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33rd annual Jefferson Invitational to be competitive

January 06, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

The Jefferson Invitational Tournament just keeps getting more competitive.

"Last year may have been the toughest one ever with the Pennsylvania teams we had coming in," Jefferson coach Ward Sigler said. "It looks like this year it's going to be the same. A lot of teams are coming in strong. It's going to be another good one."

Pennsylvania teams swept the top three places last year, with Shikellamy taking first, Penn Manor second and Mercersburg Academy third. All three are returning for the 33rd annual edition of the two-day tournament, which begins today.

"The Pennsylvania teams are going to be tough to beat again," Sigler said. "They're the frontrunners."

Walkersville, ranked second in Maryland Class 2A-1A, and Cabell Midland and Hedgesville, ranked eighth and ninth in West Virginia Class AAA, also are in the 16-team field.

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Returning individual champs include Musselman's Dustin Haislip and Billy Barrett. Haislip, who won at 112 pounds last year, is 18-0 at 125 this season, while Barrett, who won at 125, is off to a 7-2 start at 130/135.

Mercersburg Academy's Josh Edgin, who scored four straight first-period pins on his way to last year's title at 275, is currently injured and not expected to compete this weekend.

Last year, Brad Nielson, the runner-up at 171 for Mercersburg, got the opportunity to see his former team, Walkersville. Nielson will have the same chance this weekend, competing again for Walkersville. He's the overall top-ranked 171-pounder in Maryland.

Jefferson's Colton Gustines and Hedgesville's Joe Shetler also are returning runners-up.

First-round bouts begin at 5 p.m. today. The championship finals are set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

Coaches' votes count



The very first edition of The Herald-Mail Coaches' Poll appears today.

There are 18 possible voters for this weekly poll, which will serve as the Tri-State rankings this season. The 16 area head coaches and two members of The Herald-Mail sports staff each has an equal vote each week.

Frederick County schools no longer are considered part of our Tri-State coverage area.

County foursome



Four Washington County athletes made the latest set of Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings.

St. James junior Jimmy Sutch is third in the private-school division at 171, while Williamsport junior Earl Neville (112), Boonsboro senior Bret Nalley (130) and Smithsburg junior Justin Hovermale (160) each is sixth in Class 2A-1A.

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