"Let's go," ordered assistant coach Kenny Taylor, setting some 20 of the state's best wrestlers in synchronized motion.
They'd been going full-tilt for about two hours Monday, in the 90-something degree heat of the McDonogh School's practice room, so every boy was sweat-drenched.
This year's Maryland Junior team left today for the July 24-26 Greco-Roman/Freestyle nationals in St. Paul, Minn.
"If there's a such thing as a high school dream team, this is it," said director Cornell Bass, whose Northwest Wrestling club at McDonogh is the group's training facility.
At one end of the room, Broadneck state champion Shawn Miller, 123 pounds, battled Calvert Hall national prep champion Greg Knox, 114.5 pounds.
In another corner, Randallstown's 178-pound, two-time state champion Mike Jenson, the Baltimore Sun's 1991-92 Wrestler of the Year, worked out with Oakland Mills' two-time heavyweight champ, Monte Spencer.
"I don't know how long it's been since we've had someone place in nationals," said Knox. "But that's definitely a motivator."
"In the past, there were guys who just went out there for the trip," said senior Grant Johnson (165), Owings Mills' two-time champ. "But this team has more quality, and we expect to go out there and win."
Team members want to change Maryland's national reputation.
"I placed fourth in high school nationals [this spring]," said Miller, an All-American who will attend Lock Haven (Pa.) University. "I think it's a crock that a Maryland state champ can't hold his own against other states' wrestlers."
"A few of us have gone to a few tournaments recently and done well," said Jenson, a runner-up in last year's AAU nationals. "So I think people are starting to take us more seriously now."
Other members include Maryland Scholastic Association champions Kevin Neville (154, Mount St. Joseph) and Brendan James (123, Calvert Hall), plus Oakland Mills senior Adam Seidman (132), a three-time Howard County champ, senior Ed Overton (193), who is transferring from Carver to Owings Mills, and two-time Cadet All-American Danny DeVivo (154), a sophomore at Mount St. Joseph.
Absent from Monday's session were 1990-91 Wrestler of the Year Matt Slutzky (Aberdeen), the state's first four-time champion; Aberdeen's two-time champ Zack Fowl (114.5); former MSA champ Shane McCarthy (Mount St. Joseph); and former state champ Charlie Bennett (Broadneck).