Terps' Ferencz gets grip on big-time college wrestling Ex-North Carroll football star aims for NCAA tourney

February 28, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Bill Ferencz has nothing against Carroll County.

He grew up in a quiet neighborhood off Deep Run Road in thnorthern part of the county where he had plenty of room to play ball with his father.

He blossomed into a powerfully built 6-foot-2, 250-pound athletwho starred in football and wrestling for North Carroll High.

The soft-spoken big man was good enough in football at thcenter position to play in the Big 33 All-Star Game against Pennsylvania's team in Hershey.

In wrestling, he was a two-time state heavyweight champion anmet North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein, whom he credits most for making it possible for him to wrestle for the University of Maryland in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference.

But Ferencz said he has found a whole new world outside oCarroll County in College Park, and he loves every bit of the bustling Washington suburb.

"College life opens your eyes to the real world," said thMaryland senior, who has a 20-6 record this season. "There's so much to do here. So many places to go and opportunities to do things you don't have a chance to do in Carroll County."

Ferencz has a 60-44-5 record in four years for the Terps ancame close to making the heavyweight final in the ACC tournament last season. That would have given him a trip to the NCAA tournament in Ames, Iowa.

He lost in the semifinals to Clemson's Chris Donigan by a 6-decision in a bout that Ferencz said, "I choked."

"I took him down and was all excited and figured I was going tbeat him," said Ferencz. "He was a little guy [185 pounds who had stepped up to heavyweight] compared to me. I guess I got too carried away and he wound up beating me with a takedown."

Ferencz promises he won't let anything happen like that thiyear as he prepares for the ACC tournament next weekend.

really excited about the ACC tournament," he said. "I'm pumped up and believe I can make it to the nationals. I won't take anything for granted this time."

Ferencz has helped Maryland to a No. 20 ranking in the countrthisseason and the Terps would have been higher if they had not lost close matches to Navy and Clemson.

"We could have won both matches if I had pinned my man," saiFerencz. "I should have. The big thing is no one gave us much of a chance before the season but we've proven some things."

Ferencz said his biggest thrill is still just walking out onto the mat at Cole Field House to wrestle.

"It's something I always had in the back of my mind," he said. "Iyou play any sport at Maryland, people have some respect for you. I know I'm not looked up to like a basketball or football player, but I get a lot of recognition. It's fun."

Ferencz said he chose wrestling over football because, "I like thpractices better. It's fun to be wrestling all the time in practice. In football, you stand around and wait in line a lot if you're an offensive lineman."

He said Maryland wrestling coach John McHugh has made hicollegiate career run smoothly.

"He's a good guy. The best thing about him is he's honest. Htells you how it is," said Ferencz, who has been accepted by Maryland's dental school.

However, no coach will ever take the place of Bauerlein foFerencz.

"Because of him, I'm here," he said. "He's a stand-up guy. MrBauerlein had a great positive influence on me."

Bauerlein said he never will forget a moment with Ferencz fouyears ago at the state wrestling tournament.

"We had just lost the state title by one point to Old Mill and BillFerencz came up to me and apologized for not pinning his opponent. He won his bout by a decision but he still was apologizing to me," said Bauerlein. "He's a good boy, he cares about people, he's intelligent and works hard to pick things up in wrestling."

Ferencz said he still hurts inside a little when he thinks abouthat state tournament second-place finish to Old Mill.

"I was upset," he said. "We cost Mr. Bauerlein a chance to win state title. I had my guy in a cradle but let him get away."

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