Coach of the Year
Tom Slichter Chesapeake-AA
This was a fun 15th season and, possibly, the final one for coach Tom Slichter, who led the Cougars to his first 4A-3A tournament crown and the second overall for Chesapeake-Anne Arundel's program. Slichter coached the entire season while walking with a limp and supported by a cane, adding that whether or not he returns for a 16th season "depends on how my hip replacement surgery goes" in April. Slichter dyed his hair blonde like his wrestlers, who, on their coach's 43rd birthday, captured Slichter's 100th career dual meet win against Severna Park. Slichter dubbed wrestlers Steve Yaruta (103), Matt and Jeff Eveleth (119), John Mosca (160) and Melvin Guthrie (189) "The Fab Five." The "Fab Five" all reached the finals in tournaments at Chopticon and Aberdeen, and all five won region titles. The Eveleth brothers and Guthrie won state crowns, with Mosca and Yaruta finishing sixth. Slichter, who guided assistant Brian Eveleth to a state crown in 1991, became the first to coach three brothers to state titles. Slichter's Cougars pinned 36 opponents to win the Aberdeen Tournament for only the second time in his tenure. Slichter credited the "tremendous support of parents, faculty and the students throughout the season." Eight varsity lettermen should return next season, all of them sophomores and juniors.
Wrestler of the Year
Brandon Lauer River Hill, senior
Lauer's 111-0 career record made the three-time county, region and state champ only the state's third wrestler to go unbeaten over a career that lasted three or more seasons. The technically flawless wrestler with relentless intensity and no signature move also became a three-time All-Metro pick and The Sun's Wrestler of the Year for the second straight season. Lauer's 39-0 record this season was comprised of 26 pins, eight technical falls, four major decisions and a decision. This season, Lauer major-decisioned 130-pound state champ Adam DeCosmo (Old Mill), state runner-up Bryan Radik (Atholton), tech-falled state runner-up Stan Wagner (Franklin) and Severna Park's county champ Dan Fitzgerald (third at states) and pinned county champ Jim Starkey (North Hagerstown). Lauer was on his back for only the second time in his career during an 8-5 win over Wagner - his closest win - after being up, 8-0, with 11 seconds left. Lauer had two pins and two technical falls at states, the latter two over Fitzgerald and Wagner. A 3.7-GPA student bound for West Virginia on a wrestling scholarship, Lauer declined an invitation to the Dapper Dan Classic, where the nation's best seniors go against Pennsylvania's All-Stars to wrestle in this weekend's Senior Nationals. "Brandon is the complete package, a young man with a strong desire to excel in every aspect of his life," said West Virginia coach Craig Turnbull. "We believe he has the potential to be an NCAA champion at some point in his career." In July in Fargo, N.D., Lauer will try to improve on last summer's fifth-place finish at Junior Nationals. Lauer also has been invited to train with the Olympic team for one-week periods in April and June. Lauer's 10 varsity letters include seasons in soccer, wrestling, cross country and track.
Adam DeCosmo Old Mill, junior
The 130-pound junior won Anne Arundel County, region and 4A-3A tournament crowns for a 35-2 record after finishing second in all three as a sophomore. DeCosmo, whose 92 career wins are on pace to eclipse Chris Combs' school record of 120, edged Westlake's state runner-up Jason Peters (34-2), 11-9, for his state title after having defeated Peters in overtime for the Lackey Tournament title. The technically sound DeCosmo also had wins over South Carroll's Dan Patterson, who twice placed third at 4A-3A states, and Hammond's 140-pound Howard County champ Rob Osborn.
Trent Dixon Eastern Tech, sophomore
The 103-pound sophomore won his final 14 bouts en route to a 32-2 record that included Baltimore County, region and 4A-3A tournament titles. Dixon handed Paint Branch's Antonio Williams (35-1) his only loss in the state finals and also had wins over 2A-1A state runner-up Ryan Jackson (Perryville), Lansdowne's Shawn Sims (third at states) and C. Milton Wright's Will Hopson (third at states). Dixon was first at the Fallston and Edgewood tournaments and was runner-up at Dundalk. He twice avenged one of his two overtime losses.
