For 17-year-old Mount Hebron wrestler Shane Igoe, life couldn't be much fuller or more satisfying.
Not only is the three-sport athletehaving a banner wrestling season, but the senior with a 4.0 grade-point average over four years is having a grand time designing his own roller coaster as part of the county's Gifted and Talented Independent Research Program.
He's also received early acceptance from his No. 1 college choice-- the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., where he plans to study engineering.
Igoe, who is 5-8 and 125 pounds, is somewhatsurprised by his glittering 14-3 wrestling record. He isn't quite sure what has led to the improvement over last year's 12-14 mark.
But if you look at the success he has enjoyed in the classroom, it is not difficult to gauge how the same discipline and dedication that hasearned him a perfect grade-point average, despite a schedule nearly filled with honors courses, has also aided him on the mats.
"He's a very intelligent wrestler," wrestling coach Harry Reese said. "And he inspires the other guys on our team to do better."
On Jan. 15, Igoe scored a 10-2 major decision that earned his team four points and sparked them to a 36-35 victory over Glenelg -- only the Vikings' second win of the season against nine defeats.
"It was the extra team point he got for the major decision that won it for us," Reese said. Teams are awarded three points for regular decisions and four for major decisions of eight points or more.
Igoe beat Glenelg's Joe Neville and already has beaten most of the county wrestlers he likely will face during the county tournament.
Igoe, who is from EllicottCity, would like to become a county champion and make the state tournament. He finished sixth in the region last year.
Among his victories are a 10-3 decision over Wilde Lake's Chris Turner, a 7-4 win over Oakland Mills' Kalev Freeman, a 9-0 triumph over Howard's RicardoCains, a 9-1 win over Hammond's Pat Shepley and the win over Neville.
Two of his three losses came during the Smithsburg Tournament over the Christmas holidays, and one was to a third-ranked wrestler from North Carroll, Justin Diebolt.
"I was sick over the holidays andlost to a guy from Hereford, 7-6, and to a guy from Northeast of Cecil," Igoe said.
Igoe had never wrestled before he came to Mount Hebron, and the varsity team has had four coaches in four years, a situation that makes success difficult. But Igoe has overcome the roadblocks and developed his wrestling ability to its highest level.
"I spent a lot of time for several years in competitive swimming year-round, starting at age 10," Igoe said. "And I think that experience has helped me develop endurance for wrestling."
He ran cross country on varsity for three years, finishing 24th in the county and 41st in the state last fall. That sport also built his endurance.
"We also did some weight training for cross country, and that has improved my strength a lot," Igoe said.
Attendance at wrestling camps for the past two summers also taught him overall techniques.
He thinks hisstrength as a wrestler is on his feet: "I can take people down."
His weakness is riding and breaking people down, the part of the sport that requires brute strength. He's not a brute-strength wrestler, but more of a finesse wrestler.
But Igoe has the required aggressiveness needed to be a good wrestler.
"You have to be a fighter, andI am," he said.
He credits Reese for helping him be mentally prepared this year: "Last year I was easily intimidated, but this year Coach Reese has given me a good mind-set and a specific goal before I go on the mat. He's a good motivator."
Reese was recruited originally as junior varsity coach. He moved to varsity abruptly when anothercoach got a job transfer out-of-state just before the season began.
Igoe and two other senior tri-captains, Jason Wolcott (130) and Ryan Bavis (135), do most of the actual teaching to the other 15 team members.
"It has helped a lot that some former Mount Hebron wrestlers such as Dan Blake and Bucky Huppman come out and support us duringmatches," Igoe said.
Off the mats, Igoe is busy. "I have a prettyhectic schedule," he admitted.
He's president of Mount Hebron's National Honor Society, secretary of the Student Government, treasurerof the French Club, a four-year member of the Math Club and a memberof the senior class board that arranges the senior prom.
While Igoe continues to sweep opponents off their feet on the mats, he works diligently at designing an amusement ride intended to sweep people off their feet.
His independent research program, designing an original roller coaster that will meet all safety requirements, has him asexcited as his successful wrestling season.
"I've contacted amusement parks and engineering consulting firms and never thought I'd accumulate so much information," he said. "I did an on-line computer search and got things faxed to me from all over the country."
He has studied mechanical drawing, physics and calculus at Mount Hebron, andis thrilled to see all three disciplines coming together for the roller-coaster project.
"My teachers have been helpful. I'm taking pre-engineering drawing -- and instead of doing the usual bridge, I'm being allowed to do the roller coaster," Igoe said.
In the spring, he'll pick up the lacrosse stick and earn his 11th athletic letter atMount Hebron. He's a second-string midfielder who scored two goals and had two assists last year.