The wrestling styles of Mike Taylor and Todd Jones are just about asdifferent as they can be. But the Aberdeen seniors still manage to accomplish the same goal -- they win.
Both pinned their opponents in the second period to help Aberdeen to a 44-25 win over Edgewood Thursday night.
At 160 pounds, Jones (10-2) had a 9-0 lead on sophomore Keenan Turner before pinning him in 2 minutes, 47 seconds. At 171 pounds, Taylor (9-2-1) was ahead, 4-1, when he pinned freshman John Cephalis in 2:37.
Although neither has the natural talent of defending state champs Matt Slutzky and Zack Fowl, Coach Dick Slutzky said wrestlers like Taylor and Jones are even more important than his
stars when itcomes to winning meets.
"They're the journeymen, the backbone of your team," said the Eagles coach. "Every team has a couple of stars,and they're supposed to win. But we can't win a meet with Matt Slutzky and Zack Fowl just like Edgewood can't win a meet with Ty Long andMinh Dang. You always win meets with the other wrestlers."
Taylorand Jones, co-captains along with Slutzky and Fowl, have worked hardto win consistently. Both both started wrestling with the Aberdeen recreation program in middle school. Both are in their fourth year with the Eagles.
They frequently hone their skills against each otheron the practice mat.
"I'm one of the best in the county, and he'sone of the best in the county, so when we match up, it's pretty tough. It's like our own county championship between me and him," said Jones, who finished second in the county last year at 145 pounds.
Their contrasting styles offer them a unique challenge.
Jones, who struggled early with torn cartilage in his ribs as well as with the flu, doesn't quite have the strength of his teammate, so he has to relymore on technique. That makes him an even tougher opponent for a powerful wrestler like Taylor.
"Strong guys, I can match them," said Taylor. "But Todd's more lanky. He's slippery like a snake."
Jonesis always in the right position to capitalize on his opponent's mistakes. Taylor sometimes blows his position but usually can cover up with his speed and power.
Taylor, third in the county last year at 160 pounds, is one of the most powerful opponents Jones ever will meeton the mat.
"He's strong. Look at him. He's built like an ox. I'mskinny," said Jones.
Taylor and Jones have helped the Eagles to a6-1 dual-meet record. Their only loss came to powerhouse Oxford, Pa.
In the Eagles' latest win over Edgewood, they also got strong performances from several other wrestlers. Slutzky (145), Fowl (112, Mike Davis (103) and David Mumpower (135) also pinned their opponents. Heavyweight Aaron Wanless tied with John Lamancusa, 3-3.
But Dick Slutzky also was impressed with two underclassmen. Freshman Kit Doran (130) and sophomore Frank Johnson (125) lost their matches -- but just barely.
Doran fell to Billy Carr, 7-6; Johnson lost to Ty Long, 7-5.
"The other guys were fighting for their lives against these guys," said the coach.
"It's tough to get a freshman and a sophomore who believe they can beat the other guy."
The Eagles will play host to North Harford and undefeated Rising Sun at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.
A MMILESTONE FOR SLUTZKY
Matt Slutzky set a record for the most career wins by a Harford County high school wrestler Thursday night. The Aberdeen senior pinned Edgewood's Greg Watchinsky to raise his career match record to 103-4-1.
Slutzky surpassed the record of 102 set by former Aberdeen star Chris Franklin. Franklin, who graduated in 1990, now is serving with the Marine Corps.
Undefeated this season going into yesterday's Gilman Duals, Slutzky is ranked No. 1 at 140 pounds by the Maryland State Wrestling Association. One of only eight athletes wo win three state wrestling titles, Slutzky is working to become the first to sweep four.