CO-WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR
Nakasone (35-0) capped an undefeated season at 152 pounds with his second straight state title, earning a decision over Darric Kamp of Northern-Garrett in the final, 19-11. It was Kamp's second loss this season. In the semifinals, Nakasone beat Chip Purnell of Stephen Decatur, another wrestler with just one loss entering the bout. In pinning Charles Orme of Southern of Anne Arundel to win his second regional title, Nakasone helped the Eagles win the Class 2A-1A South, the school's first regional title. At the Howard County tournament, Nakasone won his first title after finishing second the year before, earning a major decision over Zak Porta of Mount Hebron, 17-8. Nakasone also won the McDonogh, Franklin and Arundel tournaments and finished with 18 pins. He has a career record of 97-21 with 52 pins and a 42-match winning streak. He said his toughest match this season was against McDonogh's Travis Holmes, a 5-4 victory. Nakasone is also impressive in his studies, holding a 3.7 grade-point average.
Like his twin brother, Mark completed an unbeaten season of his own (36-0), winning his first state championship after finishing third last year. By earning a decision over 145-pound Devin Hewitt of Williamsport, 11-9, Nakasone became only the sixth Centennial wrestler to win a state title. He won his second straight regional title by decisioning Mike Dowling of Southern-AA, 11-6. And he won his first county title, after finishing third the previous season. Nakasone pinned Ryan Shevland of River Hill, a county champion the previous year, in 3:45. Nakasone also finished first at the McDonogh, Arundel and Franklin tournaments. His career mark is 85-23 with 26 pins, and off the mat, he holds a 3.8 GPA. His toughest opponent was Owings Mills' Mike Kessler, who fell to Nakasone in overtime in the state semifinals.
COACH OF THE YEAR
In his 32nd season of coaching wrestling, seventh at River Hill, Lauer had an impressive season: His Hawks soared to five championships, including their first dual-meet state title, a 31-18 victory over La Plata.
River Hill also won the county and regional dual-meet titles, as well as the county and regional tournament titles. In the county tournament, the Hawks beat runner-up Centennial by 42 points (246 1/2 -204 1/2 ).
In winning its fourth straight county tournament title, River Hill matched the record for longest streak, set by Oakland Mills (1977-80, 1985-88) and matched by Hammond (1996-99). The Hawks also won their fourth county dual-meet title in five years.
Returning 10 starters and three county champions from a 16-4 season a year ago, the team compiled a 23-3 dual-meet record -- the program's best -- and didn't lose to a Maryland team. Two of the losses were to Colonial Forge (Va.) and one to Conestoga (Pa.). The Hawks finished second in the River Hill duals, third at the Arundel Invitational and fourth in the Dallastown (Pa.) duals.
After third-place county and regional finishes as a sophomore, Brindza won the 112-pound-class county title with an 11-7 decision over Sean Vorsteg of Hammond. Brindza, only the second Glenelg wrestler to win a county title in five years, went undefeated against county competition and finished with a 30-7 record. He also won the 2A-1A South regional title on a pin. He's a member of the Maryland national team.
River Hill, junior
Cannon (135) improved upon his third-place county finish from a year ago to capture his first county championship, defeating Evan Bulger of Centennial, 6-5. He won despite having to overcome a great personal loss when his house burned down in January. Cannon (26-9) also finished third in this season's Arundel Tournament.
River Hill, junior
Cina (38-3) won the county championship, finished second in the region and third in the state tournament. A junior-national Greco-Roman champion and a three-time junior national high school All-American, he pinned Ethan Cohen of Hammond to win the county title. Cina (103) also won the Arundel Tournament. After losing to state runner-up James Knox of Dulaney, 5-0, in the 4A-3A North final, Cina defeated Justin Bowser of Arundel for third place at states. Cina also has a 4.0 GPA.
River Hill, senior
Fawcett (28-4) took advantage in the first season of the 215-pound weight class. He became a two-time county champion, pinning Austin Merson of Hammond in the championship match. A repeat All-County selection, Fawcett improved from third to first at the 4A-3A North regional tournament by defeating Joe Purpora of Bel Air, 6-1, in the final. He also finished sixth at the state tournament to conclude his career with 111 wins.
Wilde Lake, senior
In front of a cheering home crowd, Fields (160) won the county championship with a decision over River Hill's Thomas Perkins, 9-3. Fields was third in the county a year ago. He finished second at 4A-3A North regionals, getting pinned in the final by state runner-up Drew Winfield of South Carroll. Fields (26-10), who also earned second place at the Perry Hall Tournament, capped his season with a fifth-place state finish.
Mount Hebron, senior
A repeat county champion, Gormley (34-6) captured this season's 130-pound-class crown by defeating Mike Stromberg of River Hill, 11-1. A regional champ a year ago, he then finished second at the 4A-3A North regionals, losing to Mason Krumholtz of Kenwood, 3-2. Gormley capped his season with a fourth-place state finish, losing to Tom Wheeler of South Carroll, 8-3. Gormley was also an Edgewood tournament champion and runner-up at South River.
