The seedings for tomorrow's county wrestling tournament reflect the race for the 4A dual-meet wrestling title -- balanced and down to thewire.
Old Mill has nine wrestlers seeded in the top four of theirweight classes, including top seeds Brent Layman (135 pounds), Brian Layman (160) and heavyweight Don Marco.
Broadneck -- with nine wrestlers in the top four -- has Charlie Bennett (103), Shawn Miller (112), Roy Brazeau (119) and Duke Koblinsky (130) as top seeds.
Of Annapolis' seven wrestlers in the top four, 140-pound Chip Cochran and 145-pound Pat Flynn are top seeds.
Coach Mike Hampe's two-time defending Class 4A/3A county champion Patriots, ranked No. 3 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, shared the dual-meet county title with No. 4-ranked Broadneck and No. 5-ranked Annapolis.
Old Mill failed to win an outright regular-season title for the first time in three years, having its dual-meet winning streak halted at 33 when it was defeated, 31-28, by Broadneck Jan. 25. A week later, Broadneck was beaten by Annapolis -- which already had lost to Old Mill.
All three teams finished at 8-1 against the county's 4A league teams. Annapolis and Old Mill finished with 12-1 overall records and Broadneck was 13-1.
"It's going to be close," said Hampe, who has a 160-22-3 career dual-meet record in 16 seasons. "If we're going to win, we're going to have to try and knock off one of their guys as early as we can, as quick as we can."
Hampe, Broadneck coach John Mayberry and Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes -- who, in winning a share of the county crown this year, has won his first career county title -- know that won't be easy, however. Each of their teams has a few dark horse wrestlers who can play spoiler roles.
Mayberry is concerned about the 130-pound class, where No. 3-ranked Koblinsky is coming off of a leg injury suffered in the first period of his dual-meet bout with Annapolis' Ford Baumgardener.
"It's probably going to bother him a little bit," said Mayberry. "But he has been walking on it for the past week and he says it's all right."
Severna Park's second-seeded Scott Woodland is his team's highest seed. Woodland (20-7) drops into the 130-pound class after wrestling most of his matches at 135. Woodland, a state qualifier last year, also handed Baumgardener his only dual-meet loss, 10-7.
South River (11-3, 2-0), which captured the 3A/2A title again this year, has five wrestlers in the top four -- as do Chesapeake (8-5) and Southern (8-3).
South River's only top seed is 189-pounder Brian Anderson (15-2), who benefited from the absence of North County's Ji Kim (21-2), who is academically ineligible for this tournament.
But Anderson isn't the only Seahawk with a solid chance for a title. Brian Hunt (152) moves up from the 145-pound weight class, where he is ranked No. 2 in the state, to face top-seeded Jason Braithwait, the state's No. 2-ranked 152-pounder.
The pair wrestled to a 3-3 regular-season draw and each was a state runner-up last year. Braithwait wrestled in the Class 2A/1A at 145 pounds and Hunt was in the Class 4A/3A at 140.
South River's 119-pound Greg Nida (17-4) is seeded second, but defeated the weight class' top-seeded wrestler, Roy Brazeau, 7-2. But Nida was beaten, 3-1, by Sugden, the third seed, who Brazeau blanked, 2-0.
Chesapeake's top-ranked 125-pounder Brian Eveleth (23-0) looks primed torepeat as the county champion in his weight class.
Arundel 171-pounder Greg Booth (20-3) is his team's only top seed, but No. 2 seeds Brian Richards (189) and heavyweights Pat Beach each have an outside chance.