CO-WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR
* Marty Kusick, Northeast, Sr., 112, 36-0 -- A week after becoming the county's first four-time champion, top-ranked Marty (131-2 career) suffered a head injury just hours before the start of the 1A-2A East Region Tournament. But the injury, which required six stiches to close, didn't prevent this two-time All-Metro from winning his fourth region crown and his third state title. Kusick, who was third in the state as a freshman, had among his wins a 15-0 technical fall over state champ Insuk Choe (Quince Orchard); decisions of 13-3 and 9-2 over Arundel's state champ, Phil Schleifer; and a 10-1 romp over Riverdale Baptist's third-ranked Mike Torro. The only losses of Marty's career came by, 8-5, to eventual state champ Jeremy Myers (North Carroll) as a freshman in the state semifinals, and, 4-3, to DeMatha's three-time National Prep champ Todd Beckerman (152-1 career), whose only loss came by 8-7 against Marty two years ago.
* Mike Kusick, Northeast, Sr., 119/125, 37-1 -- During his 127-5 career, Mike, ranked No. 2 in the state, has not only won four county crowns like his younger brother, but he's won three regional crowns and made four appearances in the state finals, being second as a sophomore and winning three state crowns. Kusick's only loss this season came when DeMatha's Todd Beckerman scored a late takedown to win, 4-3. Kusick blanked Quince Orchard's state runner-up David Chee, 5-0, in the Arundel Tournament; scored a technical fall over Franklin's Son Nguyen (fourth in the states); scored a 7-0 victory over Calvert Hall's two-time National Prep runner-up Gino Amasia; and pinned Severna Park's former state runner-up Jamie Kuch. Mike won the Outstanding Wrestler trophy at this year's senior All-Star Classic. Behind the Kusicks, co-Wrestlers of the Year for the third straight time, Northeast has won two consecutive Anne Arundel County Tournament Crowns and a 1A-2A state title two years ago.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Nick Basta, Old Mill, Sr., 140, 18-8 -- Basta won his second straight county and regional titles and helped the Patriots by often weighing in at 130 or 135 against the opposing team's better wrestler. Basta, a state runner-up last year, had a pin, a technical fall over Chesapeake's Jason Schmitt and a 9-2 decision over Broadneck's Isaac Putnam in the regional tournament. His forte is technique.
* Adam Butts, Meade, Sr., 171, 32-2 -- Butts is ranked No. 2 with Tromaine Graves, with whom he split victories, being dethroned as county champ by Graves. Butts also owned an 8-6 decision over South Carroll's two-time state champ Mike Chenoweth, behind whom Butts was a state runner-up last year, and a first-period pin over Poly's Baltimore City champ Darnell Dezurn, who entered the bout at 25-1 with 20 pins. This year, Butts pinned his 21st, 22nd and 23rd opponents at the states before crushing Suitland's two-time Prince George's County champ, Dan Ropel, 15-4, in his state title bout. His best moves were from the neutral position, where he often tossed opponents to their backs.
* Mark Chesla, Arundel, Sr., 152, 34-2 -- Top-ranked Chesla, a 3.3 student who began wrestling as a freshman, became his school's first two-time state champion and won his second county and regional crowns along the way. The slick and flexible Chesla had 25 pins, but needed decisions of 4-2, 8-7 and 7-5 -- the latter in overtime over Old Mill's Mike Hines -- to win his second straight crown. He also bounced Lackey's 1A-2A state champ, Ryan Hersey, 8-2, and Friends' state runner-up, Ethan Goldberg, 11-6, to win the gold medal at this year's senior all-star classic.
* Mike DiLeonardi, Old Mill, Sr., 145, 30-7 -- DiLeonardi, ranked No. 6 in the state, added a state crown to his first county and second regional titles this year. In the state semifinals, he avenged a loss of a year ago, 3-1, over Howard's favored Eric Paskin, who entered their bout at 30-1 but finished third for the second straight season. DiLeonardi owns a 9-3 victory over Arundel's state champ Mark Chesla. He also downed Chesla's teammate, Isaac Haertel, four times, including the county, regional and state finals -- the latter by 8-6 on an overtime takedown.
* Travis Gottlich, Chesapeake, Sr., 103, 32-1 -- Gottlich, ranked No. 5 in the state, relied on conditioning and skills honed in the Navy's junior league program to pin 17 of his 33 opponents. Gottlich, who was 29-5 with 15 pins last season, this year won the Arundel, Aberdeen and 3A-4A East Region tournaments crowns for the second straight year. He also won his first county and Chesapeake Tournament titles. At the state meet, Gottlich held a 4-0 title bout lead over Quince Orchard's region champ Insuk Choe before Choe secured a late and controversial pair of near fall points to win, 6-5.
