Smith only area titlist in Curley invitational

Hammond junior takes 135-pound championship

Wrestling

High Schools

January 04, 2004|By Brad Nelson | Brad Nelson,SUN STAFF

A.J. Smith wasn't exactly on familiar ground.

The Hammond High junior was the only finalist from the only state public school at the Maryland Catholic Invitational Tournament yesterday at Archbishop Curley.

But Smith made his presence known, pinning John Carroll's Joe Hudson at 1:48 to capture the title at 135 pounds and improve to 12-0.

Smith, the only area champion, acknowledged a sense of satisfaction that he was able to pin a private school wrestler in the final.

"When I dropped to 135 for this tournament," he said. "I was hoping to wrestle [Dean] Roberts [of John Carroll], but he dropped to 130, and I can't help who I wrestle. I just went out there and made the best of it and it worked out well."

Smith made his title run look easy, racking up his sixth, seventh and eighth pins of the season in only his second varsity year. Last year, he finished third in Howard County, fourth in the region and made the Maryland junior national team.

Delaware's Caesar Rodney High won the team championship, edging Delaware rival St. Mark's, 264.5-219. Top local schools in the field of 15 were fourth-place Boys' Latin (123.5), sixth-place Calvert Hall (105) and seventh-place Curley (102).

St. Mary's sixth-ranked Lou Ruland nearly pinned Jeremy Shaw of St. Mark's in the first period of the 112 final, but lost a heartbreaker, 9-7, on a takedown in the opening seconds of overtime.

"I should've been up 5-0 after the first period," said Ruland, "but I made a mistake by changing my hold to make it tighter and trying to pin him. Then, he got out of it and I went to my back, and he was back in the match."

Boys' Latin's fourth-ranked Colin Kahoe (215 pounds) also had a frustrating final, losing to DeMatha's Ken Jefferson, 6-5, in the final minute of a rematch of last year's state private school championship match, which Jefferson also won. Kahoe is 0-3 against Jefferson.

Third-ranked Jason Bell (11-2) of Calvert Hall dropped a 6-2 decision to Caesar Rodney's Dan Rigby in the 160 final. Bell could never get going after escaping a near pin 35 seconds into the match.

Besides Hudson, other area runners-up were sixth-ranked Steve Miller (152) of Curley, James Peters (189 pounds) and Colin Kahoe (215) of Boys' Latin, and Zac Tschuelin (275) of John Carroll.

Two-time National Preps champion Mike Rowe of DeMatha, who captured the 125-pound championship, was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

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