose with the lists," said Nick Panos, who coaches the Hawks alongside Mitch Vocke. "They ravaged the store. It really was hilarious, but the girls get real pumped up and it's very rewarding for them."

Ex-Patriot headed to UNC

Pitcher Michael Facchinei, who played on the John Carroll JV baseball team as a freshman before moving to North Carolina, has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of North Carolina.

A veteran of the Harford County rec program with the Emmorton travel squad and of the Harford Sox of the Baltimore Metro League, Facchinei, now a senior at West Henderson High in North Carolina, went 10-1 with an 0.84 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 50 innings last season.

Hot hands

Bel Air senior swingman T.J. Jordan (about 16 ppg) had 23 points, six assists, six steals and five blocks in the Bobcats' 76-57 win over North East on Wednesday. ... Entering Friday's game at South River, Fallston's high-scoring duo of Phil Vornadore and Brian Cannon are combining for 40 points a game. ... Getting contributions from several players, C. Milton Wright is scoring 74 points a game en route to a 3-0 start.

In girls basketball, Fallston guard Amanda Andrews has picked up where she left off last season, averaging slightly less than 17 points in five games. ... Havre de Grace's Ashlee Lopez (13.5 ppg) had 16 points in the Warriors' 48-41 upset of previously undefeated Bel Air on Thursday. ... Joppatowne freshman point guard Arielle Townes followed a 15-point performance against Harford Christian with 23 points in a losing effort against Fallston on Wednesday.

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