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OLD MILL GRABS SECOND STRAIGHT WRESTLING TITLE

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Old Mill coach Mike Hampe leapt from his mat-side chair, punched hisfist in the air and then for emphasis added a swift kick -- the force of which spun him halfway around.

The man was ecstatic moments after the buzzer sounded, ending a tough 7-6 victory for Old Mill 171-pounder Ernie Longazel over Oakland Mills' Dustin Blackwell.

Longazel, one of eight Old Mill championship finalists, became the Patriots' third individual champion as they won their second straight and their seventh overall Class 4A/3A Region IV wrestling tournament at Meade on Saturday.

"It's just been a great week of workouts and the guys in this tournament did a lot of individual things above and beyond what they've been asked to do," said Hampe, whose Patriotswill attempt to win their third straight state title at Western Maryland College this weekend.

"We were very fortunate to have good seeding and the kids are still fired up from that Jan. 25 loss to Broadneck -- believe me."

Not only did the Maryland State Wrestling Association's No. 3-ranked Patriots (216.5) blow away second-place and fifth-ranked Broadneck (135) and seventh-ranked Annapolis (123, 3rd), but by placing 10 wrestlers in the top four places of their weight class, Old Mill also tied the meet record which they set last year.

Old Mill's top-ranked Layman brothers, Brent (135, 32-1 record), and Brian (160, 27-0) were the other champs for the Patriots, who fell short of last year's meet record for total points (225.5).

While Brian cruised to a 23-8 technical fall victory over Meade's Pat Williams, Brent had a much tougher time overcoming a re-injured knee and Oakland Mills' Brian Dunbar, who was a slick wrestler -- literally.

"He was so slippery, after the first period I couldn't hold on to him. All my moves were just sliding right off, so I couldn't really shoot.I complained to the ref that he either had something on him or he was a real sweaty guy," said Layman, who won a 12-6 decision. "In the third period, I couldn't get into the referee's position because this morning I hit my knee somehow and it was swollen all day. I had ice on it all day at home, but warming up for the match it started swelling up again.

"I couldn't really shoot nice singles because I was worried about my knee. I really would have liked to wrestle a lot better than that, but under the circumstances I'm happy."

Going into their heavyweight championship bout, Old Mill's Don Marco and Oakland Mills' Monte Spencer were tied as the state's second-ranked wrestlers.But Spencer (32-1) defeated Marco for the second time, 6-3, in a thrilling display of technique and finesse by both grapplers.

Beside Marco, the Patriots' Steve Lundstrom (103, 27-4), John Bliss (140, 27-7), John Earle (152, 18-7) and Sun Park (189, 18-6) finished as runner-ups. Vytas Dulys (112) was third and Bob Sugden (119) was fourth for the Patriots.

In all, 34 county grapplers finished among the top four to qualify for the state tournament, including the nine individual champions.

Broadneck will send six, including their two individual champions -- fifth-ranked 103-pound sophomore Charlie Bennett (30-2) and top-ranked junior Shawn Miller (30-0, 24 pins).

Bennett took a 2-1 lead in his series with Lundstrom. His five third-period points broke open a close match for an 11-5 victory. Miller, who pinned South River's Billy Whitcher for his second county title last week,had to settle for a 15-2 major decision Saturday.

Vin Gerrior (125) was a runner-up for the Bruins while Seth Lopatkiewicz (152) and Dave MacCauley (160) were third. Broadneck's Jon Paez (135) was fourth.

For Annapolis, top-ranked 145-pounder Pat Flynn (30-0) and sixth-ranked 140-pounder Chip Cochran (30-1) each defeated their opponentsfor the third time this season.

Flynn downed Meade's third-rankedLuther Scott (26-3), 6-1, and Cochran edged Bliss, 3-2, after havingpinned him for the county title a week earlier.

"(Bliss) was moreintense and I knew he'd really be out to get me after what happened last time," said Cochran, a junior transfer from St. Mary's who was 26-3 last year. "I usually count on getting the first takedown, but hetook that away and I was lucky to get the stalling point. But I knewhe was a better wrestler than the last time we met. I give him a lotof credit."

Annapolis' Tom Sfakiyanudis (135) was third and KevinOwen (112) and heavyweight DeMond Galloway were fourth.

Ninth-place South River had one champion in 152-pounder Brian Hunt (29-1-1). Hunt, who won the county title last week, grabbed a 5-1 victory over Earle. Whitcher and fourth-place 145-pound teammate Jim Chomas will join Hunt in the state tournament.

Chesapeake's top-ranked 125-pounder Brian Eveleth (30-0, 20 pins) will be his team's only state tournament representative next weekend. He pinned his way through the tournament with only Gerrior lasting past the first period.

"I've been working to get pins, but I have a little trouble with people who aren't aggressive and (Gerrior) wasn't being aggressive," said Eveleth, who was 25-0 last year when a rotator cuff injury ended his season after he won the county title. "I've been waiting for this all summer. This and states I've been really working hard for."

For sixth-placeArundel, Brian Richards (189) and Pat Beach were third and Greg Booth (171) was fourth. Severna Park (14th) will send Paul Eheman (140) and Scott Woodland (130), who were third and fourth respectively, and North County will send fourth-place Sam Paik (103) to the states.

Earle and Park were surprise finalists for the Patriots, as was Gerrior for Broadneck.

Earle (152) rebounded from a hamstring pull which kept him from wrestling in the county tournament. Between a first-round decision and a semifinal major decision, Earle beat Broadneck's Seth Lopatkiewicz, 16-9, in overtime to avenge an earlier loss.

Although he was beaten in the finals by Linganore's second-ranked ChrisButler, Park (18-6) had wrestled impressively.

Park, who was pinned by South River's Brian Anderson in their county championship bout last week, handed Anderson only his third loss with a 13-8 overtime upset victory in the quarterfinals. Anderson was later eliminated in the consolation rounds.

Park also scored a semifinal major decisionover Howard County champion Dominique Pierre-Toussaint to reach the finals.

Gerrior, who was fourth in the county tournament, edged Oakland Mills' two-time county champion Adam Seidman, 2-1, in a controversial overtime semifinal bout.

The taller Gerrior trailed, 1-0, with only 30 seconds left in the final overtime period but used his muscle to shove Seidman around the mat. When Seidman backed away to avoid contact, the referee twice nailed him for stalling points -- the second coming as the buzzer sounded to end the match.

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