Let's continue the holiday cheer with a refreshing story of a countywrestling coach who helped save another Carroll team from some embarrassment, then was rewarded with some last-minute help for his own team's schedule.
Jeff Oeming, the athletic director at Westminster High, accidentally had scheduled one more tournament than state regulations allowed when he assumed the Gilman Duals was simply a large dual meet.
In fact, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association considers the Gilman Duals is a tournament -- albeit one with a dual meet scoring format. That left the Owls with three tournaments ontheir 1990-1991 schedule.
Oeming was informed of the mistake by Carroll County's resident wrestling encyclopedia -- North Carroll Coach Dick Bauerlein.
Now Bauerlein could have waited until after Westminster competed in the extra tournament, then anonymously called theMPSSAA to report the infraction. That would have left the Owls on the sidelines for region and state competition. And don't think there aren't some high school coaches out there who wouldn't have done something like that.
But most coaches in Carroll, thankfully, aren't like that, and Bauerlein did what was right.
Oeming, of course, was in the uncomfortable position of having to back out of one of the three tournaments, and picked the Delone Tournament in McSherrystown, Pa., as the one to skip.
Shortly after Oeming made that decision, though, McDonogh School in Baltimore County canceled its wrestling tournament at the last minute, claiming a scheduling conflict. That left North Carroll with a hole in its schedule.
And such a void could have hurt Bauerlein's wrestlers, since advancement to regional tournaments is based, in large part, on competition during the season. And the seeding committees tend to look with more favor on a wrestler who competes in a full dual-meet and tournament schedule.
But the Panthers were rewarded for what had been Bauerlein's Good Samaritan act. North Carroll wound up replacing Westminster in the Delone Tournamentlast week.
Everybody was a winner. Westminster avoided the embarrassment of having too many tournaments and an early end to the seasonfor its top wrestlers. And North Carroll, which would have been hard-pressed to fill that open-date on its schedule if Westminster hadn'tpulled out of the Delone event, was able to maintain its competitiveadvantage.
That scenario shows the righteous will receive their rewards, and it shows why Carroll's coaches are such a classy breed.
It's doubtful too many people noticed, but Poly's winter sports sweep of South Carroll just before the holiday break shows how far theBaltimore school's program has progressed over the past couple of seasons.
Back in the 1988-1989 winter season, Poly played three contests in Carroll and lost all three. The Engineers were swamped by Westminster in girls basketball, 61-15, and lost to both Westminster andSouth Carroll in wrestling by rather lopsided scores.
Last year, Poly played Carroll schools in five winter events and won four. The Engineers' girls made a dramatic turnaround, beating Westminster, 55-52, and topping South Carroll. The boys also topped South Carroll and the wrestling team topped both South Carroll and Westminster.
Thisyear, Poly has played five sporting events against Carroll teams andhas swept all five. And the Engineers could be 6-0 against Carroll competition if they beat Westminster in girls basketball Friday night.
Both of Poly's basketball teams are ranked in the Top 20 in the Baltimore area and the wrestling squad probably is on the verge of being ranked by the Maryland State Wrestling Association in its poll, which includes every team in the state.
Not a bad turnaround for a school whose winter program was struggling just a couple of years ago.