Annapolis' Graham wins on 3rd try

Senior takes title at 140

Chopticon defeats field

River Hill places third

Class 4A-3A state wrestling

High Schools

March 07, 2004|By Luke Broadwater | Luke Broadwater,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK - Ben Graham of Annapolis had not won in his previous two attempts in the state wrestling finals.

The third time, he became a champion.

With a 6-4 overtime victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase's Eric Jeronimo last night at the Class 4A-3A state wrestling tournament at Cole Field House, Graham (140 pounds) nailed down the title that had previously eluded him.

"To win a state title on the final match of my high school career, that feels really good," said Graham (32-2 record). "My other finals matches, I was the underdog. This time there was a lot more pressure."

Chopticon of St. Mary's County won the 4A-3A team crown with 103 points, bringing the second state title of the year to the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference. Calvert, which placed second with 80 1/2 points, won the state duals tournament in January.

Three Baltimore-area schools placed in the top 10: River Hill finished third (79 1/2 ), placing four wrestlers in the top six; Chesapeake of Anne Arundel was seventh (51 1/2 points); and North Carroll eighth (51).

Graham was part of a quintet of former runners-up who captured championships.

Dulaney's James Knox (112), Chesapeake-AA's Corey Bowers (119), Towson's Scott Steele (189) and Broadneck's Tyler Moyer (215) all redeemed losses from last year's state finals.

Knox (39-2) edged River Hill's Vince Cina, 4-3, scoring with a takedown late in the third period.

Bowers, who trailed in every match before reaching the finals, dominated with a technical fall over South River's Andrew Mulry.

"It feels unbelievable," said Bowers (32-0). "The first three matches weren't special. I won the matches. I wrestled as hard as I could, but things weren't clicking right. It got better and better every match. I saw all these people out here for the finals, and, I said, `I have got to step up and do this. This has got to be my year.'"

For Steele - who overcame a 5-3 deficit to pin Thomas Johnson's Mark Esmont - the greatest opponent might have been his injured knee, which required surgery earlier this winter.

"Coming off this injury, the doctor told my mother that my wrestling season was done. But I came back and won regionals and then won states," said Steele (33-0). "I'm happy with myself that I could come off an injury and do that."

Moyer (29-1) defeated Paint Branch's Bummi Omatade, 7-2, scoring six points on takedowns.

"I put that match behind me," Moyer said of his state finals loss last year. "I remember it. I didn't want to lose again."

The Baltimore area claimed two other champions.

Baltimore County titlist Mason Krumholtz (Kenwood, 145) prevailed, 4-3, over Bethesda-Chevy Chase former state runner-up Chad Jeronimo. "This is a dream come true," said Krumholtz, who finished 37-0.

Anne Arundel County heavyweight champion Justin Neal (Glen Burnie) shut out Meade's Alec Eaton for a 7-0 victory.

"I learned how to really use my technique," said Neal, who improved to 27-1 and 4-0 against Eaton. "I've been running and wrestling hard in practice. I just kept working [against Eaton] to score."

Woodlawn's Corey Lawson (130), who defeated top-ranked Doug West of Old Mill in the semifinals, just missed a title, losing, 9-8, in double overtime against Walt Whitman freshman Eren Civan.

Matt Myers (125) of McDonough scored the upset of the night, with his 3-1 win over sophomore Mark Tsikerdanos, a former state champion who was 58-0 coming into the bout.

Sonny Nucci (135) of Bethesda-Chevy Chase became a two-time state champion, defeating North Carroll's Tim Hutchins, 6-3.

Brothers Eli (160) and Lucas (103) Black led team champion Chopticon. Eli won his second state title with a pin in 1:27 over Sherwood's Clayton Mollenhoff. Lucas defeated River Hill's Taylor Green, 3-0.

Randy Oates of Northern-Calvert won the 171-pound class and Ignacio Diaz (Quince Orchard, 152) completed a 31-0 season with a title.

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