Jeff Eveleth Chesapeake-AA, senior
The 119-pound senior's 34-0 record included his second straight Anne Arundel County, regional and 4A-3A state titles. A relentless, attacking wrestler, Eveleth defeated River Hill's Howard County and region champ Ryan Green in the state semifinals, and Franklin's state champ Matt Schuster in the finals. Eveleth, Anne Arundel County's Wrestler of the Year, won tournament crowns at Chopticon, Aberdeen and Dundalk and had an overtime win over Atholton's 125-pound state runner-up Bryan Radik. Eveleth, who wound up with 94 career wins, is bound for the University of Pennsylvania, where brother Brian was an All-American.
Matt Eveleth Chesapeake-AA, sophomore
This 112-pound sophomore displayed poise beyond his years in winning his second county and region titles and his second state title en route to going 34-0 with a single-season school-record 24 pins. A state runner-up last season, Eveleth scored two pins and a decision to reach the state finals against defending champ, Mark Heincleman of Magruder. After his initial flurry with Heincleman, who defeated Eveleth in last year's final, Eveleth winked at his brother, assistant coach Brian, before dictating all of the action in a dominant 4-3 win. Eveleth also had a win over Sparrows Point's 2A-1A champ Mike Weber.
Mike Faust Gilman, senior
The University of Pennsylvania-bound three-time All-Metro heavyweight won his third straight MIAA and private school state titles, and his second consecutive "Beast of the East" and National Preps crowns. Ranked the No. 1 senior nationally at 215 pounds and heavyweight by two publications, Faust did not allow a takedown all season in going 43-0 with 28 pins, eight technical falls and four major decisions. Faust's 142-6 career record includes a 79-bout winning streak and 84 pins. At "Beast of The East," considered the nation's No. 1 tournament, the 4.0 student won a weight class that included five other nationally-ranked wrestlers. Faust won his second straight McDonogh Tournament and his second straight Gilman Duals and Hammond tournaments.
Jason Fawcett River Hill, senior
The 171-pounder won his second Howard County title, his first region crown and was third at 4A-3A states. Fawcett went 36-3 over the toughest schedule of any wrestler in his class. Fawcett had three wins over two-time Anne Arundel County champ and two-time fourth-place finisher Antoine Cooksey (Old Mill), two over Atholton's region champ Mark Carbone and Montgomery County champ Brendan McCarron (Gaithersburg), and one each over county champs Chris Currence (South Carroll) and Ryan Romberger (North Hagerstown). Winner of tournaments at Wicomico and Magruder high schools, Fawcett lost his state semifinal to unbeaten Adrian Belcarris (Oxon Hill), the eventual state champion. Also an All-County running back and linebacker, Fawcett is considering the Naval Academy among other schools.
Melvin Guthrie Chesapeake-AA, senior
The undersized 189-pounder overcame several injuries to win regional and 4A-3A state crowns along with tournaments at Chopticon, Aberdeen and Dundalk despite usually giving up seven or eight pounds to his opponents. An amazingly flexible counter wrestler, Guthrie went 32-1, handing state runner-up and two-time Montgomery County champ Aaron Yoches (Whitman) his only loss. Guthrie, who has 92 career wins, also defeated region champ Dave Wooden (Eastern Tech) and county champs Mike Miller (Aberdeen), Brian Mullinix (Atholton), Dan Seger (Severna Park) and Jeff Seidman (North Hagerstown). All but Seidman placed fifth or higher at states. An honors student, Guthrie is considering the Naval Academy.
Bryan Hamper South Carroll, junior
The 140-pound junior won his third straight Carroll County and regional crowns along with his first state title after being fourth at states the two previous seasons. A junior who went 32-1 with 23 pins to earn Carroll County's Wrestler of the Year honors, Hamper (92 career wins) had six of his 60 career pins and three technical falls over his final nine bouts, including three pins and a technical fall at the 4A-3A state tournament. Hamper this year pinned state runner-up Garrett Black (Chopticon), state runner-up Jason Laubach (Kenwood), state runner-up Scott Linton (Frederick) and region champs Joey Killo (Hammond) and Marcello Nucci (Northern-Calvert). Hamper won the Meade and Arundel tournaments and was runner-up to a Delaware state champ at Hammond.
Ryan Herwig Mount St. Joseph, junior
A slick, 140-pound junior with a technical command of all facets of the sport, Herwig overcame a midseason knee injury to earn his first MIAA crown after being second as a freshman, his second private schools state runner-up finish and third place at the National Preps. Herwig (28-5) was runner-up at the Curley tournament after a runner-up finish to Delaware state champ Andrew Donofrio. A cadet national champ last summer, Herwig dominated MIAA conference competition.
