Strange Career For Wrestling Star

Despite It All, North Carroll Graduate Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

March 06, 1991|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,Staff writer

Tom Reese didn't take the normal route of an athletic standout, but he made his mark in wrestling anyway.

The North Carroll High graduate worked for a few years after graduating in 1978, joined a friend as the wrestling "team" at Frederick Community College, then became one of the top wrestlers in the Atlantic Coast Conference at the University of Maryland in College Park, Prince George's County.

Reese was rewarded for his outstanding, albeit unconventional, career by being selected to the Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Fame at last weekend's state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College in Westminster.

"It's a big honor for me to get inducted into the wrestling Hall of Fame," Reese said while handing out trophies to all of the Class 3A-4A place winners at the state tournament Saturdaynight. "I haven't gotten any plaques in a while."

Reese, now living in Harford County and a sales representative for Calgon Vesta Labs, said he still travels down to Maryland to work out about once a month, but said time constraints have kept him from competing in open tournaments.

That's about where Reese's career was in the early 1980s, after he graduated from North Carroll as state champion at 185 pounds as a senior and with a 77-8 record. His state title victory was a9-7 win over Leroy Barton of Gaithersburg, the same wrestler he had defeated a year earlier in the third-place match.

In the fall of 1983, after five years in the working world, Reese joined friend HenryMohlenrich, a former Westminster High grappler, and one other wrestler to start a "team" at Frederick Community College. With Mohlenrich as a player/coach, Reese reached the junior college nationals.

That, of course, sent college coaches into a recruiting frenzy. But Reese needed more credits to be eligible for college (he had not taken college prep courses in high school), so he spent another year at FCC, but skipped wrestling to preserve his college eligibility.

Reese then decided to attend Louisiana State University on a full wrestling scholarship, but just before school started in the fall of 1985, LSU dropped the sport. Reese called Maryland coach John McHugh, who, as fate would have it, still had a partial scholarship available.

Withthe partial scholarship and other financial aid, Reese headed off toMaryland, where he immediately became the school's starting heavyweight and won three Atlantic Coast Conference titles. He made three appearances in the NCAA Championships, with his top performance a fifth-place finish as a junior.

Reese said the only thing that could have made his day better Saturday was an elusive state championship for the Panthers and his former coach, Dick Bauerlein.

"I was rooting for (North Carroll) 100 percent," Reese said. "They're always right near the top."

Reese becomes the second person with ties to Carrollto be inducted into the 24-member hall, which began in 1975. Smallwood resident John Lowe, longtime coach at Randallstown High and one ofthe pioneers of high school wrestling in Baltimore County, was inducted in 1986.

Two other countians received the Service to WrestlingAwards. Sam Brutout, a longtime official who has been the director of the Class 3A-4A Region I tournament the past two years, was selected, as was Carrolltowne Elementary assistant principal Dean Johnson, alongtime coach who helps run the state tournament.

They join Bauerlein, who received the award back in 1988.

And Westminster coach Solomon Carr was chosen as an assistant coach for the Class 3A-4A team in last night's Maryland High School Wrestling Classic in Baltimore(after press time). That meet features the top seniors in each weight class from the Maryland Scholastic Association (plus other independent private schools), state Class 1A-2A school and the 3A-4A competitors.

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