Owings Mills pins down regional title


Five Owings Mills wrestlers won individual titles, as the Eagles compiled 230 points en route to winning the state 1A-2A Region II tournament yesterday at Overlea High School.

The Owings Mills victory also marked the end of a string of five straight regional championships for Aberdeen. Aberdeen, which has won the past three 1A-2A state championships, finished second in the team competition with 158 1/2 points.

All told, nine Owings Mills wrestlers advanced to tournament championship bouts and 11 finished among the top three in their weight divisions to qualify for the 1A-2A state tournament, which begins Friday at Western Maryland College.

Gregg Kessler (126 pounds), Grant Johnson (130), Jason Ricketts (145), Sigismund Frasier (171) and Eric Rumenap (189) won championships for Owings Mills.

"With nine guys in the finals, we had it sewn up even if we didn't show up for the final round," Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker said. "Last year, when we took second, was the first time I ever came to this tournament happy. This team has been a dream come true."

Pritzker likes his team's chances in the state tourney.

"We have a good shot at the states with 11 guys in the tournament," Pritzker said. "Smithsburg has five or six guys who could win the whole thing. We have 11 solid guys, but I don't know how many will go all the way."

In other bouts, returning 1A-2A state champion Kevin Heid of Overlea avenged his loss in the Baltimore County tournament with a 10-4 decision over Owings Mills' lone senior, Kenny Gendason. Gendason had pinned Heid in 3 minutes, 3 seconds in their previous meeting.

"I was wary of his head lock, that's what he caught me with last time," Heid said. "I practiced keeping my elbows in this week and made it a slow-paced match."

Two-time state champion Matt Slutzky of Aberdeen breezed to the 135-pound championship, winning a forfeit, a default and a technical fall. John Swigart (heavyweight) of Overlea pinned all three of his opponents, and Dan Gunn (160) of North Harford, who was seeded second, pinned top seed Thomas Burdsall as he did in the Harford County tournament.

In three meetings of county champions from Baltimore and Harford counties, Harford wrestlers recorded a sweep. Zack Fowl of Aberdeen pinned Owings Mills' Gary Harris at 103 pounds; Jim Ervine of Harve de Grace decisioned Cory Setlen of Owings Mill, 4-0, at 119; and Edgewood's Keith Spurlin defeated Dave Crickard of Chesapeake at 152.

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