Darian Kess Curley, junior
This repeat All-Metro selection competed both at 112 and 119 pounds, going 44-3 and earning his second straight MIAA and private schools state titles along with his second straight runner-up finish at National Preps. Kess won tournaments at Arundel, Curley, Hammond and North East, and was runner-up at "The Beast of the East." Ranked No. 7 nationally, Kess defeated seven nationally-ranked wrestlers, scored a single-season school-record 223 takedowns and has a school-record 433 for his career in only two seasons. Iowa State has expressed interest.
Steve Lanciotti Mount St. Joseph, senior
The 130-pound senior won his second MIAA title, his first private schools state crown after being second and third the two previous seasons and was fourth at the National Preps. Lanciotti dethroned McDonogh's MIAA champ Steve Chester and decisioned state champ Jacob Kirwan (Kent) and major-decisioned two-time third-place state finisher Dan Patterson (South Carroll). Lanciotti finished the year with a 42-6 record. He is considering attending Maryland, Franklin & Marshall or Drexel.
Sam Lewnes Mount St. Joseph, freshman
This 145-pounder joins wrestlers, such as Owings Mills Steve Kessler (148-0 career), in earning All-Metro honors as a freshman. Lewnes won a team-high 47 bouts against seven losses, a feat that is unusual for a freshman middleweight. He was first at the state private schools tournament and fifth at the National Preps tournament, went 3-2 against MIAA champ P.J. Kirhagis of Curley - his only losses in Maryland - and was fourth at the PowerAde tournament, one of the nation's top 10 high school events. The former junior-league state champ twice defeated Calvert Hall's state runner-up Kevin King, an earlier winner over Damascus' state champ T.J. Salb.
Antwuan Lide Curley, senior
The 135-pound senior won the MIAA and private schools tournaments in dominant fashion and was runner-up at the National Preps tournament en route to a 34-5 record. A rangy wrestler for his class, Lide had two technical falls and a decision at MIAAs, and three technical falls and a major decision at the state private schools meet. Big wins were against MIAA runner-up Tyrone Bowie (Gilman), state runner-up Henry Friskey (Boys' Latin) and Anne Arundel and region champ Mike Money, who was third at 4A-3A states. The B-plus student is considering the Naval Academy's prep school.
Luke Mays Franklin, junior
The 152-pound junior won his second Baltimore County and region titles and was second at 4A-3A states after being third at 2A-1A states last season. Mays' style was both calculated and deliberate, based in high-percentage moves with little wasted movement. A runner-up at the Hammond, Damascus and Franklin tournaments, Mays beat state runner-up Rob Roose (St. Paul's), Montgomery Blair's Jeff Edilstein (third states), Walter Johnson's Willie Voglozin (fourth states), Loch Raven's region champ Aidan Smith and Carroll County champ Rich Skelly (Liberty).
Joey Sargent Mount St. Joseph, junior
The 160-pound junior, who transferred from DeMatha of Hyattsville, overcame a midseason knee injury to win the MIAA and his second state private schools title. Sargent went 34-1, demonstrating an ability to wrestle both with a flashy style and a more basic approach. Sargent scored big wins over St. Paul's state runner-up Rob Roose (twice), state champ Sam Mays (Franklin) and over a nationally ranked wrestler from Mercersburg, Pa. Sargent won tournaments at Curley, Annapolis and Hammond and was runner-up at the PowerAde Invitational.
Mark Frey, Archbishop Curley, Freshman
Mike Weber, Sparrows Point, Sophomore
Ryan Green, River Hill, Sophomore
Stan Wagner, Franklin, Senior
Ryan Mackin, Hammond, Junior
Mike Money, Arundel, Junior
James Laubac, Kenwood, Junior
Kevin King, Calvert Hall, Junior
P.J. Kirhagi, Archbishop Curley, Senior
Tom Boettche, Archbishop Curley, Sophomore
Sam Mays, Franklin, Junior
Rob Roose, St. Paul's, Senior
Antoine Cookey, Old Mill, Senior
Dave Wooden, Eastern Tech, Senior
Rodney Jones, Northeast-AA, Senior
Robert Scott, Oakland Mills, JuniorCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times