Oakland Mills, sophomore
In his first season of varsity competition, Josiah (15-8) won a county title, scoring an upset of River Hill's Ryan Lauer in the county semifinals, 18-8. He then piggybacked on that victory to a defeat of Sean Smith of Hammond in the final, 16-7. His only previous claim to fame was a second-place finish in the JV tournament last season. Not resting on his laurels, Josiah (119) finished second at the 2A-1A South regional tournament, losing in the final to three-time Baltimore City champion Nelson Moody of City, 6-4. He then finished sixth at states.
Oakland Mills, sophomore
Kendig (28-7) upset his way to the 171-pound-class county championship, decisioning Anthony Aiello of Centennial, 9-6, in the semifinals. He then knocked off Pat Wallace of Hammond in the final, 3-1. A former junior-leaguer who finished fifth in the county last season, Kendig took third in the 2A-1A South regional, beating Wallace, 3-2. He also finished fourth at Damascus and fifth at McDonogh.
Oakland Mills, junior
Plasse's fourth-place state finish ended an impressive season for the two-time county and regional finalist. Plasse (27-7) lost the county title to 125-pound Dominic Ventura of Centennial, 3-2. He slipped to fourth place at the 2A-1A South regionals, losing to Joe McKeever of Lackey, 11-6. Plasse also finished first at Damascus and second at McDonogh.
Not many wrestlers upset a defending county champ to win their first title. Sessa (189) did -- and got revenge for losing in the final to Phil Thomas the previous year, earning a 7-6 decision over the Howard wrestler. Sessa (33-5) took third at the 2A-1A South regionals, defeating Andrew Maas of Centennial, 22-7. But Sessa came on strong at states, finishing third with a 5-2 decision over Zach Sloane of Beall. Sessa also was third at the Hammond Invitational and first at the Francis Scott Key Invitational.
River Hill, senior
Shevland (140) repeated as a county champion by scoring a takedown on Centennial's Rob Richardson with four seconds left, earning a 10-8 decision. He finished third at the 4A-3A North regionals, decisioning Chris Yankosky of Franklin, 4-3. A repeat All-County selection, Shevland (35-4) went undefeated during the regular season and finished first at the Arundel tournament. Two of his losses this season were to state champ Sean Clark of Northwest in overtime.
River Hill, senior
The heavyweight did not wrestle the full varsity season, but he won the county title with a decision over Doug Smith of Wilde Lake, 9-7. Nicknamed "Stovetop," Stahovic parlayed that victory into a 4A-3A North regional title after pinning Jeff Ramsey of Fallston. He finished with 14 pins and a 21-3 record.
A county champion his junior season, Thomas (27-5) lost a heartbreaker to Steve Sessa of Hammond in this season's 189-pound-class county final, 7-6. He bounced back to win the regional championship over Joe Brown of Southern-AA, 8-3. And he went on to finish fifth at states. A repeat All-County selection, Thomas finished first at the Edgewood Tournament and second at Parkdale.
In one of the most competitive county-tournament matches, Ventura (32-5) edged Jeff Plasse of Oakland Mills for the county title, 3-2. Ventura (125) improved upon a previous fourth-place finish in the 2A-1A South regional; he lost to state runner-up Joe McKeever of Lackey, 11-6, in the final. Ventura won the McDonogh and Franklin tournaments and was second at Arundel. He finished sixth at states for the second straight season.
Co-Wrestlers of the Year: David and Mark Nakasone, Centennial Coach of the Year: Earl Lauer, River Hill First team
Weight Name School Class
103 Vince Cina River Hill Junior
112 David Brindza Glenelg Junior
119 Anthonio Josiah Oakland Mills Sophomore
125 Jeff Plasse Oakland Mills Junior
125 Dominic Ventura Centennial Junior
130 Grant Gormley Mount Hebron Senior
135 Kevin Cannon River Hill Junior
140 Nick Shevland River Hill Senior
145 Mark Nakasone Centennial Senior
152 David Nakasone Centennial Senior
160 Hamp Fields Wilde Lake Senior
171 Sean Kendig Oakland Mills Sophomore
189 Steve Sessa Hammond Sophomore
189 Phil Thomas Howard Senior
215 Jesse Fawcett River Hill Senior
Hwt. Daniel Stahovic River Hill Senior
Weight Name School Class
103 Ethan Cohen Hammond Sophomore
103 Mike Montanez Centennial Freshman
112 Sean Vorsteg Hammond Sophomore
119 Sean Smith Hammond Senior
119 Ryan Lauer River Hill Sophomore
130 Michael Stromberg River Hill Senior
135 Evan Bulger Centennial Junior
140 Rob Richardson Centennial Senior
145 Ryan Shevland River Hill Senior
152 Zak Porta Mount Hebron Senior
160 Thomas Perkins River Hill Junior
171 Pat Wallace Hammond Senior
171 Austin Sneeringer River Hill Senior
171 Kevin O'Connor Glenelg Sophomore
215 Austin Merson Hammond Senior
Hwt. Doug Smith Wilde Lake Senior
Note: Teams selected by Rick Belz after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.