A shiny new placard adorns the entrance to the Chesapeake High gymnasium, in posthumous dedication to former assistant wrestling and softball coach William E. Pritchard.
The sign reads: "Welcome to William E. Pritchard Gymnasium, recognizing selfless service to Chesapeake High School and courage to face life challenges with personal strength, dignity and leadership."
Pritchard's 28 years of teach- Wrestling notebook
ing included stints at Chesapeake High, Brooklyn Park and Corcoran Junior High, before he died at age 52, two summers ago, after a battle with cancer.
Pritchard spent some early years at Brooklyn Park, where he coached future Olympic silver medalist wrestler Lloyd "Butch" Keaser.
He was an art teacher at Chesapeake, but did everything from work the chains during football games, serve as interim softball coach during a season when the head coach was sidelined, and work as an assistant to present wrestling coach Tom Slichter.
The gym was re-named during a ceremony which preceded the finals of the Chesapeake Cougar Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday night.
"He was the kind of person who was never in the spotlight, but was always there when it came to doing what's necessary for the kids," said Slichter. "He was just a great guy."
Davis still does it
Chesapeake's Steve Davis (145, 5-1) suffered his first loss of the season, 8-0, as a runner-up to Linganore's John Chuckowski (7-0), who was first in last year's 3A-4A state tournament.
But Davis used a big win to reach the title bout, downing South Carroll's previously unbeaten Charlie Conoway (7-1, seven pins), who pinned his way to third place.
South River's sixth-place finish in the Lackey Invitational is even more impressive when the following facts are considered: Lackey (207 points, first) is ranked 10th by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, DeMatha (second) is ranked No. 6, Rockville (third) was fifth in last year's 1A-2A state tournament and Wheaton and Hammond (tied for fifth) are favored to win their leagues.
The Seahawks had a runner-up in Gene Reid (103), a third-place finish from Jeff Shrumm (119) and fourth-place efforts from Travis Murdock (112), Jamie Reid (130) and Chris Haines (189).
Reid scored a first-period pin and a technical fall before losing, 7-6, to Wheaton's No. 3 Scott Munsey in the title bout.
Tomorrow night, 3A-4A state champ Old Mill plays host to Broadneck and DeMatha, Arundel plays host to South River and Severna Park, and Annapolis plays host to 1A-2A state champ Northeast.
Arundel is coming off last week's tri-meet victory over Annapolis and Broadneck, and Old Mill vanquished Southern and South River, which visits Chesapeake on Thursday for another good match.
Also on Thursday, Broadneck visits Southern.
Against DeMatha last year, Old Mill barely improved its winning streak to 25 with a 34-26 victory.
The Patriots held a shaky 28-26 lead with one bout left, pitting Old Mill's 210-pound heavyweight Bob Shaffer against DeMatha's 270-pound Paul Fitzmaurice.
Shaffer, who had been pinned in his very first match of the season by a 275-pound wrestler, trailed Fitzmaurice, 2-0, when he countered a cradle pinning maneuver and scored a fall in 2:35 to secure the win.
Fitzmaurice is back at heavyweight, coming off of runner-up zTC finishes in the Annapolis and Lackey tournaments. He lost 7-1 to Mount St. Joseph's No. 5 Kenny Hunter at Annapolis, and 6-4 to Rockville's top-ranked state champ, Andy Stroud, at Lackey.
Both Old Mill's Jason Bryant, a 7-3 winner over Brian Page at 112, and DeMatha's Todd Beckerman, a 16-0, winner at 103, were victorious in last year's match.
Both have been wrestling at 112, with Bryant (7-0) -- ranked No. 3 in the state -- having won the season-opening, 30-team Northern Virginia Invitational, including a 6-4 decision over a wrestler who placed third in Virginia last season.
Beckerman is 10-0 with two pins, five technical falls and decisions of 9-0, 9-1 and 5-0. Having won tournaments at Annapolis, Curley's Maryland Invitational, and Lackey, Beckerman has outscored his eight route-going opponents by a combined 103-2.
In other bouts between returning wrestlers, DeMatha's No. 5 Jerry Sloan (130) -- winner of the weekend Lackey tournament -- won 6-5 over Old Mill's Dave Basta, who is now at 140; Don Patterson (189) pinned DeMatha's returning DeWayne Woodward, who this year has placed third at Annapolis.
1. Mt. St. Joseph (1-0) ... 120
2. Northeast (3-0) ........ 112
3. North Carroll (3-0) .... 104
4. F.S. Key (3-0) .......... 96
5. Old Mill (3-0) .......... 88
6. Aberdeen (3-0) .......... 68
7. Gilman (3-0) ............ 65
8. Hammond (1-0) ........... 62
9. Arundel (3-0) ........... 57
10. Eastern Tech (1-0) ..... 48
11. Perry Hall (3-0) ....... 45
12. Owings Mills (3-0) ..... 30
13. Broadneck (2-1) ........ 26
14. St. Paul's (4-0) ....... 18
15. Chesapeake-AA (1-1) .... 14
Other teams receiving votes, with record and points in parentheses: Loyola (1-0, 4), Towson (1-0, 2), South River (2-1, 1) Poll members: Wavie Gibson, Walbrook, Al Miller, Perry Hall, Jim Currie, Boys' Latin, Tom Slichter, Chesapeake-AA, Bill Smith, Hammond, Bill Hyson, Francis Scott Key, Kenny Bryant, C. Milton Wright, Lem Satterfield, The Baltimore Sun.