High school wrestling is a huge step up from the recreational level, says South Carroll sophomore Mike Chenowith.
"Guys up here are a lot stronger than they are in rec," said Chenowith, a 160-pounder. "I've been lifting weights to try and keep up with these guys."
If last weekend's Cougar Invitational at Anne Arundel County's Chesapeake High is any indication, Chenowith is more than holding his own.
In the title bout of the tournament, Wrestling notebook
Chenowith (8-0) registered his sixth fall in just one minute, 47 seconds, but his toughest battle was in his come-from-behind, 14-13 semifinal victory over Mount St. Joseph's Seth St. Vincent.
St. Vincent had entered the bout with a 6-1 record and four pins, having won the season-opening Maryland Invitational at Archbishop Curley, along with a runner-up Annapolis tournament finish.
St. Vincent built an 11-5 lead on Chenowith, who nearly folded before mounting a comeback.
When he first got me on my back, I thought I was gone," said Chenowith. "But after I re-rolled him off my back, he started wearing down toward the end."
Said South Carroll coach Pete Olson: "Mike's not gonna get muscled by these guys. He's pinned his way out of a lot of trouble."
South Carroll (153 points) finished fifth in the 12-team affair behind Mount St. Joseph, Northeast, and Frederick -- ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 7, respectively, by the Maryland State Wrestling Association -- and fourth-place host Chesapeake.
Last year's Cavaliers also finished fifth, with a third-place finisher and two fourth-place efforts.
This year, Charlie Conoway (145, 7-1) was third, losing only 8-5 to Chesapeake's eventual runner-up Steve Davis (5-1). Conoway, a junior-league state runner-up last season, has pinned in all of his victories.
PD Bob Mann (125) was fourth, and three other Cavaliers were fifth.
North Carroll's streak of nine McDonogh tournament victories may have been snapped by Hanover (Pa.), but the Panthers still left with champs in No. 4 Doug Dell (119, 8-1), No. 4 Tommy Kiler (135, 9-0) and No. 2 Chris Boog (171, 9-0), with runners-up Ed Davis (103, 8-1), No. 6 Corey Rill (8-1), No. 6 Eric Hott (7-2), Saidrick Lewis (152, 8-1) and Bill Beltz (heavyweight, 7-3).
The Panthers' Jeff Meyers (160) was third after losing 4-3 in a near upset of McDonogh's No. 4 Martius Harding, the eventual champ.
"Meyers had a lead, and if the match was shorter, he might have won," said North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein, who called Davis' 12-10 loss to Hanover's Jeremy Reck one of the best matches he's seen in his 19 coaching seasons.
"From the opening whistle, there was no dancing, no stalling, no messing around. It was just two kids getting after each other," Bauerlein said.
Led by Matt Warner (119, 3-0), Andy Cromey (125, 4-0) and Leo Baines (152, 5-0), Westminster (124 points) was a runner-up to Loyola (157) in the six-team, round-robin Quaker Invitational at Friends over the weekend.
Francis Scott Key plays host to Hagerstown power Smithsburg tomorrow night.
Also tomorrow night, North Carroll travels to North Harford for a tri-match that includes Cecil County power North East.
1. Mount St. Joseph (1-0) .. 120
Northeast (3-0) .............. 112
3. North Carroll (3-0) .......... 104
4. Francis Scott 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.