Coach sets out to restore Owls program to prominence

December 10, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

The old breed around the Westminster High wrestling program has looked on in dismay in past years as the Owls have dropped far behind North Carroll and Francis Scott Key in success on the mat.

Those people don't understand why one of the largest 4A schools in the state has to take a back seat to those two much-smaller schools.

Henry Mohlhenrich is one of the old breed who has been upset by the Owls' decline, and he has stepped forward to do something about it.

Mohlhenrich has taken over as head coach at Westminster and will try to rebuild the program to the heights it enjoyed in the late 1960s.

"We need to be back where we were in those years when we lost only three or four matches in three years," said Mohlhenrich, who was a 167-pound wrestler for the Owls from 1967-69. "We were the cream of the crop in those days. We went undefeated in my senior year. North Carroll [now the top team] was different then."

Mohlhenrich knows it won't be easy to catch the 2A Panthers and the 1A Eagles because both schools have outstanding coaches and firmly entrenched junior wrestling programs.

But he is hoping for the best.

Mohlhenrich has installed a strenuous workout schedule for the current Owls wrestlers, wants to upgrade the team's schedule, and is working onstrengthening a junior program for the school.

"We've always had the talent," he said. "But we've been a little bit undisciplined. I'm making the kids work harder and they seem to be adapting to it."

Mohlhenrich gained a little insight into the Westminster program last season when he was a volunteer assistant coach.

Now he has his first head coaching position and is being careful not to make "any rash predictions" for this season.

"We might surprise some people," he said. "We graduated five seniors but we look good in the [wrestling] room. I'm real satisfied to this point. But until you get out of the room, you don't know who has the good heart in them."

Senior Steve Shepherd (130 pounds) and junior Matt Warner (119) are expected to be the Owls' most consistent wrestlers. Both are coming off of good seasons and have the experience to break through this season.

Seniors Rob Andrews (135), Andy Cromey (125) and Jessie Pate (heavyweight) should contribute.

Pate, a four-year football lineman, was convinced by Mohlhenrich to come out for wrestling for the first time.

"He seems to have the right attitude," said Mohlhenrich, who was in desperate need of a heavyweight.

Two freshmen from the current junior-league program -- Grant Lindsay (103) and James Unglesbee (112) -- will wrestle in the regular lineup at smaller weight classifications.

"We have no heroes," said Mohlhenrich. "But we should do OK as a team if some of our better guys have consistent seasons."

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