No. 3 River Hill pries county championship away from Hammond; Lauer wins third straight county crown; Hawks end Bears' title streak at four


River Hill won its first Howard County wrestling championship with a record-setting victory over runner-up Hammond, 258-237.5, ending the Bears' streak of four straight county titles.

The third-ranked Hawks sent nine wrestlers to the finals and won three individual titles. The 258 points broke Hammond's record of 254 points set in 1998.

Two-time state champion Brandon Lauer, wrestling in his last county tournament, led the Hawks by winning his 125-pound championship bout over Brian Radik of Atholton, 18-5. Lauer, who did not wrestle his freshman year, won his third straight county title and improved his career record to 104-0. He was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

"We wanted to show Hammond that we're legit and gain respect throughout the state," said Lauer, ranked No. 3 in the nation by USA Wrestling.

River Hill's Ryan Green (119 pounds) and Jason Fawcett (171 pounds) each won their second straight county titles. Green improved his record to 26-3 and Fawcett is 30-1.

No. 15 Hammond sent five wrestlers to the finals, and Jason Freiert (112), Ryan Mackin (130), Joey Killo (135), Rob Osborn (140) and Kevin Chrapaty (160) all won titles. It was Freiert's second county title.

"River Hill caught some good breaks but they wrestled hard and deserved to win," Freiert said.

Osborn, who decisioned Matt Shevland of River Hill, 5-2, said: "We wrestled great, but River Hill wrestled super."

Osborn and his teammates presented River Hill with the championship trophy.

Oakland Mills had two county champs, Neal Nakagama at 103 pounds and heavyweight Rob Scott, who survived a scare from Wilde Lake sophomore Pat Burns to win a 7-6 decision. Scott is 23-1, finished third at states and was the defending county champ.

"I didn't think it would be that close," said the 206-pound Scott, who was giving up 50 pounds. "He was intimidating. You all might think I'm Superman, but it hurts when I get hit and those headlocks hurt."

Burns upset second-seeded Karol Gryczynski of Mount Hebron in the semifinals, 6-1.

Atholton sent five wrestlers to the finals and won two titles. At 189 pounds, Brian Mullinix won by technical fall over Wilde Lake' Mike Davis, 18-3. Mullinix survived a tough semifinal match against Howard's Joey Tortella, wining 6-4 on a takedown with three seconds left. Atholton finished third with 184 points.

At 145 pounds, Atholton's Adam Roth defended his county title, decisioning Mount Hebron's Mike Mengel, 8-3. Roth, a junior, improved his record to 30-4.

Wilde Lake sent two to the finals and won a title at 152 pounds, where senior Jimmy DiPietro took a major decision over Justin Clark of River Hill, 11-3. DiPietro is 22-3.

"He beat me by a point last year so today was revenge for me," DiPietro said. "I dedicated this match to a former teammate who is seriously ill."

Clark produced the biggest upset of the tournament when he defeated top-seed Chuck Fries of Long Reach in the semifinals, 5-1.

Pub Date: 2/20/00

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