Hereford's Asper eyes title

The Baltimore Sun

No. 6 Hereford's Josh Asper is a three-time state champion, but before he sets his sights on a fourth, he is looking to capture a title in the Mount Mat Madness Invitational, which began yesterday at CCBC-Catonsville.

This is the first time Asper and his team have wrestled in the fifth annual tournament, which is the largest invitational in the state. It features 29 teams from four states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Asper, who is trying to become Maryland's third four-time public school state champion, advanced to today's quarterfinals for 171 pounds by pinning both Dru Keyser of Boys Latin in 55 seconds and Tim Wood of Archbishop Curley in 1:47.

"This is one of the toughest competitions because there are so many out-of-state teams," Asper said. "There is also a couple of guys who compete in [Class] 1A and 2A that I don't see that often, but they are pretty tough also. This is going to help me prepare for matches later on."

Justin Fitch (135 pounds) of No. 1 McDonogh pinned Caravel's Justin Sturm in 5:08 in his only match yesterday. Fitch is a three-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private school state champion but finished second in last year's Mount Mat Madness.

"I never won this tournament, but I have been stuck with some pretty tough kids the past few years," Fitch said. "I want to dominate. I have been working hard on my technique, but this is about heart."

Defending tournament champion McDonogh has four No. 1 seeds - Nick Schenk (119), Shane Milam (152), Lane Clelland (285) and Fitch - and they all advanced.

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