Dick Slutzky accomplished yet another milestone in his career as wrestling coach at Aberdeen High School Friday night.
The Eagles (7-1) earned Slutzky the 200th match win in his 19 years at Aberdeen witha 33-31 victory over ailing Howard County power Oakland Mills (5-2).The Scorpions were without four starters, all of whom are injured.
In the final match, sophomore heavyweight Aaron Wanless held off Oakland Mills' Monte Spencer -- the state's top-ranked heavyweight -- to prevent a tie.
Wanless went into his match with the Eagles leading by six points. Spencer had to pin Wanless to force a tie, but the first-year varsity wrestler held off a late surge by Spencer. The Scorpions heavyweight held Wanless on his back for more than a minuteand a half in the third period. Wanless lost the bout, 8-0, but won the match.
"I thought it was going to be a tie," said Slutzky, "but Aaron gave him a lesson in what heart is all about. He never gave up."
Slutzky has nine wrestlers on the team who have no major varsity experience. "I don't know many programs that could take nine new kids and have this kind of success," said Slutzky.
Zak Fowl got theEagles off to a quick start, pinning Scorpions' freshman Carlos Menain 22 seconds in the 103-pound class. The Aberdeen sophomore ran hisindividual record to 15-0 with 14 pins.
Oakland Mills won the next four bouts. Jason Marrero decisioned Aberdeen's Brett Johnson, 7-4,at 112 pounds, before Frank Johnson (119), Jeff Wilbur (125) and Steve Stallard (130) all went down to pins. The Scorpions' three defending Howard County champions, Danny Bickell (119), Kalev Freeman (125) and Adam Seidman (130) helped give the Scorpions a 21-6 lead.
Aberdeen's Dave Mumpower (135) won by forfeit and former state champion Matt Slutzky (14-1), ranked No. 1 by the Mary
land State Wrestling Association, moved up to 140 to win by technical fall over Joe Salinas, 19-1.
Danny Osorio, a state runner-up for the Eagles, moved up to 145, where he decisioned Marcus Myles, 11-6. After eight bouts the Eagles had pulled to within 21-20.
Oakland Mills' Brian Duvall pinned Scott Johnson at 152 before Aberdeen's Mike Taylor decisioned Vi Dang, 13-3.
Eric Ratcliffe escaped a close match with Oakland Mills'Geoff Henderson. Ratcliffe decisioned his opponent, 6-4, to pull theEagles to a 27-27 tie with two bouts to go.
The Eagles county champ at 189 pounds, Everett Jones, won by forfeit. That gave the Eaglesa six-point lead going into the heavyweight bout.
Slutzky alreadyhad built an impressive resume that includes coaching the only team to win three straight state high school titles outright and earning aspot in the Maryland Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The Eagles hammered C. Milton Wright, 60-3, Wednesday night to set the stage for Slutzky's 200th at home.
When Slutzky arrived at Aberdeen 19 years ago, the Eagles had won only one match in three years. The turnaround came quickly.
Slutzky said coaching made all the difference, but added that he can't take all the credit for turning the program around and maintaining it as one of the top wrestling programs in the state. He cited his assistant coaches, including the current ones, Dave Easter, Kerry North and Wade Scott, as well as the local junior league volunteers, especially director Jerry Lacey.
"Some of my assistant coaches have been as good as any head coach and at least as good as I am,"said Slutzky. "And (Lacey) is one of those rare guys who has been involved for a long time and brought stability to the program. They arethe ones who are responsible for giving us the ability to build thatkind of program."
The New York native said he doesn't remember his first win at Aberdeen, but he does remember the 100th.
"Some of the boys made a plaque and had a little presentation in the locker room after the meet. It was at Edgewood."