Four are shooting for titles


Four Anne Arundel County wrestlers will be among the contenders when the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference tournament takes place this weekend at Mount St. Joseph.

Lou Ruland of St. Mary's, who was a conference tournament runner-up last year, will be one of the favorites in the 125-pound class.

Chris Laidley of Archbishop Spalding and Adam Palumbo of Annapolis Area Christian School will vie in the tough 119-pound division, and Pat McMahon, a teammate of Palumbo's at AACS, is primed for the 130-pound event.

Ruland, who was 43-3 last year and third in the National Preps as a sophomore, moved up to 125 this year and is ranked fifth in the metro area by The Sun.

The main competition for Ruland figures to come from Archbishop Curley's Mitch Fenton and Mount St. Joseph's Greg Gold, who are ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in The Sun.

Laidley and Palumbo will wrestle in a class in which the defending champion is Mount St. Joseph's Danny Whitenak, who is The Sun's No. 1-ranked 119-pounder. Laidley, a senior, is ranked No. 5 and Palumbo, a junior, is No. 6.

Laidley, the defending private schools champion, is a longtime rival of Palumbo. The latter's brother, Jake Palumbo, is the AACS coach, and the two are in a long line of Palumbos on the local wrestling scene.

McMahon is ranked third in the metro area behind No. 2 Curtis Holmes of McDonogh. The 130-pound title this weekend could come down to those two, each of whom has 29 wins.

The Anne Arundel County public schools wrestling championships are set for Feb. 17-18 at Annapolis.

Streaking Patriots

The No. 6 Old Mill boys basketball team set a school record with its 15th consecutive victory, a 70-41 rout of Glen Burnie Friday night.

Also, the Patriots' No. 6 ranking in The Sun's poll is the highest in school history.

Old Mill's only loss this season came at the hands of top-ranked Mount St. Joseph, 62-43, in mid-December.

Coach Greg Smith's Patriots were 17-1 after defeating Glen Burnie, which is undefeated and in first place in both Anne Arundel County and the Class 4A East region.

As defending county and regional champions, they're looking for encores and a return to the state 4A final four.

"Our goal is to win the county and region and get back to the Comcast Center [site of the state tournament]," said Smith, who is in his sixth season and led the Patriots to a school record for wins (23-4) last season.

"This team is so unselfish. They don't care how we get there as long as we get there. They distribute the ball. We have no egos on this team and nobody is cocky. They have a lot of confidence in each other."

New soccer coaches

Shawn Behegan is the new boys soccer coach at Glen Burnie. Behegan, who was an assistant with the Gophers in 2001-04 under Ron Smith, whom he replaces, is a 1994 graduate of Glen Burnie and 2000 graduate of the University of Maryland.

Smith, also a Glen Burnie alumnus, is not a teacher, and Behegan is. Teachers are given first priority and Behegan was one of at least two teachers who applied for the job, along with Smith.

Denison Cabral of the Blast has been named boys soccer coach at St. Mary's, and Kristen Buckley is the Saints' new girls soccer coach.

Cabral replaces Myles Healy, who led the Saints to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title last fall, but had to step down for family reasons.

Buckley played at St. Mary's and on a University of Michigan Big 10 championship team. She was an assistant at Severn the previous two years and replaces her former coach at St. Mary's, Jerry Tobin.

Tobin resigned to spend more time with his accounting business.

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