It's official. Rich Logue still enjoys wrestling.
Logue became a wrestling referee about 10 years ago following a successful career as a wrestler for Westminster High School. The Finksburg resident developed into one of the top officials around, working the state tournament for the last three years.
Logue, who wrestled at 132 and 138 pounds, spent four years on the Westminster varsity. He won the Carroll County championship twice, the Tri-State tournament twice and made the state tournament twice before he was graduated in 1980.
His refereeing career began a few years later. Acting upon a request, Logue tried officiating and found he enjoyed it.
"I knew the sport," said Logue, who handles a large number of Carroll County matches. "It was just a different variation of the sport itself. It wasn't a real big change or anything."
Sam Brutout, commissioner for the Central Maryland Wrestling Officials Association, the group Logue officiates with, said he quickly saw the former wrestler's talent.
"He was a natural the first time that he walked on the mat," said Brutout. "I knew he was going to be good. You just had the sense that [would happen]."
Logue credits his days on the mat with aiding his officiating ability.
Logue said he often positions himself based on his knowledge of where a wrestler is taking a certain move. Brutout said that's a strong point for Logue.
"You anticipate moves where you're in the right position," said Brutout. "He has command of the sport. He has love of the sport."
Logue does not live for the refereeing itself. He officiates for the enjoyment, not the money he earns.
Owning a lawn maintenance company takes up his time during the day, and officiating eats up two or three nights a week during the season -- which translates to time away from his family.
"I do it just for the sport," said Logue. "I enjoy the sport."
Logue says he feels something special when working big matches. He is scheduled to referee the Francis Scott Key-North Carroll match tomorrow and said the excitement is there for him, too.
Those Logue works with said he carries himself well on and off the mat, regardless of a match's importance.
"I really enjoy what he brings to the match, just his whole demeanor," said Francis Scott Key coach Bill Hyson. "I think he has a real good perception on things."
In addition to perception, Logue names confidence as something important for a referee. Logue said the referee needs faith in his ability.
Logue handles himself well on the mat. He is effective in dealing with the athletes and keeps the coaches happy.
"He's consistent and fair with things," said Hyson. "He doesn't try to justify a call, but he will try to explain a call."
One thing Logue does not need to explain is his happiness at working the state tournament.
Logue was selected each of the last three years, and he said that was an honor.
"It's like the official's day [at] the Super Bowl," said Logue. "In high school wrestling, that's it. To me, it means you're one of the better ones."
Brutout agrees with that assessment, calling him one of the top five officials in the state. To keep that reputation, Logue always is looking to improve.
"No matter how long you officiate, you always look to improve," said Logue.
Said Brutout: "Very seldom do I have to second-guess him. Even the tough calls, he's right there on the money."
L And Logue plans to be right on the money for a while longer.
"I definitely enjoy it," said Logue. "When I stop enjoying it, I'll stop it."