Holston's C. M. Wright wrestlers pin down progress In 6 years, team builds reputation

January 24, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

It is easy for Carl Holston to pinpoint just how far his C. Milton Wright wrestling program has come in his six years as head coach.

"It used to be our good wrestlers went on the mat hoping not to lose. Now, our average wrestlers go out expecting to win," Holston said.

The current team got off to an 8-0 record before losing at Aberdeen, then split with Joppatowne (win) and Bel Air (loss) on Wednesday.

In Holston's first year as head coach, he had no wrestlers with as many as 10 wins. Now, he has five with at least 11, and says there should be nine by the end of the season. Among the five are freshman Dave Schmidt (a team-high 17-2 at 103), and junior Vince Tucciarella (13-5 at 119).

Two others are seniors Aric Schwab and Ethan Kushner.

Kushner (14-5 at 160 and 171) is a product of the Aberdeen recreation wrestling program and is in his fourth year of competition for the Mustangs.

"I play lacrosse, too, and when I came to school, I was looking for another sport. Wrestling wasn't the most popular at the time and it was a chance to compete," Kushner said.

"Now, our crowds are getting better, and I think we get more respect around school, especially since we got off to a such a good start.

"Aberdeen is a good example of how far we've come. A couple of years ago, there was a huge difference between the two teams, but the gap is much narrower and I think we're even getting some respect."

The Mustangs won three of the pairings in the recent Aberdeen meeting, and other matches were closer than in previous years. Schwab and Kushner earned decisions, and freshman Dave Schmidt (17-2) had a pin in the 45-12 loss.

Schwab (12-2 at 125 and 130) has wrestled the past three years since moving to the area from Wayne, Mich. "It's my main sport, although I train in the martial arts, too," he said. "The flexibility and stamina required by each is the same."

Both wrestlers pointed out the closeness of the team members -- always found wrestling teammates are much closer than any other sport, even lacrosse," said Kushner, and Schwab added, "I think it's truer this year than before that when one of us loses on the mat, the others share the pain."

Kushner said: "When you win, it's great; when you lose, it's terrible. You always have to believe in yourself." Schwab calls the sport "the most demanding mentally I know."

Holston has concentrated on developing the mental side of his wrestlers.

"We had to start building a tradition," he said. "It wasn't necessarily just wins and losses, either, but it takes a long time to establish a foundation.

"We wanted to point out our successes, so we began by putting certain wrestlers' names on the wall of our wrestling room -- those with 20 wins in a season, 50 wins for a career.

"The school is good in other sports and we didn't want people saying, ' . . . everything but wrestling.'"

Said Kushner: "Coach tries very hard to promote the sport. He'll show videotapes of our matches during lunch period; he keeps a chart of our wins and losses, highlighting special efforts, and at -- the end of the season displays the trophies we have won so others can be aware of our accomplishments."

One of C. Milton Wright's accomplishments has been to equal or improve its record each year. Over the past four, it has gone from 5-9 to 8-6 and to last year's 9-5.

"We lost some good wrestlers from that team," Holston said, "and we have some holes in our lineup. We're doing well, but it's not the team I expected to have, because some chose not to come out.

"We forfeit the heavyweight and don't have a true 189. Barry Mitchell, normally at 171, has been asked to move up to 189, and Kushner has wrestled some at 171 as well as 160.

"Still, I'm really happy with this team. Starting 8-0 was quite an accomplishment, and now we want to build on that."

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