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Arundel County team previews Local Sports: Wrestling Previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1995-96 record: 7-2

Coach: Dick Bitzer

Top wrestlers: Christian Early, Sr., 135; Todd Temple, Sr., 160-171; Matt Aird, Sr., 189; Jeff Wetzold, Sr., 152; Justin Peake, Jr., 119; Jake Palumbo, So., 112.

Outlook: Bitzer's squad is a good combination of youth and experience, with Temple, who placed sixth in last year's private schools' state tournament, Aird (a 19-11 record), Early (20-11) and Palumbo (13-11). Wetzold won 14 bouts, and Peake, 11. "We have seven wrestlers with significant varsity experience and 17 rookies -- with a number challenging from JV," said Bitzer, who had a turnout of 40.

Annapolis Panthers

1995-96 record: 3-8

Coach: Dave Gehrdes

Top wrestlers: Gideon Lukens, Sr., 140-145; Ken Skinner, Sr., 145-152; Jeff Childs, Jr., 152-160; Buster Patterson, Jr., 112; Andrew Heminger, So., 140-145; Ryan Wheeler, So., 189; Dan Heminger, So., 103; Nate Brooks, So., Heavyweight.

Outlook: "It's been a big year," said Gehrdes, who coached last spring's girls' lacrosse team to a Class 4A state crown and just weeks ago witnessed the birth of his fourth child -- his third daughter. County runner-up Andrew Heminger and Lukens are among six returning starters, and with the county's parity, look for Gehrdes' luck to continue with an improvement over last year. The Panthers play host this weekend to a 15-team tournament.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995-96 record: 3-7

Coach: Frank Buckland

Top wrestlers: Jimmy Foster, Sr., 130-140; Zain Marfani, Sr., 189; Tom Bunce, Sr., Heavyweight; John Seitz, Jr., 135; Jason Heffernan, So., 145.

Outlook: First-year coach Buckland likes what he sees after his Cavaliers' seventh-place finish at last weekend's Maryland Catholic Invitational at Curley. Marfani (third), Seitz (fourth), Bunce (fourth), Foster (fifth) and Heffernan (fifth) all wrestled well. Spalding wrestles this weekend at St. Michael's Tournament, where they tied for second last year.

Arundel Wildcats

1995-96 record: 12-3

Coach: Buddy Hepfer

Top wrestlers: Isaac Haertel, Sr., 152-160; Wayne Nichols, Sr., 135; Nick Smith, Sr., 140; Graham Harris, Jr., 145; Brian Schroeder, Jr., 130; Rob Connolly, Jr., 160; Matt Neidig, So., 171; Jeff Blachley, So., 189; Pat Crouse, So., 119; Pat Ortman, So., 125; Greg Klingler, So., 112.

Outlook: Hepfer likes the talent on this year's squad but knows success depends on the senior leadership he gets, particularly from Haertel, who can become Arundel's first three-time state place-winner, having twice been runner-up. The Wildcats will compete in this weekend's Meade Tournament.

Broadneck Bruins

1995-96 record: 14-2

Coach: Andy Claxton

Top wrestlers: Jesse Young, Sr., 189; Nate Kern, Sr., Heavyweight; Matt Ormsby, Sr., 135; Ben Helbig, Sr., 130; Reese Donner, Jr., 112; Dave DeSable, So., 125.

Outlook: The Bruins have talent but lack big-time experience with only one returning state qualifier in Young, who was third in both the county and regions. Ormsby and Donner each were fourth in the county, and Helbig was county runner-up two years ago. DeSable, winner at last year's Annapolis Tournament, was 19-2.

Chesapeake Cougars

1995-96 record: 7-7

Coach: Tom Slichter

Top wrestlers: Carl Cicchetti, Sr., 152; Chad Duncan, Sr., 171; Ryan Howard, Jr., 125.

Outlook: "I've got loads of ninth graders," said Slichter, who has lot of junior-league talent in the room. Slichter calls this "a team of the future," but if he gets the leadership he needs from Duncan (19 pins) and Cicchetti, who was fourth in the county's as a sophomore, the future could very well be now.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1995-96 record: 0-13.

Coach: Bruce Sider

Top wrestlers: James Gillespie, Sr., 160-171; Steven Eide, Sr., 152.

Outlook: Seven starters return, but Gillespie, a fourth-place county finisher, is the veteran. "We had 32 kids out and should fill all of the weight classes," Sider said. "We're looking toward improving."

Meade Mustangs

1995-96 record: 8-6

Coach: Pat Arvidson

Top wrestlers: Dave Curry, Sr., 189-Heavyweight; Ace Custodio, Sr., 119; Joey Pandullo, Jr., 152; Matt Pandullo, So., 112; Kenny Thomas, Jr.,, 130; Godfrey Garrett, Jr., 189.

