Glenelg surges past Hammond, 43-23

Gladiators' Kuczarski hands Smith first loss

Wrestling

High Schools

January 14, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Glenelg junior Bobby Kuczarski accomplished several things with his second-period pin of Hammond's A.J. Smith last night.

Kuczarski may have found the confidence that's eluded him this season and handed Smith his first defeat in the 140-pound bout. But most importantly for Glenelg, the pin helped the host Gladiators pull away for a 43-23 victory in a Howard County match.

Smith and Kuczarski battled three times last year. Kuczarski lost twice before beating Smith in the region semifinals. But Smith - 15-0 and ranked fifth at 135 coming into last night's match - had a chance to put Hammond in good position.

This match was scoreless when Smith tried to reverse Kuczarski, who instead caught and quickly rolled him onto his back. Kuczarski (7-5) finished off the pin moments later at 3:32.

That tied the score at 23 and began a string of three straight pins for Glenelg (7-2, 5-1), which eventually won the final five bouts to close out the match.

"I've been kind of in a slump, and I hope this will turn my season around," Kuczarski said. "It was a huge confidence boost."

Glenelg coach Rob Bowman agreed that Kuczarski's win turned the match around.

"That was big," Bowman said. "Hammond's down a little bit now, but they're still tough and they don't quit."

Hammond coach Pedro Barbosa gave Kuczarski credit and said Smith can use this loss as motivation.

"Kuczarski wrestled a smart match," Barbosa said. "Even great wrestlers aren't uncatchable."

Barbosa said the team continues to struggle with problems at the top of the lineup. Hammond (4-8, 2-5) is a little short-handed and inexperienced in the bigger weights and had to forfeit the night's first two matches - at 189 and 215 - digging itself a quick 12-0 hole.

Glenelg stretched the lead to 15-0 when Jon Delbrugge scored a 5-2 victory over Andrew Coon in the heavyweight match.

But the Golden Bears rallied behind wins from top-ranked Ethan Cohen (103, pin), Zach Halper (112, major decision), Antonio Alonso (125, decision), Vince Taweel (130, major decision) and Ryan McKevitt (135, pin) to take the 23-17 lead.

Glenelg's lone win in that stretch was David Brindza's wild 10-9 victory over Sean Vorsteg (119) in a rematch of last year's 112-pound county title match - also won by Brindza. A takedown with 42 seconds left gave Brindza the victory.

But the Kuczarski win tied it, and the Gladiators then added pins from Matt Bichner (145) and Danny Bianco (152) plus major decisions from Erik Hufnagel (160) and Peter Morrison (171) to close the match.

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