Will weather jeopardize tourney?


The North Carroll Panthers will be seeking their eighth straight title when they play host to this year's county wrestling tournament.

The big question is when? The tournament is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. tomorrow, but more bad weather is expected, which could postpone or jeopardize the event.

"Right now we're looking at it as if we're not going to get the bad weather," said Bruce Cowan, the county's supervisor of athletics.

"If it needs to be rescheduled, we're going to do whatever we can to get it in."

The five county coaches were scheduled to meet last night to seed the wrestlers, but they postponed the meeting until tonight in hopes of completing all the county dual matches.

The latter doesn't appear likely with the Westminster-Francis Scott Key and South Carroll-Liberty postponed again yesterday and more bad weather forecast. North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein, however, said the seedings likely will be set tonight regardless of whether those two matches are completed.

"We plan on seeding the tournament [tonight] whether those matches get in or not. I don't ever recall having to do that before," said Bauerlein, in his 19th season as North Carroll coach.

"And then we have to worry about getting the tournament itself in with more bad weather supposed to be coming over the weekend."

Francis Scott Key coach Bill Hyson said the postponements that have plagued the entire season have been a big distraction.

"It's been a weird winter," he said.

"The hardest thing is not missing the practices, that's just part of the issue. The kids have done a good job of staying conditioned, but it's trying to get mentally prepared for a match and then having it canceled and then having to get back up for it.

"The team continuity suffers. You just take whatever hand you're given and do the best you can with it."

Nine county champions are back this season, including three two-time champions.

Five of those nine are from North Carroll, which clinched the regular-season title last Wednesday with a win over Francis Scott Key.

Doug Dell (119), Tommy Kiler (135) and Corey Rill (130) all won titles last year, and Saidrick Lewis (152) and Chris Boog (171) are looking for their third straight titles.

Defending state champion Randy Owings (135) is one of three Key wrestlers looking to win another county title. Owings, a zTC junior, won county titles in his freshman and sophomore years.

Zac Yinger (145) also is a defending champion, and senior Chris Beale (140) -- out of the tournament last year with an illness -- was a county champion as a sophomore.

South Carroll's Dan Peiffer (125) also will seek his second title. South Carroll coach Peter Olson also is looking for big things from sophomores Mike Chenoweth (160) and Charlie Conaway (152).

Liberty's Joe Smith (103) and Brian Seifert (112) will be factors at the lower weights. Phil Youssi also is having a solid year at 152.

Westminster, coming on of late with a 40-27 win over Liberty before dropping a tight 34-29 decision to South Carroll on Monday, will look to Matt Warner at 119.

"It should be very competitive," Bauerlein said.

"I think we should be in pretty good shape, but I'm not counting out Key. We don't want to look past the county tournament -- it's very important to us. We have several returning champions and some two-time winners. It's going to be fun."

Westminster was the last team to claim the county title other than North Carroll, which has won 10 of the past 11. The Owls were champions in the 1985-86 season.

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