Outlook: After coaching the Mustangs last year to their first winning season, including a shocking upset of Northeast, Scott Jacoby took a job in Cleveland. But Arvidson inherited a good program and a 28-wrestler turnout, with Matt Pandullo (28-5, third county, third region), Curry (fourth county), Custodio (fourth county, fourth region) and JV county champs Thomas and Garrett. Joey Pandullo will look to improve on a winning record.

North County Knights

1995-96 record: 7-5

Coach: Larry Radford

Top wrestlers: Tony Chase, Sr., Heavyweight; Tom Lathroum, Sr., 160; Witi Aye, Jr., 152; Mike Parks, Jr., 145; Ben Lantagan, Jr., 112; Tim Milauakas, Jr., 140; Michawn Yuvenico, Jr., 171.

Outlook: Radford has seven wrestlers back from a team that posted its first winning season and nearly upset Broadneck and Old Mill. Showing early promise are Aye (third county, fourth region), Parks (third county), Chase (15 wins) and Milauakas, a JV place-winner. "I have a good bunch of ninth-graders and first-year athletes whom I expect to improve fast," Radford said.

Northeast Eagles

1995-96 record: 13-3

Coach: Al Kohlhafer

Top wrestlers: Tyrone Eaton, Sr., 152-160; Anthony Brown, Sr., 145-152; Tony Serio, Sr., 189; Shaun Maurer, Sr., 152-160; James Fleming, So., 112-119; Bobby Couch, So., 103-112; James Bowman, Fr., 152-160.

Outlook: The Eagles, for the first time in about five seasons, won't return a state place-winner. But they have a solid corps of wrestlers. "We have four seniors and a very young team. It'll be more fun because there's less pressure," said Kohlhafer.

Old Mill Patriots

1995-96 record: 7-5

Coach: Mike Hampe

Top wrestlers: Gary Serago, Sr., 135-140; Gary Ardis, Sr., 152; Ben Hines, Sr., 189; Dan Johnson, Sr., Heavyweight; Rich Sampson, Jr., 130-135; Chris DeAdder, Jr., 119; Eric DeCosmo, Jr., 145; Chris Combs, So., 103-112.

Outlook: Last year's team lost five matches for the first time in Hampe's 23-year tenure (227-33-3), but this year's squad looks to rebound with three returning state qualifiers and others, such as Hines and JV county champs DeAdder and Johnson. "We should be a notch up from last year," Hampe said.

Severna Park Falcons

1995-96 record: 3-11

Coach: Ralph Toomey

Top wrestlers: Mike Stewart, Sr., 125; Chris Sergeant, Sr., 171; Josh Grady, Jr., 130; Darren McAllister, Jr., 160; John Sergeant, Jr., 189; Steve McManamay, So., 112; Matt Negretti, Fr., 119; Danny Fitzgerald, Fr., 103; Pat Sergeant, Fr., 145.

Outlook: The Falcons have faired well in scrimmages. John Sergeant was JV county champ, Fitzgerald, Negretti, Pat Sergeant and McAllister all have junior-league experience. County runners-up Stewart (third region) and Chris Sergeant need to step up and lead by example if the Falcons are to have an impact in the county title chase.

South River Seahawks

1995-96 record: 6-8

Coach: Ricky Day

Top wrestlers: Ryan Holiday, Sr., 189; Tom Ruel, Jr., 130; Travis Potter, Jr., 135; Dan Summey, Jr., 160; Eric Davis, So., 103.

Outlook: A turnout of 37 wrestlers makes this year's team "a little more solid" than last year's, said Day, adding: "We graduated a ** lot," including the school's first state champ, Gene Reid. "But if a couple kids step up, we'll be fine."

Southern Bulldogs

1995-96 record: 3-7

Coach: John Mayberry

Top wrestlers: Rod Holland, Sr., 145; Jerome Hurley, Jr., 160-171; Phil Glen, Jr., 140-145; Scott Bonds, Jr., 125; Nick Alley, So., 103.

Outlook: Gone to graduation is three-time state champ Tyrone Neal Jr. But with a turnout of 23 wrestlers, it looks like Mayberry, formerly Broadneck's coach, will have a full team. Bond (third county) and Alley, a former junior leaguer, should give Southern a good start in most matches.

St. Mary's Saints

1995-96 record: 8-6

Coach: Pat Maher

Top wrestlers: Josh White, Sr., 171, Ernie Listman, Sr., 189; Todd Simpson, Jr., 135-140.

Outlook: White and Listman, winners of the season-opening Maryland Catholic Invitational at Curley, are each 3-0, and Simpson split victories with Spalding's Jimmy Foster. It was a good finish -- fifth place -- for a team that was missing three wrestlers. Look for the Saints to develop as a tournament team and to play the spoiler role in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association dual meets.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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