By Mike Frainie
For The Baltimore Sun
2:12 PM EST, December 4, 2013
Coach: Pete Welch
Last Season: 23-2, No. 1
Postseason: Won MIAA A Conference championship, 2nd in Maryland Independent Schools Championship
Outlook: The Eagles lost Wrestler of the Year Jack Clark to a transfer, but gained Cameron Harrell — the 3A/4A state champion at 132 pounds — from Broadneck. McDonogh is again loaded with talent, led by Myles Martin.
2. John Carroll
Coach: Keith Watson
Last Season: 29-1, No. 3
Postseason: 2nd in MIAA A Conference, 3rd in Maryland Independent Schools Championship
Outlook: John Carroll should be even stronger than last year, when they pushed McDonogh all season. Hunter Ritter, the MIAA and MIS champion at 170 pounds last season, will return to lead this veteran squad, which features experience in just about every weight class.
3. River Hill
Coach: Brandon Lauer
Last Season: 25-4, No. 7
Postseason: Class 4A/3A runner-up
Outlook: The Hawks return a slew of Division I talent, led by Cory Daniel, who won the state championship last year at 195 pounds with a 42-0 record. State place finishers Logan Kirby (second at 220 pounds) and Michael Beck (third at 106 pounds) also return. This may be the team’s year to recapture a state title.
Coach: Matt Bichner
Last Season: 15-2, No. 6
Postseason: 3rd in Class 2A/1A, Class 2A/1A dual meet finalist
Outlook: Bichner, a former assistant for the Gladiators, takes over for Chris Rosas, and how quickly the kids adjust to his style will determine how this team fares. The Gladiators graduated three seniors and another good wrestler transferred. Bichner is confident that seniors Austin Pagnotta and Troy Walter can help with the coaching transition.
5. Mount St. Joseph
Coach: Harry Barnabae
Last Season: 10-6, No. 13
Postseason: 5th in MIAA A Conference, 6th in Maryland Independent Schools Championship
Outlook: The Gaels will benefit from the addition of Sam Rowell, who finished fifth in the state last year as a sophomore, and transferred from Reservoir. Barnabae was pleased with the turnout he got the first day, and the Gaels should have lots of depth. Wrestling in the new Smith Athletic Center, with its huge wrestling room, won’t hurt, either.
6. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Mike Laidley
Last Season: 23-4, No. 5
Postseason: 3rd in MIAA A Conference, 5th in Maryland Independent Schools Championship
Outlook: The Cavaliers lost six wrestlers from last season, but still return several wrestlers who did well at the MIAA and MIS levels. The team will be led by junior Logan Brietenbach (MIAA and MIS champion at 152 pounds) and senior Matt Pente (third in MIAA, fourth in MIS tournament at 138 pounds).
Coach: Ron Causey
Last Season: 20-3, No. 11
Postseason: 15th in Class 2A/1A
Outlook: The Bulls return four potential state finalists, and should be the team to beat in Baltimore County this year. Anthony Genco, who finished second in the state at 113 pounds with a 36-3 record last season, will lead a talented group that will be strongest in the upper weights.
8. Bel Air
Coach: Craig Reddish
Last Season: 25-4, unranked
Postseason: 20th in Class 2A/1A
Outlook: This should be a big year for the Bobcats, as Reddish returns 11 starters from last season’s talented team that won the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference regular season title. Depth will be a strength for this year’s team.
9. South Carroll
Coach: Bryan Hamper
Last Season: 10-6, unranked
Postseason: 7th in Class 2A/1A
Outlook: The Cavaliers did lose quite a few contributors to graduation but return Steve Schmitz, an undefeated state champion, at 182 pounds. South Carroll will also benefit from the arrival of Tim Null, who transferred from Glenelg and was 36-7 at 106 pounds last season.
10. Archbishop Curley
Coach: Pat Curran
Last Season: 7-6, unranked
Postseason: 6th in MIAA A Conference, 8th in Maryland Independent Schools Championship
Outlook: The Friars will look to rebound from an injury-riddled season last year. Senior Corey Huntley, an MIAA, MIS and National Prep champion as a sophomore who didn’t wrestle last year due to a back injury, should make Curley much stronger this year.
11. Owings Mills
Coach: Shawn Girch
Last Season: 16-5, No. 4
Postseason: 2nd in Class 2A/1A
Outlook: Girch takes over for local legend Guy Pritzker, who retired after 31 years at the school. Owings Mills has won a county, regional, or state title for 23 consecutive years, so this year will probably be no different. Jacob Rendelman, a state finalist at 106 pounds, will be the leader of the team.
Coach: Andy McIntyre
Last Season: 10-3, No. 10
Postseason: 13th in Class 4A/3A
Outlook: The Gators have a lot of depth, and return Mason Kilcarr, who was 36-4 last year. Even though the Reservoir lost Rowell to Mount St. Joseph, McIntyre thinks his experienced team will be able to reach a new level this season.
13. South River
Coach: John Klessinger
Last Season: 35-3, No. 9
Postseason: 16th in Class 4A/3A
Outlook: The Seahawks lost nine wrestlers to graduation, but a good nucleus remains. Five experienced wrestlers return, and Klessinger can draw from a 21-2 junior varsity from last season.
14. Mount Hebron
Coach: Todd DeCrispino
Last Season: 20-7, No. 8
Postseason: 7th in Class 4A/3A
Outlook: DeCrispino is excited about the Vikings’ chances. The team is led by Ryan Hassan, who compiled a 37-6 record at 220 pounds last year. Freshman Jimmy Haden, a junior league state champion last season, should make the Vikings even tougher.
15. Winters Mill
Coach: John Lowe
Last Season: 25-2, No. 2
Postseason: Won Class 2A/1A championship, State 2A/1A dual meet champions
Outlook: The Falcons lost 11 starters, but Lowe, The Sun’s Coach of the Year last season, will get the best out of this group. Jake Utz, who finished second in the state last year at 285 pounds, will lead a talented but young group.
Others considered: Broadneck (13-3), Digital Harbor (9-3), Fallston (15-2), North Carroll (19-6), Patterson Mill (28-7), St. Paul’s (4-8) Western Tech (7-5)
[ Editor's Note: Owings Mills coach Shawn Girch was misidentied in an earlier version of this article. ]
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