Owings Mills' Johnson simply best All-American was unbeatable Wrestler of the Year

March 11, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

As a 112-pound freshman, Owings Mills' Grant Johnson might have had trouble pinning the tail on a donkey, let alone pinning a wrestler.

"He wasn't really a grinder back then," said Grant's older brother, Gerard, a former state champ at Owings Mills. "I told him once that he'd pay the price for winning those 2-0 and 1-0 matches, and he'd walk off the mat crying."

Today, Grant Johnson is a 171-pound All-American, and there are few who can last the full six minutes with The Baltimore Sun's 1992-93 Baltimore County Wrestler of the Year.

A three-time 2A-1A state champ, his 37-0 record this season includes more than 25 pins, five technical falls and victories over National Prep tournament champ John Leonardis and 4A-3A state champ Greg Booth (Arundel).

A two-time All-Metro wrestler, Johnson placed seventh nationally over the summer and -- according to at least 25 schools that are recruiting him -- has the looks of a future Olympian.

Things got so easy for Johnson on the high school level -- he was 27-4 as a freshman, 115-6 overall -- that he was granted permission to wrestle in a college tournament, where he went 2-1. His B average and his 990 Scholastic Aptitude Test score have schools such as Pennsylvania and Boston University after him.

Top-ranked Penn State, No. 3 Iowa State, Clarion, West Virginia and North Carolina State are also among Johnson's top considerations.

In last weekend's 2A-1A state tournament, Johnson scored two pins -- one in 40 seconds -- and a technical fall over North Carroll's previously unbeaten Chris Boog. He then decisioned James M. Bennett's previously unbeaten Ken Farrell, 4-1, for the crown.

He was voted the Outstanding Upperweight Wrestler in Tuesday's Senior All-Star Classic at Johns Hopkins, and his next stop before college is the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Wrestling Classic on March 27, where he'll compete for the U.S. All-Stars.

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