Old Mill wrestling coach Mike Hampe is a little older and more experienced than Severna Park's Dave Caprio, and their coaching styles entering this year were vastly different.
Their styles weren't exactly similar this year, but as a byproduct of the mutual success of their teams, one could see a little of Hampe's demeanor in Caprio and vice versa.
Hampe led the Patriots to an unprecedented fourth straight Class 4A-3A state title. Caprio's Falcons finished ninth in the state meet,nearly reversing a 2-12 record by going 9-5 in dual meets this year.Together, they are the Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991-1992 Wrestlingco-Coaches of the Year.
Last year, the 27-year-old Caprio was known for his temper tantrums, one of which got him tossed from last year's county tournament. Hampe, on the other hand, has a reputation forbeing a cool customer at all times.
But when things got tight in the state tournament, most notably after a controversial 13-11 overtime loss by Todd Hultgren (152 pounds), Hampe's smile became a sinister smirk. He had a "discussion" with the official.
"I didn't totally lose it, but I was trying to intimidate the referee, of course," said Hampe, 46, whose Patriots set scoring records in both the county (229 points) and Region IV (267) tournaments. "I was upset that he actually took a point away from my kid. But if the kids see me lose total control, then they think it's OK."
The 17th-year coach has triedto passed on his composed approach to Caprio.
"He'd (Hampe) say, 'Dave, sometimes you've just got to bite the bullet and look for morediplomatic ways to handle things,' " said Caprio, a former Severna Park High wrestler now in his third year of coaching at the school. "He's given me several hints about how to run a good program, and his reputation speaks for itself."
"I could empathize with David's concerns because I used to be the same way," said Hampe, a former county champion at Severna Park High whose Patriots qualified a record 12 wrestlers for the state meet. "When you get to my ripe old age, you remember that you don't do certain things. You don't have to scream and yell to make your point."
In addition to the state meet, the Falcons placed highly in the Annapolis (seventh), Chesapeake (fifth), Broadneck (third) and regional (fourth) tournaments. Severna Park qualified seven wrestlers for the state meet, and produced a state champion in Aaron Cree (189), the Falcons' first since assistant coach Carter Rigsbee won at 155 pounds in 1982. Also, Scott Woodland (140) won hissecond consecutive county tournament title.
"We have a team prayer called, 'Today is a new day,' " said Caprio. "It's all about staying positive."
Although Caprio's squad is losing eight wrestlers to graduation, he'll fill the gaps with youngsters from this year's 11-2junior varsity squad, including three junior varsity county champions.
Hampe makes every wrestler feel like he can make an important contribution to the team.
In the state tournament, for instance, Hultgren and junior Rick Oleszczuk (135) made vital contributions to the Patriots psychologically, wrestling well in their first-round losses to two McDonough wrestlers who went on to finish as runners-up.
Fourth seed Kevin Seavey (130) knocked off a pair of No. 1 seeds, including Chesapeake's county champion Doug Horton. And No. 3 seed senior Vytas Dulys (119, fourth) defeated a No. 1 seed and a couple of No.2 seeds.
Take it from the team's youngest member, 103-pound JasonBryant: "Coach says it's an individual sport, but you win with the team concept."