Morgan wins 9th straight MEAC title Coppin State gives Bears a tough test COLLEGE WRESTLING

February 20, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Morgan State had just won its ninth straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference wrestling championship, and Larry McCoy, the coach of runner-up Coppin State, said he hoped the Bears weren't riled by a relatively close call over the Eagles.

"Turn around one of our head-to-head matches, and we beat them," McCoy said. "We're catching up to them, but this will probably get him [Morgan State coach Jim Phillips] mad. He's a recruiter extraordinaire. He'll probably go out and get another 10 horses."

Phillips already has enough studs, and he has gone to great lengths to get them. Morgan State's postseason lineup includes three wrestlers from Oklahoma and one each from Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, New York and New Jersey. He recruits and schedules nationally, and he wants his wrestlers to think the same, as in NCAA tournament.

"We wrestle the top teams in the country, because that's the only way to get better," said 126-pounder Charlie Morgan, a sophomore from Ferndale, Mich. "If we don't see the best in a dual meet, we see them in a tournament. Come the NCAA regionals, we're not shocked by seeing good competition."

There's proof in the records. Morgan went to the NCAA tournament as a freshman last year, when the stiff competition all season left him with a 16-16 record.

Morgan was joined in Oklahoma City last year by 167-pounder Robert Edmonds, who is eager to return to the NCAAs, because they're in Ames, Iowa, a half-four from his home in Des Moines. Dontae Smith (118) went to the NCAAs two years ago, but the junior from Akron sat out last season after a hernia operation.

Phillips says he has high hopes for that experienced trio and four or five others at the East Regional in California, Pa., in the first weekend in March.

The depth paid off yesterday at Hill Field House, as the Bears had five champions and outpointed Coppin State, 85 1/2 -73 3/4 .

Smith, Morgan and Edmonds, the only repeat titlists, were joined in the champions' photo by two true freshmen, New Yorker Duane Thompson (142) and Oklahoman Parrish Pierce (190).

Morgan State and Coppin State matched up in four of the 10 finals, and Smith, Morgan and Edmonds beat their cross-town rivals before Eagle junior Chris Forrest decisioned Marlin Houston, another true freshman, at heavyweight. Forrest, who's from Baton Rouge, La., was named the Outstanding Wrestler. Robert Carradine (134) was Coppin State's other champion.

Delaware State and Howard were the only other teams competing, to the disappointment of Phillips and McCoy, who said the four programs are the only ones from historically black colleges competing in Division I.

"There were eight schools at this meet five or six years ago," Phillips said. "People should have never dropped the sport. Kids need something to do."

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