A 3-2 decision by state champ Tony Russo of Calvert Hall over Blair Academy's two-time National Prep runner-up Jody Giuricich was among the highlights of yesterday's 16th annual Gilman Duals.
The 145-pound Russo began the day by avenging last year's 2-1 loss to Giuricich, and later, scored a first-period pin and a technical fall. Russo was joined in victory by teammates Chris Knox (112) and Sean Ireland (160) in going unbeaten.
Knox, Russo and Ireland earned gold medals for winning their weight classes, along with Gilman wrestlers Damien Davis (189) and Mike Faust (Hwt.), Spalding's Jason Heffernan (189) and Loyola's Danny Natterman (103) and Billy Rovito (135).
Blair Academy won the title, 38-29, over DeMatha of Hyattsville, coached by Elkridge resident Dick Messier. The Stags' Wes Cummings (171), ranked No. 1 nationally, notched his 200th career win.
Gilman was fourth in the eight-team event, Loyola, fifth, Calvert Hall, seventh and Spalding finished eighth.
A goalie with a lacrosse scholarship to Ohio State, Russo is a member of the fellowship of Christian Athletes, a peer educator speaking out on topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, and a Police Athletic League (PAL) volunteer.
On the mats this year, Russo has beaten state runner-up Joe Sargent (DeMatha), Westminster's John Muse (fourth at states) and Damascus' fourth-ranked T. J. Salb. He's lost overtime bouts to Drew Robertson (DeMatha) and Paul Boettcher (Curley), who are ranked No. 1 in Maryland at 145 and 152, respectively.
"I showed a lot of movement [when] on our feet, gave Giuricich some angles," Russo said. "Not to take anything away from what I did, but I'm not sure he was at his best."
However, Giuricich, ranked No. 1 nationally by The Prep Page, went on to beat Robertson, 5-2 -- his second victory of the season over Robertson.
Knox had two pins and a technical fall to go 3-0 in the event for the second straight year. Ireland, back wrestling for only a couple weeks, twice used the split-cradle for first-period pins, winning his other match, 8-0.
For Gilman, state champs Davis and Faust each went 3-0. Faust pinned twice and avenged an earlier loss by beating DeMatha's top-ranked Mark Hayes, 5-2. Faust simply out-worked Hayes, who out-weighed Faust by 61 pounds.
"The first time we wrestled, I wasn't in shape to put on that kind of pressure for all six minutes," said Faust, who is 26-1. "He got a late takedown last time when I bailed out on a single-leg shot. This time, I kept my weight on it."
Davis' 3-2 victory over Delaware state champ Pete Santoro (St. Mark's) came against a wrestler who had beaten him three times, twice by major decisions.
"Winning states was awesome, but right now, this is better," said Davis, who also bounced DeMatha's Flynn Ficker, 9-0, scoring seven points in the final period.
Sixth-ranked Heffernan did not face Davis, who has beaten him twice, but improved to 27-4 with three pins. Heffernan took 1: 15 to pin Woodberry Forest's J. D. Patton, who lost 7-2 to Davis.
Rovito had two pins and an 11-1 decision. Natterman scored a technical fall, a major decision and a forfeit.
Pub Date: 1/31/99