Only three wrestlers will have the chance to repeat as county champs at this weekend's county championships.
River Hill's Brandon Lauer, the county champ at 103 last season, is top-seeded at 112 this season. Hammond's Vaymond Dennis, the county champ at 112 last season, is top-seeded at 135. Both are defending state champs, as well.
Oakland Mills' Jay Frizzelle, last season's county and regional heavyweight champ, is seeded only fifth this time. He missed several matches because of disqualifications and a shoulder injury, so he posted only two county wins.
Frizzelle's low seeding means the eagerly-awaited rematch of last season's county final against Hammond's Matt Nelson likely will take place in the semifinals, which start at 10 a.m. Saturday and will end at about 12: 30 p.m.
Frizzelle beat Nelson last year for the title in double overtime, 2-1. In their only meeting this season, both were disqualified.
Hammond, the three-time defending county champ and winner of five of the last six titles, captured last season's county tournament by scoring a record 254 points.
The Bears had 10 in the finals and won six individual titles. Hammond has the most top-seeded wrestlers again this season with six.
In addition to Dennis, who is 25-4, there are junior Jason Freiert, 27-3 at 103; senior Nick LaSalle, 22-8 at 130; senior Mark Read, 20-6 at 145; senior Pat Jameson, 21-8 at 152; and senior Matt Nelson, 20-4 at heavyweight.
"The 125, 140 and heavyweight classes will be the key weight classes for us," Hammond co-coach Paul DiRienzo said. "Rob Osborn  has the potential to do very well for us."
Hammond already has won the county and region dual-meet titles this season but lost the state title last Saturday to Overlea.
River Hill has four top-seeded wrestlers, including Lauer, a junior who is 27-0 and has won all 61 matches in his two-year career.
Other top-seeded Hawks are freshman Ryan Green, 21-5 at 119; junior Mike Romano, 19-7 at 125; and senior Jason Fawcett, 21-3 at 171.
Green is the only top-seeded freshman in the county.
Atholton, Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills each earned one top seed. The Raiders have sophomore Adam Roth at 140 pounds, the Vikings have senior Nick Cummins at 160, and the Scorpions have sophomore Rob Scott at 189.
The 125-pound class is expected to be the toughest with Romano, Howard's second-seeded Brian Frank, Glenelg's third-seeded John Clark, and Hammond's fourth-seeded Ryan Mackin capable of winning.
Frank defeated Romano, 15-4, this season. But Frank lost to Mackin, 3-2. Romano and Frank were county runners-up. Mackin is a sophomore who missed part of this season because of a knee injury.
Also highly competitive is the 130 weight class with LaSalle, River Hill's Derek Dauberman and Long Reach's J.C. Porter seeded one, two and three, respectively.
In all, seven county runners-up from last season are competing, including Romano, Howard's Matt Mongello, Frank, Jameson, Nelson, Read and Dauberman.
Mount Hebron has its best tournament team in years. The Vikings have three No. 2 seeds, freshman Mike Mengel (135), senior Jeff Walker (152), junior Karol Gryczynski (heavyweight) and a No. 4 seed, senior Tyler Rhoten.
Pub Date: 2/18/99