While Matt Slutzky will grab most of the headlines, he is not the only talented grappler in Harford County.
Most coaches agree that every team has at least one wrestler who could challenge for a county title. The most competitive weight class appears to be at 125. Five ofthe county's top prospects could go in that class. Three are ranked in the top five by the Maryland State Wrestling Association.
Here are the guys to watch -- a dozen of the county's best:
Scott Birth (sr., 125) Bel Air -- Last year, Birth was 26-3. He pinned C. Milton Wright's Aric Schwab for the county title and finishedthird in the state at 119 pounds. The Bobcats' most experienced wrestler, he is ranked No. 4 in his weight class by the MSWA.
Tom Burdsall (sr., 160) Havre de Grace -- County and regional champ as well as state runner-up at 152 as a sophomore, Burdsall was second in the county last year. After compiling a record of 22-9 last year, Burdsallis ranked No. 3 by the MSWA.
Tom Brazier (jr., 112) Fallston -- Finishing 16-14 last year at 103, Brazier was second in the county. Hewas also the regional champ. Strong for his weight class, Brazier worked hard in the off season and should greatly improve on his record.
Minh Dang (jr., 130) Edgewood
-- After going 20-2 last season,Dang failed to make weight for the regionals. He lost to Fowl in thecounty title bout at 112. This season, Dang reached the finals of the North East Tournament, where he scored several times before fallingto Sheldon Thomas, of St. Mark's (Del.), who is ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Jim Ervine (sr., 125) Havre de Grace -- One of the most intense competitors anywhere, Ervine is ranked No. 3 by the MSWA. Last year, he amassed a 28-3 record and escaped with a 4-3 county title win. Those numbers came back to haunt Ervine, however, as he dropped the state title bout by the same margin.
Zack Fowl (jr., 119) Aberdeen -- The Eagles other state champ, Fowl won at 103, taking a 5-4 victory over Kendall Lloyd, of Damascus. Fowl dropped from 112 to 103 for the region and state competition last year, but he is up to 119 this year. Also defending county champ, Fowl compiled a 31-2 record. He is ranked No. 2 in his class by the MSWA.
Ty Long (sr., 125) Edgewood -- Long takes a big jump up from 103 pounds, where he couldn't make weight for the county or regional championships. After wrestling up at 112 most of the season and compiling a 20-2 record, Long developed too much muscle to get down to 103. This season, he jumps up to 125, where he is ranked No. 5 by the MSWA.
Brian McCarthy (jr., 119/125) Joppatowne -- A talented transfer from West Virginia, McCarthy is hoping to surprise some opponents, but word is already getting around about
his strength. He was 23-0 and a regional champion as a freshman in West Virginia before an injury kept him from going after the state title. Just back in top form this year, McCarthy could challenge the county's best.
Chris Miller (sr., 140) C. Milton Wright --Also in a tough weight class that includes Slutzky, Miller should bemuch improved over his 19-11 record a year ago. He was second in thecounty at 130 pounds and fourth in the region.
Marc Perrine (sr.,160) North Harford -- Perrine was rated the top junior in the state at 152 pounds last year. He was 28-6 and finished second in the county and the region as well as fourth in the state. In the state semifinals, he lost a close match with the eventual state champ. Perrine is ranked No. 2 by the MSWA at 160 pounds.
Aric Schwab (jr., 125) C. Milton Wright -- Schwab (18-10) lost the county title to Birth last year at 119, and he faces a lot more competition now at 125. Schwab already has suffered his first setback with bruised ribs and some scratches in a car accident earlier this week. However, he should return after the holidays to give the ranked wrestlers a battle.
Rob Smallwood (sr., 152) Bel Air -- In one of the county's toughest weight classes, Smallwood was third in the county last year behind Edgewood's Keith Spurlin and Perrine. County champ at 145 as a sophomore, Smallwood finished with a record of 26-5. He finished third in the regionals.