* Tromaine Graves, Sr., 171, 33-3 -- A county champ, a regional runner-up and a fourth-place finisher last year, Graves, ranked No. 2 in the state, won all three of those tournaments this year. In the process, he split victories with Meade's state champ Adam Butts, edged McDonogh's National Prep runner-up Martius Harding, 5-3, and twice beat Lackey's 189-pound state runner-up Scott Supulski, once pinning him. The slender Graves, cousin to coach Tyrone Neal Sr. and son, combined technique and power when he wrestled.
* Paul Hultgren, Old Mill, Sr., 130, 29-4 -- As a freshman, Hultgren suffered a career-threatening rib and hip injury in a car accident. But hard work and dedication turned him into a regional champ and one of the Patriots' school-record four state finalists and one of its two state champs as Old Mill won its sixth state crown in seven seasons. Hultgren, also a regional champ, faced last year's 130-pound runner-up, Alex Leanos (Dulaney), in the state title bout and ground out a 1-0 decision. Hultgren, whose brother, Todd, was a state champ two years ago, also owns a 6-2 victory over North Carroll's state champ Tom Kiler.
* Travis Murdock, South River, Sr., 119, 26-6 -- Murdock was overwhelming in this year's county meet, pinning all three opponents, including Broadneck's 3A-4A East Region runner-up James Donner, for the crown. Murdock, third in the 1A-2A East Region this year, had among this year's victories a 10-0 major decision over LaPlata's 3A-4A state runner-up Dan Wilkinson and two decisions over Northern's two-time regional champ Eric Miller. Murdock was third in last year's county meet and a runner-up in the region.
* Tyrone Neal, Southern, Jr., 130, 35-0 -- Neal, a state runner-up as a freshman, won his second straight 1A-2A state crown this year to tie his father, coach Tyrone Sr., a state champ at Southern in 1970 and 1971. A two-time county champ, Neal pinned 27 opponents this year, winning his third straight regional crown, running his unbeaten streak to 52-0, his two-year record to 67-1 and his career record to 85-10. Neal was top-ranked in the state all season.
* Don Patterson, Old Mill, Sr., 189, 32-2 -- Patterson won his second straight county title, a regional crown after being second last year, and was a state runner-up after being third the year before. He split wins with Catoctin's 1A-2A state champ, Shane Tiffany, pinning him once in 1:37 and losing the rematch, 6-5, on a reversal late in the final period. Patterson, a takedown specialist, was the team captain and leader on this year's Patriots squad.
* Jay Queer, Northeast, Sr., 135, 30-7 -- Queer was a county champ, placed third in the region and fourth in the state. He is a devastating finisher with 20 pins and five technical falls, and he split victories with Damascus' state runner-up Bobby Mann. In the first round of this year's state tournament, Queer, ranked No. 6 in the state, eliminated Smithsburg's Kris Dietrich, a third-place state finisher last year. A transfer from Glen Burnie, Queer was a county and regional runner-up last year.
* Detric Tyus, Meade, Sr., 160, 19-7 -- This county and regional champ was the epitome of coach Scott Jacoby's success: a wrestler with raw abilities and enthusiasm and an unyielding will to win. Seeded fifth at this year's county meet, Tyus used a pin and two decisions to win the crown. Seeded third at the regionals, he duplicated that effort for another title.
* Arto Vartanian, Broadneck, Sr., Hwt., 31-4 -- This 6-3, 275-pounder was a county and regional champ and placed fourth in the states. Vartanian, who pinned 26 opponents, lost his four bouts to a state champ, a state runner-up, a National Prep runner-up and a third-place state finisher. Vartanian was most impressive with his 14-second regional title bout pin of Queen Anne's 6-3, 250-pound Bob Burleson, and with falls of 30 and 25 seconds at the states.
COACH OF THE YEAR
* Scott Jacoby, Meade -- Jacoby has injected enthusiasm into a program at Meade which had been floundering with disinterest during previous years. "They won a match last year because Queen Anne's had six forfeits. Before that, they were 0-14 three straight years," said Jacoby, in his first year since assisting Tyrone Neal Sr. at Southern. This year, Jacoby coached his best wrestler, Adam Butts (171), to the school's first individual state title. Butts was among a state-record nine state champs from the county. Another Meade wrestler, Detric Tyus (160), whom Jacoby recruited from the hallways, won a county and a regional crown and won his first match at the state meet. A third wrestler, Dennis Harris (152), won 21 matches, was fourth in the region and will be a senior next season for the Mustangs (5-6 in the county, 6-8 overall), who enjoyed their best dual meet season in years.