All-anne Arundel Wrestling

March 10, 2004|By GLENN P. GRAHAM

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

Corey Bowers

Chesapeake, senior

Bowers' season resume is impressive enough: a 35-0 mark that included a fourth county championship, second region crown and first state title. But then you look at whom he beat and the tournaments he won, and his work goes beyond impressive.

The Cougars' senior stood out in a standout 119-pound weight class in the state, beating Owings Mills' Class 2A-1A two-time state champ Rob Cooper and private schools two-time state champ Bruce Dulski from Mount St. Joseph at the Mount Mat Madness Tournament in January.

He capped a stellar career that boasted a 129-12 mark with a typically dominating 20-5 technical fall over South River's Andrew Mulry to complete his state title mission. "It's a gift when you get someone like Corey in as a freshman and then he just took off from there and didn't look back," said Chesapeake coach Rex Miller.

COACH OF THE YEAR

John Klessinger

South River

The message from Klessinger to his group throughout the season was loud and clear: "Believe in yourself." The Seahawks responded with a 16-5 dual-meet season and became factors in every tournament in which they competed.

It's the first winning season in four years Klessinger has been at the helm, but it was steadily approaching. The Seahawks went from two wins his first year, to six and then eight last season before this year's breakthrough. "We really worked on them mentally -- telling them if they push every day, they can become successful. The kids really reponded," said Klessinger.

Junior 125-pounder Ethan Harvey was the best example of a number of wrestlers who enjoyed breakthrough seasons. After not placing at the region tournament last season, he took sixth at states and finished with a 34-9 mark this season.

THE FIRST TEAM

Justin Bowser

Arundel, sophomore

The Wildcats' outstanding 112-pounder won the county and region tournaments for a second straight year and inched closer to his goal of winning a state title with an impressive third-place showing last weekend. Combining hard work with smarts and strength, Bowser always stayed on the offensive and goes into a move looking to finish hard. He went 37-2 on the season to give him a 70-5 mark in his first two years.

Alec Eaton

Meade, senior

Second-best among county heavyweights, Eaton also was second best in Class 4A-3A, which is where he placed last weekend. The four-year starter went 30-4, with each loss going to Glen Burnie's state champ Justin Neal. Eaton, who didn't begin wrestling until his freshman season, relied on his strength and hard work to make up for his inexperience. Strong with his throws, he finished with 22 pins and, along with second-place finishes at the county and region tournaments, he won the Kent Holiday Tournament and Arundel Invitational.

Shane Fraser

Chesapeake, junior

A student of the sport who applied his knowledge well, the Cougars' 125-pounder peaked at the region tournament with a title there and then finished fourth at states over the weekend. Fraser's strength was on top and he penetrated hard through his shots to make the most of his time spent on the mat. The three-year starter finished the season with a 32-6 mark, taking third at the county tournament.

Ben Graham

Annapolis, senior

Hard work can go a long way. For Graham, it took him to that much-prized first state crown. The Panthers' 140-pound senior needed overtime to earn a 6-4 decision over Eric Jeronimo from Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the Class 4A-3A final in a fitting end to his four-year career. A state runner-up the previous two seasons, Graham succeeded with a determined, blue-collar approach. He went 32-2 this season, winning his second county and region titles, to finish with a 122-15 mark.

John Hostler

North County, senior

Bringing a sound foundation and strong leadership as a two-year captain, the Knights' 189-pounder improved in each of his three varsity seasons, culminating in his first county title. His memorable 3-2 decision over Arundel's Brad Pendock gave the Knights their first county champion since Michawn Yuvienco won in 1998. North County coach J.P. Noon said: "It was big for John and big for our program, putting a kid at the top of the podium shows others they can do it, too." Hostler took second in the Class 4A-3A East region and fifth at states to finish at 31-6.

Jake Jones

Glen Burnie, senior

The transfer from Stonewall Jackson High in Virginia made his mark in the 171-pound weight class, highlighted by a fourth-place showing at states. Quick and calculating, Jones finished the season with a 26-7 mark and saved some of his best work for last. After losing a 9-6 decision to Chesapeake's Jake Couch to finish as runner-up in the county tournament, he avenged the loss one week later with a 14-1 major decision to capture the region title.

T.J. McMahon

Ann. Area Christian, senior

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