'Going for everything'

Maryland State Wrestling Tournament begins Friday

March 03, 2011|By ANDREW MASON |
  • North Hagerstown's Brendon Colbert, top, defeated Catoctin's Jon Sweeney, bottom, in the 112-pound final at the Maryland Class 2A-1A West Region Wrestling Tournament last weekend. Colbert is one of nine Washington County wrestlers who will compete Friday at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House during Day 1 of the state tournament.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Kemper Baker didn’t spend much time celebrating his first Maryland Class 2A-1A West region wrestling title last weekend at North Hagerstown.

The Williamsport senior almost immediately switched his focus to a much loftier goal — a second state title.

“I still have to perform next week,” Baker said, moments after receiving his first-place region award.

The Maryland State Wrestling Tournament at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House begins Friday at 2:30 p.m. and concludes Saturday with the 6:30 p.m. championship finals.

Baker, who will compete in the 140-pound weight class, is hoping to duplicate his magic of 2009, when he was a surprise state champion at 119 pounds.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Baker, who finished a disappointing fifth at 125 last year at states. “I just have to wrestle my best. I just have to put all I’ve got into it.”

Williamsport’s Zach Shoemaker was Washington County’s top performer at states last year, placing fourth at 145 as a sophomore. His goal is to finish three places higher at 145 this time.

“I’m going for everything,” said Shoemaker, shortly after winning his first region title last weekend. “I just want to win from here on out.”

Baker and Shoemaker are both No. 2 in their weight classes in this week’s Maryland State Wrestling Association Class 2A-1A state rankings. While Baker is on the opposite side of the 16-man bracket from No. 1 Tyler Hinton of Carver Vo-Tech at 140, Shoemaker could face No. 1 Anthony Cimorosi of Rising Sun in the semifinals at 145.

But rankings, much like season records, don’t mean much once the wrestlers hit the mats.

“I’m not really worried about the rankings,” said Brendon Colbert, North Hagerstown’s freshman sensation. “If I wrestle my best, I should be fine.”

While Colbert won a region title at 112 last weekend and has a county-best 32-1 season record, he is ranked merely seventh in 2A-1A.

That indicates how tough Colbert’s weight class is. His bracket features three undefeated wrestlers — a tourney-high — and is headlined by Oakland Mills’ Tony Farace, who was the state champ at 103 as a freshman and at 112 last year.

If Colbert wins his first bout Friday, he’ll face either Patuxent’s Zach Pilkington or Bel Air’s Jeff Taylor in the quarterfinals. Pilkington was the state runner-up at 103 last year, while Taylor placed third.

“There are going to be some close matches,” Colbert said.

South Hagerstown junior Aaron Rowland, the county’s other region champ, prevailed in Class 4A-3A North last weekend at 285 to earn his first state berth. He’ll be a dark horse this weekend.

“I think he’ll do OK,” said Donnie Rowland, Aaron’s coach and father, who was a state runner-up in the heavyweight division as a South senior in 1984. “This year, I just want him to get a taste there and see what it’s like, and we’ll go from there.”

Five other county wrestlers are set to chase top-six places on the podium — North Hagerstown’s Duncan Yeisley (119) and Kenneth Burrs (160), Boonsboro’s Jon Best (160) and Bucky Miller (189) and Williamsport’s Bryan Davis (103).

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