4-time Champ Eyes Bigger Things

Aberdeen's Slutzky Prepares For U.s.all-star Team Duty

March 15, 1992|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff writer

Matt Slutzky just won his fourth straight state wrestling title, buthe won't be going to Disney World next.

He'll be going to Pittsburgh.

The Aberdeen senior will be the only Maryland athlete on the U.S.All-Star team in the 18th Pittsburgh Press Wrestling Classic at the University of Pittsburgh March 28.

"That's like the most prestigious tournament in the country," said Slutzky. "I'm really excited about going."

The U.S. team, which will wrestle a team of Pennsylvaniaall-stars, is chosen from the top high school seniors in the nation.Slutzky, who will probably wrestle at 140 pounds, is only the fifth Maryland wrestler to compete in the event.

In Maryland, Slutzky, The Baltimore Sun's Wrestler of the Year in 1991, has earned substantial renown at age 18. Not only was he the first wrestler ever to win four state titles, he set a public school record for victories, endinghis high school career at 122-5-1.

Slutzky broke the county record for career victories by 20 wins. He does, however, share one recordwith former teammate Chris Franklin. Both won four county titles. His latest state title came on a 13-1 decision over Larry Green, of McDonough, on March 8.

"I'm still pretty high," said Slutzky, severaldays after his victory. "It makes my year. Everything for the last five or six years has been geared toward this. It's like a dream really."

Slutzky's dream began in 1989, when he won his first state title over Fallston junior Dan Jenkins, 6-1. With that win, Slutzky became only the third freshman to win a state title.

Earlier that season, Jenkins had tied Slutzky in a dual meet, but Slutzky edged him for the county championship, 7-6. Even back then, Jenkins, now a sophomore wrestling at Clemson University, expected great things from Slutzky.

"When he was a freshman, he had a lot of poise and composure,"said Jenkins. "He was a real technician and that always leads to good things. But he had some serious workout partners (at Aberdeen). Andhe's got a wonderful coach in his dad."

Dick Slutzky, Aberdeen coach for 20 years, guided his son through all four years.

"I've been in the business for 38 years, and I've never had anyone work as hard at accomplishing goals as he has," Dick Slutzky said. "But I'm gladit's over. If I have another kid, it's going to be a girl."

Aftercelebrating with his family over the weekend, Matt took two days offfrom practice -- something he rarely does. Wednesday, however, he was back in the weight room preparing for the Pittsburgh Press Classic.

Slutzky spends much of his spare time these days filling out college application forms. He already has been accepted at several schools, including Penn State, but is waiting to hear from others -- including Syracuse, the alma mater of his dad, who was an NCAA runner-up while wrestling for Syracuse in 1964.

Matt hopes to impress some more college scouts the classic. A 3.6 grade-point average and an interest in a pre-veterinary program make Slutzky even more attractive to college recruiters.

Jenkins sees good things for Slutzky at the college level as well.

"He won't have any problems adapting to the style, because he's really smooth on his feet," he said. "He's great atthe neutral position, and that's where you win in college."

Slutzky, who plans to wrestle again this year in the junior national freestyle tournament, said he knows college wrestling will be more challenging.

"It's gonna be a long course to follow. There probably won'tbe immediate results. I do think a national championship, I'm capable of doing."

Who would expect him to think anything else?

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