Now, wrestling's fun for Francis Scott Key's Beale Develops into state contender

December 22, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Chris Beale did not always enjoy wrestling during his junior league days. But steady success and new-found camaraderie has made the sport a lot more fun.

Beale broke into Francis Scott Key's regular lineup early in his freshman year and has stayed since. He went 37-10 during his first two years, and hopes to make greater impact as a junior. Beale has improved each season. After missing part of his freshman year with injuries, he finished 14-4 at 112 pounds and was an alternate to the state tournament.

Last season, after winning a Carroll County title at 125 and finishing third in the region, he was among the final eight in the state tournament and finished 23-6.

Beale also won Key's Christmas tournament and the South Hagerstown Rebel Invitational. He made the All-Monocacy Valley Athletic League and All-County teams.

This season, wrestling at 135, he won seven of his first nine matches as the No. 5 Eagles won their first four matches.

With the victories piling up, Beale is gaining confidence in all aspects of his wrestling. He said his style has changed greatly since his freshman year.

"My first year I was more defensive," he said. "Last year, I [was] working on offense. This year, I'm trying to take control of the match."

That's been no problem in dual meets, where Beale has suffered only one loss in his high school career. His difficulty has come in tournaments, but he said he expects an easier time of it this season.

Francis Scott Key coach Bill Hyson said Beale now does a better job of dictating the action on the mat.

"You need to set the pace for the match," said Hyson. "He's much more aggressive."

Hyson said Beale's hard work on and off the mat has paid off. Bealewatches his weight closely, hits the weights regularly and practices hard.

He also tried other sports to help stay in shape. At 5 feet 6, 150pounds, Beale started at defensive end for the often-undersized Key football team.

"[The size] was a disadvantage," said Beale, who also played footballin 1991. "I got nailed many times."

Beale said the transition from junior league to varsity wrestling was not easy. The larger crowds that attend high school matches, especially tournaments, threw Beale a bit at first.

"Now, I'm more used to the system," said Beale. "I was [not used] to matches in front of fans. Now, I can concentrate on my match."

Beale began wrestling in the second grade. He found a flier for the Junior Eagles wrestling program and decided to give the sport a try.

Beale admits that even though he stayed with the program -- and became a winner -- he didn't always find it to his liking.

After he made the Key team, things became different. Beale liked the team feeling on the high school level.

"The team aspect was good," said Beale. "It's for your school and for the rest of the people on your team. You're pulling for them, and they're pulling for you."

Also pulling for Beale is his family. His younger brother, Tim, now wrestles, and his mother, Deb Hummel, likes to come to as many of Chris' matches as possible. She didn't know much about wrestling at first; now she'll offer Chris suggestions.

"After a while, you end up almost critiquing," she said with a laugh. "Most of the time, he takes it pretty well. Once in awhile, though, he tells me I don't know what I'm talking about."

Beale clearly knows what he's talking about when it comes to wrestling. He has come a long way from his junior-league days.

"I think he has more confidence in himself," said Hyson. "He's very sound technically."

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