The Wootton High School wrestling team has had only one losing season in 13 years and won a county title in 1984 in addition to having numerous county, regional and state individual champions.

The Division I champion Patriots (10-1) will attempt to add to their trophy case at the Montgomery County championships today through Saturday at Kennedy. Wootton will have to contend with Division II champion Kennedy (11-1) and defending team champion Whitman (11-1) as wrestling tournament action begins throughout the area.

Kennedy prevented Wootton from winning the dual-meet title, beating the Patriots, 28-24, last week. The loss kept Wootton from its first unbeaten dual-meet season.

In Prince George's County, defending tournament champion Eleanor Roosevelt hopes it can ease the pain of a regular-season loss to Bowie (11-1) and win the team title in competition that began yesterday and runs through Saturday at Largo.

The Raiders came within one match of upsetting the Bulldogs for the dual-meet title last week, but Bowie heavyweight Kevin Hamilton pinned Steve Thornley to give his team a 38-27 victory.

First-round competition in the Montgomery tournament begins at 4 p.m. today. The quarterfinals and consolations are Friday at 4, and the semifinals and finals begin Saturday at noon. Second-round action in the Prince George's tournament begins today at 5, as do Friday's semifinals. The finals are Saturday at 6.

In Anne Arundel County, competition will be held Friday and Saturday at Old Mill High School; the Howard County meet will be held at Wilde Lake on Friday and Saturday, and the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament will be at Chopticon Friday and Saturday.

Wootton's loss to Kennedy will not tarnish this season's success. The Patriots' 10-match winning streak included victories over Whitman, Paint Branch and Seneca Valley, and they dominated many other matches. Instead, Wootton Coach Roger Cook hopes the dual-meet loss motivates his team in what he calls a "wide-open" tournament.

"We had a couple of kids that beat some of {Kennedy's} pretty good kids," he said. "This should give them momentum going into the tournament."

"We knew who our stars are and who to depend on. This year a wrestler would go out with confidence and know that the kids won't get down on him if he loses. He knows that not having that pressure to win makes it easier for him."

Wootton's hopes are pinned on its strong middle- and upper-weight classes, including a quintet of seniors who have wrestled together since ninth grade. The difference from last season, according to 141-pound John Morgan, is that he and his teammates have the match experience they lacked last year.

"Lots of us were inexperienced since we were all juniors," said Morgan, who carries a 10-4 mark into the tournament. "With that losing season, we worked to improve."

Besides Morgan and 148-pound Tom Levin (17-1), the Patriots also hope to score team points in the lighter weights with Mike Hocker (115), Eric Britton (122) and Diego Maranba (126).

Kennedy Coach Duke Beatty thinks there is no clear-cut favorite to win the tournament this year because so many teams have similar talent. "If things go right for us, we certainly could win it," said Beatty, who is hoping his wrestlers can earn points in each weight class.

Kennedy brings a strong squad into the tournament, led by two-time county champion Sean Dykes (13-1), who has alternated at 167 and 188 pounds this season with Scott Reichmeider. Heavyweight Phil Tindley also has a shot at a title, winning 11 of 12 matches in his first year of wrestling.

Barring an upset, Brett Hoffman (13-1) should meet Levin at some point in the 148-pound class. Kevin Strompf should also do well at 108.

Whitman can make an impact with its upper weight classes, led by Basher El-Fiky, who is intent on making another strong showing, and Chris Busi (158), Antoine White (188) and heavyweight Lindsay Lewis.

Rockville's Joe Vukovich is looking to improve on his third-place showing at 98 pounds last year.

Bowie is not as big as in previous years, but it should still finish in the top three spots in Prince George's. The Division I champions held a large lead on Roosevelt in their dual meet, but nearly saw it evaporate in the later matches as the Raiders rallied.

"We have to make sure we're not overconfident," said Bowie assistant wrestling coach Kevin Hosey. "Obviously, we know that winning the dual-meet title doesn't guarantee a county title. We know everybody has to come through and perform."

The Bulldogs are hoping to gain points in the lighter weights with Mike Hall (105), Ray Butler (112) and 17-4 Sean George at 119. Robbie Waldman (21-1) also should contend for a title.

The tournament could be a two-team race between Bowie and Roosevelt, which rebounded from doubts about even fielding a wrestling program to a 6-3 record. Roosevelt is hoping for a repeat of last season when it lost to Bowie in a dual meet, but won the tournament.

This season, Roosevelt has at least five wrestlers capable of placing: Alex Cobey (155 pounds), Clive Monnity (167), Dustin Yee (185) and heavyweight Thornley, who have lost just nine matches between them.

Parkdale's Sean Burgess, a titlist at 98 pounds last year, is looking for another at 105. Teammate Robert Dillard is 25-3 at 119 and is competing after missing last season because of grades. Jeff Bussink (126) is looking to repeat as 119-pound champion.

Despite a 5-7 mark, Laurel cannot be ignored. David Land could face Parkdale nemesis Burgess at 105 for the fourth time this season. All three of Burgess' losses this season have come against Land.

Laurel Coach Dick Markovich, who cautions that "anything can happen," views the tournament as a two-team battle between Roosevelt and Bowie, but hopes that Land, Robert Spillman (155), Robert Richardson (105) and Matt Murphy (155) can win enough points to keep his team competitive.

Some teams with the potential to make a breakthrough include Douglass, which won its fourth straight AB title; High Point, which is led by Todd Deltufo at 126, and DuVal, which has brothers Ken (112) and Gary (132) Donahoe.