Chesapeake-Anne Arundel County’s wrestling room will be renamed on Wednesday in honor of late alumnus Matthew Tobey Eveleth, a four-time Class 4A-3A state finalist and three-time champion.
The youngest of three siblings, all of whom were state title winners for the Cougars, Eveleth was 37 when he died of pancreatic cancer in July 2021 as the most accomplished wrestler in the history of Chesapeake High.
Older brother, Brian, 49, was a one-time champion in 1991, and Jeff, 40, a two-time title winner, the latter being a senior teammate with Matt on the Cougars’ 2000 championship squad. But it was Matt who earned three state titles in four championship berths, leading the Cougars to state tournament crowns as a sophomore and again as a senior in 2002.
The tradition continues at Chesapeake, winners of state tournament titles in 1981 as well as 2000 and 2002. The Cougars are defending Anne Arundel County tournament and Class 3A state duals champions with 20-2 overall record, 15-1 in tournament duals and 5-1 in regular season duals, having persevered this season despite the presence of just two seniors in the lineup.
“We’re hoping to have a strong month of January,” coach Randy Curtin said. “We have six dual meets this month and then we hope to go into the postseason on a strong note.”
Brian Eveleth Sr., his wife, Naomi, their sons, their wives and their grandchildren will be present for the dedication ceremony to precede the Cougars dual meet with visiting county league rival Crofton.
Among the speakers on Wednesday will be Matt Eveleth’s former college teammate, Ravens’ vice president of operations, Nick Matteo.
“For us, every day missing Matt is just like the very first day,” said Brian Sr., a former county champion wrestler at Glen Burnie High. “Just discussing it with you, right now, it’s hard not to cry. But it’s an honor for us to be able to witness this for Matt.”
Matt Eveleth became the first three-time state champion in the school’s history. A state runner-up as a freshman, Eveleth, as a 112-pound sophomore, went 34-0 with a single-season school-record 24 pins. He dethroned Marc Heincleman of Magruder, who defeated him in the previous year’s final.
Matt Eveleth winked at Brian Jr., then an assistant to coach Tom Schlicter, before dictating all of the action in a dominant 4-3 win over Heincleman.
Jeff Eveleth was a 119-pound senior in 2000, his 34-0 record including his second straight Anne Arundel County, regional and 4A-3A state titles. Jeff Eveleth defeated Franklin’s state champ Matt Schuster for his second title, ending a season that included an overtime win over Atholton’s 125-pound state runner-up Bryan Radik.
“It was heart-breaking to see Matt give it his all and lose to Heincleman in the state finals as a freshman,” said Jeff Eveleth. “But that gave him more determination to win the next year. Winning together as brothers to finish my career culminated a ton of hard work and was icing on the cake.”
As a senior 125-pounder, Matt Eveleth went 35-1 with 22 pins and one technical fall, raising his career record to a then-school-best 132-4 with a school-record 92 pins.
Schlichter had dubbed Jeff and Matt among his “Fab Five” wrestlers in 2000, a corps that included state champion Melvin Guthrie (189) and sixth place state finishers Steve Yaruta (103) and John Mosca (160).
“Matt’s returning and dominating the way that he did to win two more state titles wasn’t surprising,” said Jeff Eveleth. “Matt honestly didn’t believe he was going to lose to anybody else and no one in the family thought he was going to lose to anybody. So seeing him do it was fantastic.”
A state champion as a senior in 1991, Brian earned All-American honors at The University of Pennsylvania. Brian Jr. graduated from Penn in 1996, followed by Jeff in 2005 and Matt in 2007.
Brian Jr. will be on hand with his wife, Amy, sons, Toby, 17, and Andrew, 13, and their daughter, Natalie, 10.
“We miss Matt so much every day, even more during wrestling season. I still get emotional every day about losing Matt,” Brian Jr. said. “But it will be even harder returning to the gym where I have so many great memories coaching him and Jeff.”
Brian Jr.’s son, Toby, is named for Matt, whose middle name is Tobey. Toby Eveleth was a regional champion as a 120-pound Catonsville sophomore last year and is 13-0 as a 120-pound junior this year at Catonsville, where Brian Sr. serves as an assistant to George Dunn.
“It will be difficult on Wednesday night hearing people talk about Matt,” Brian Jr. said. “He was a big brother and mentor to Toby, much as I feel that I was to Matt and Jeff. So this has been really rough for Toby, who spoke to Matt almost every day.”
Matt Eveleth coached Toby during his junior league career, one of which ended with a third place finish at states. Toby’s final victory that year came against Calvin Kraisser, who is currently a sophomore defending state champion at Centennial High in Howard County.
“Uncle Matt was like an older brother to me. We became really close throughout eighth grade when he would coach me or just hang out with me,” said Toby, who has his uncle’s initials, MTE, tattooed on the inside of his right biceps. “Uncle Matt always found time for me, the family and many others. He impacted my life monumentally and helped me to grow as a person and brother to my siblings. Not only did he impact my life but he was constantly trying to put a smile on other people’s faces just like he always had on his own.”
Last year’s individual Class 4A-3A state tournament champions were the senior Listorti siblings Chase (145) and Victor (182), whose father, Tony, is an assistant to Curtin. An alumnus of Chesapeake, Tony Listorti placed fourth at states after winning county and regional titles as a senior in 1982.
This year’s Cougars’ won the Dec. 29-30 South River Invitational of their host, county rival and defending Class 4A State Duals champion Seahawks 37-36, on the “most falls” tie-breaking criteria.
Chesapeake received pins from sophomore Braydon Ambrose (106), senior Dylan Ritter (126), junior Keanu Furbush (182), sophomore Xander Dodd (195/220) and sophomore Delmar White (285) against the Seahawks, with decisions from junior Tommy Taylor (160) and freshman Gavin Lewis (170).
Lewis and sixth-place state finisher White (285) went 9-0 at South River, with Dodd going 6-0, and Ambrose and fifth-place state finisher Ritter each going 8-1.
Finishing at 7-2 were Taylor, Furbush, junior Jackson Worley (120), senior Dawson Hoover (132/138) and sophomore Matthew Curtin (152), with freshman Brayden
Roberts (113) going 6-3.
For the year, White has a record of 22-0, Dodd is 16-1, Ritter is 20-2, and Ambrose, 14-3. Hoover’s overall record is 17-4, Roberts is 18-4 and Lewis’, 17-5.
Curtin is a 1998 graduate of Hammond High in Howard County, a program which earned that year’s county, Class 2A-1A South Region and Class 2A-1A state duals and tournament crowns. Curtin earned a county tournament crown and placed third at regions before falling short at states to the eventual state champ and third-place finishers.
“I am very pleased with our overall effort at the South River tournament. We were able to walk the tightrope and come away with some extremely close wins over South River,” said Curtin, whose Cougars split regular-season matches with the Seahawks last season.
“We also beat Spalding by a small amount when one of their best wrestlers was injured. So it’s a credit to our wrestlers to grit their teeth through some close wins toward picking up the pins where we needed them.”
The Chesapeake-South River title match resembled that during a Dec. 20 tri-meet at Glen Burnie, won by the Cougars over the Seahawks, 35-34, once again via tie-breaker. The difference in that match was the Cougars’ 8-6 advantage in bouts won.
Chesapeake received pins against the Seahawks in that match from Furbush, Dodd and White, decisions from Robert, Ritter, Lewis and Hoover, and a major decision from Ethan Mills (138).
“We’re having a successful season so far, but we’re still a young team after graduating so many seniors from last season,” Curtin said. “I think that our guys who are new to varsity are gaining valuable experience and are improving.”