Brennan has hold on what to do 2 losses in states aid Owl's 3rd bid

January 24, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Westminster's Neil Brennan is definitely a wrestler with perspective.

The 17-year-old senior is enjoying a banner season with a 16-2 record and has the states in sight.

Having qualified the past two years, he has seen what it takes to come home a state champion. He knows it won't be easy in a highly competitive 145-pound division, but does believe he's got as good a shot as anybody.

"I think knowing what to expect will help. I won't be so apprehensive this time because I know what's ahead of me," he said.

TTC "I'm really looking forward to states. With a good luck of the draw and if everything goes well, I could come out on top."

Brennan is ranked fifth in the Maryland State Wrestling Association at 145. Four of the top six ranked wrestlers will be vying for the Class 3A/4A title.

McDonough's Damon Newsome is ranked second, followed by Rick Staab of Dundalk. Howard's Jason Shefrin is at six behind Brennan. Randallstown's Johnny Montgomery -- third in the 152-pound division -- also likely will drop down and compete at 145 in states.

Newsome was a state runner-up last year, and Staab was the state champion in the 140-pound class. Both are unbeaten this season.

That's some pretty fine company, but Brennan knows he belongs. He showed it last year when he gave Staab all he could handle before Staab came away with a 1-0 decision in the Region I finals.

"It was kind of frustrating," Brennan said. "I really thought I out-wrestled him, but he got a point off an escape. I'd like to see him again."

Westminster coach Solomon Carr says the difference in Brennan this year is his growing confidence. "In the past, he didn't always believe in himself and his ability," Carr said.

"He's just now starting to believe he has the talent to win at states. Having been to states the past two years will help him out a lot this year. I think he has the feeling that he has to do it, there's no more second chances. I think his chances are great."

Carr likens Brennan's wrestling style with his own. That's some pretty high acclaim considering Carr set a school record for wins at Erie Tech High in Pennsylvania when he went 56-1 his senior year in the early 1980s.

"He's not a pinner, but more of a technician and solid takedown man. Sometimes that makes a match seem a lot closer than it is, but Neil knows how to take control of a match," Carr said. "He listens and absorbs everything I throw at him and is a real hard worker."

There's plenty of wrestling left for Brennan before the state tournament in early March. Last year, he came away with the county title in the 140-pound division and is a strong favorite to win the 145-pound class this season.

"I'm glad the county is so competitive in wrestling," he said. "It's -- always given me something to work toward and strong competition only makes you better."

Carr says Brennan definitely has the talent to be a solid contributor in the college ranks.

Brennan, who's interested in majoring in biology, is keeping his options open. Plenty of schools have shown interest, including three Pennsylvania schools -- Slippery Rock, Shippensburg and Millersville -- along with Frostburg.

"If the opportunity is there, I'd like to keep wrestling just because I enjoy it so much," he said. "If things don't work out, I'll still be satisfied with my wrestling career."

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