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Anne Arundel wrestling previews

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Public schools

Annapolis Panthers

1997-98 record: 2-8-1

Coach: Dave Gehrdes

Top wrestlers: Dan Hemminger, Sr., 119; Andrew Hemminger, Sr., 152; Steve Gioffre, Jr., 160; John Dalby, Sr., 125/130; B. J. Zedera, Soph., 103; Ed Parsley, Jr., 171/189.

Outlook: Gehrdes expects his Panthers to improve. The Hemminger twins are a good starting point. Andrew was first-team All-County last season, going 30-4 with county and region titles at 145. Dan held his own at 112, one of the county's toughest weight classes. A lot of the same wrestlers are back at the lower weights, and the heavier weights are a strength. "Last season, we lost four matches that came down to the heavyweight. We should be able to turn those around. We're healthy and deeper all the way through," said Gehrdes.

Arundel Wildcats

1997-98 record: 13-2

Coach: Buddy Hepfer

Top wrestlers: Pat Ortman, Sr., 130; Jeff Blachly, Sr., hwt.; Greg Klingler, Sr., 145; Matt Neidig, Sr., 171.

Outlook: "We'll be above average but no powerhouse. You only have teams like [last season's] every so often," said Hepfer, referring to his senior-laden Class 3A-4A state tournament champions. The Wildcats return some quality performers to go with JV newcomers. Ortman and Blachly were region champs and state runners-up. Klingler and Neidig add experience, but Ortman's steady points will be vital. "He's a four-year kid who earned his wings. He has experience, heart and takes a lot of pride in what he does," said Hepfer. "We'll put [the JV graduates] in there and let them go. It depends on how fast they come along."

Broadneck Bruins

1997-98 record: 3-11

Coach: Fred Yelton

Top wrestlers: Jake Dove, Soph., 112; Ricky Boulay, Jr., 125; Jimmy Melton, Jr., 130; Reid Bloomfield, Jr., 152; Adam Waddell, Sr., hwt.

Outlook: After ending last season with 19 wrestlers, Yelton has 49 for his second season. "With numbers, you have competition," he said. "There's a lot of intensity and enthusiasm in the room." Dove will set the tone early, with Melton, Bloomfield and Waddell anchoring the lineup. Boulay, a St. Mary's transfer, was 23-10 last winter. The return of injured sophomore Ben Cefaratti, out for three to six weeks, will help at 140 or 145.

Chesapeake Cougars

1997-98 record: 6-7

Coach: Tom Slichter

Top wrestlers: Matt Eveleth, Jr., 103; Jeff Eveleth, Jr., 112; Rex Miller, Sr., 119; John Mosca, Jr., 152; Tyrone Carter, Sr., hwt.

Outlook: One Eveleth was tough enough; now there are two. In his first varsity season last winter, Jeff was 29-6 at 103, a region champion, county runner-up and sixth statewide. He's moving up in the lineup, with brother Matt taking over at 103. "They're hard workers who never quit in that room. They're like machines, and it rubs off," said Slichter, who has 22 wrestlers. Mosca showed potential with a county semifinal upset last season of North County's WT Aye, a state champion who graduated. Carter, a standout football nose guard, brings intensity at heavyweight. George Maize (160), Cris Elliott (130), Mike Slichter (140) and Josh Metzer (135) can make impacts.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1997-98 record: 0-12

Coach: Jay Braunstein

Top wrestlers: Jason Ledger, Soph., 125; Scott Nugyen, Jr., 130; Dave Webster, Jr., 135; Justin Williams, Jr., 152.

Outlook: Braunstein, an assistant at wrestling-rich Old Mill the last nine seasons, starts from scratch at Glen Burnie, winless for two winters. Only 13 of 63 interested in October made the roster; after-school jobs took many of the rest. Only 11 made varsity, leaving two weights unfilled. "Short-term, we just want to make every kid better," said Braunstein. Williams, Webster, Nugyen and Ledger are his foundation.

Meade Mustangs

1997-98 record: 7-4

Coach: Charles Slider

Top wrestlers: Matt Pandullo, Sr., 119; Rene Rangel, Sr., 130; Kareem Fernandez, Jr., 140; Chris Whipple, Sr., 140/145; Mark Whipple, Sr., 152.

Outlook: Slider, an assistant under prior coach Pat Arvidson, brings an extensive background that includes coaching in Germany, Italy and Michigan. Pandullo, a second-team All-Metro pick who was 32-4 and fourth in the state last season, is part of a strong foundation. "He's becoming a technician, knowing how to set an opponent up. He can make them make mistakes and then work on it," said Slider.

North County Knights

1997-98 record: 9-5

Coach: Larry Radford

Top wrestlers: Brian Coe, Jr., 103; Pate Karopchinsky, Sr., 112; Rob Byrd, Soph., 130; Tavon Owens, Soph., 140; Matt Lathroum, Jr., 145.

Outlook: "This will be our learning season, and next season will be our rewarding season," said Radford. Lathroum, 16-17 last season, is the most experienced returnee. Coe and Owens got (( some varsity mat time last season. Karopchinsky is a senior leader.

Northeast Eagles

1997-98 record: 11-3

Coach: Al Kohlhafer

Top wrestlers: Bobby Couch, Sr., 125/130; Don Jarmer, Sr., 130; Dominic Serio, Sr., 135; Gino Serio, Soph., 135; Josh Diffendall, Sr., 145; James Bowman. Soph., 160; Tom Cain, Sr., 189; Jim Taylor, Sr., hwt.

Outlook: Couch will provide points, the middle weights are solid, and first-team All-County wrestlers Cain and Taylor can bring home wins in the heavy weights if the lighter Eagles can keep things close. Both won 32 matches, county titles, region second-places and state fourths.

Old Mill Patriots

1997-98 record: 16-1

Coach: Vern Hines

Top wrestlers: Adam DeCosmo, Soph., 119; Chris Combs, Sr., 125; Josh Liston, Sr., 130; Eric Hill, Sr., 135; Dave Hicks, Jr., 145; Tony Cooksey, Jr., 160; Derrick Dawson, Sr., 189; Dave Kim, Sr., hwt.

Outlook: Hines, an assistant for five seasons, becomes Old Mill's second coach, succeeding Mike Hampe, who retired after 22 seasons and seven state titles. Hampe, whose Patriots won their first state dual-meet title last winter, left the cupboard full. Combs, 23-2 last season, will try to become the school's first three-time state champ. DeCosmo (28-7), Liston (29-12), Hill (25-7), Hicks (29-7), Cooksey (17-12), Dawson (15-15) and Kim (19-17) give the Patriots one of the state's most dominating lineups. "We're looking to be more physical, more aggressive, bringing more of an attacking style. The practices have been intense," said Hines. "Everything goes through Arundel, our last match. To be successful, we have to win there."

Severna Park Falcons

1997-98 record: 9-5

Coach: Ralph Toomey

Top wrestlers: Socrates Mamalis, Soph., 103; Steve McManamay, Sr., 119; Dan Fitzgerald, Jr., 119; Dan Horne, Sr., 125; John Love, Sr., 145; Matt Negrete, Jr., 152; Dan Seger, Jr., 189.

Outlook: The Falcons broke through last winter, and Toomey has a strong nucleus to build on that success. McManamay, a four-season starter, was 23-15 and fourth in the region last winter. Fitzgerald (19-10) was another state qualifier. Toomey calls the lighter weights the team's strength. Negrete won 20 matches last season. Toomey hopes Seger (16-17), who came on strong last season, can provide points at the upper weights.

South River Seahawks

1997-98 record: 3-11

Coach: William Hoffman

Top wrestlers: Steve Darr, Jr., 112; Eric Davis, Sr., 119; Chris Spence, Sr., 125; Brian King, Jr., 135; Jon Senasack, Sr., 140; Kyle Ogan, Jr., 145; Jim Morris, Sr., 152; Kevin Glynn, Sr., 189.

Outlook: Hoffman, a Meade assistant last season, is South River's third coach in three seasons. "There hasn't been a lot of stability, but I plan on staying," said Hoffman. With 32 wrestlers, including 13 freshmen, Hoffman has a foundation. King, Darr and Ogan are team strengths.

Southern Bulldogs

1997-98 record: 10-5

Coach: Shawn Miller

Top wrestlers: Nick Alley, Sr., 119; Ryan Spannare, Jr., 125; Ben Thornton, Soph., 130; Chris Ditch, Sr., 171; Jeremy Reictchel, Sr., 189.

Outlook: "To be successful, you have to be close knit, like a

family," said new coach Miller, a Broadneck and 1997 Lock Haven (Pa.) University graduate. Alley, state champ as a sophomore two winters ago, was a 31-3 county titlist and first-team All-County wrestler last season. Ditch and Reictchel lead at the heavier weights. Spannare and Thornton will be keys to the future.

Private schools

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1997-98 record: 3-10

Coach: Dick Bitzer

Top wrestlers: Luke Palumbo, Soph., 103; Dustin Coombe, Soph., 119; Brian Mahaffey, Sr., 130; Alex Bitzer, Soph., 140; Mike Aird, Jr., 171.

Outlook: "This isn't going to be one of our stronger seasons as a team, but we have a couple individuals who should do well," said Bitzer, who has 24 wrestlers. Palumbo was 33-12 at 103 last winter, with thirds in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the state private-school tournaments and fifth at National Preps. Coombe and Bitzer are coming along, and Mahaffey and Aird provide leadership, the coach said.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1997-98 record: 7-4

Coach: Frank Buckland

Top wrestlers: Nick Dacheux, Sr., 119; Frank Pryor, Sr., 140; Andre Hussey, Jr., 145; Jason Heffernan, Sr., 189.

Outlook: "We've had some kids change sports and also some injuries," said Buckland, who has 16 wrestlers vs. 28 last winter. Heffernan, 34-7 last season, can out-muscle opponents. Hussey was 28-12 last season, his third. Pryor and Dacheux were winners last winter.

St. Mary's Saints

Coach: Bill Goulart

Top wrestlers: Ray Salas, Sr., 130/135; Ryan Vitalis, Sr., 103

Outlook: New coach Goulart has just 12 wrestlers, Salas and Vitalis the only ones with mat experience.

Pub Date: 12/06/98

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