Arundel's Hepfer pins win No. 200 on North County

January 05, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Arundel wrestling coach Buddy Hepfer notched career victory No. 200 last night at North County with a 54-10 win.

Despite being in his 26th season, at 5 feet 9 and 163 pounds, Hepfer has retained some nimbleness that made him a scholarship wrestler for Maryland University. Hepfer, 49, developed some back problems in recent years, or he still would engage in challenge matches against wrestlers during practice.

"They say when Buddy started coaching, they were still using bear skins as uniforms," said Mike Hampe, coach of five-time, 3A-4A state champ Old Mill, and who at 191-27-3 over 19th seasons is within striking distance of the 200-victory milestone with 11 matches left.

Hepfer said, "I haven't really given a lot of thought to retirement. In four years, it'll be my 30th year teaching, but a lot can happen in four years. We'll just have to see."

Hepfer, who is 200-76-4 (including 6-0 this year), has won six county dual-meet titles, along with seven each in county and regional tournament crowns and a state title in 1985.

No. 8 Arundel had five pins against North County, including one in 58 seconds by Phil Meenan (119 pounds, 11-1, eight pins), another in 52 by freshman Isaac Haertel (140, 11-1) and Brandon Sands' (189) in 42 seconds.

NB Arundel's John Noon (heavyweight, 12-0, eight pins), won, 5-0,

over defending county champ Corey Fowler (9-4), increasing his series lead to 5-1.

An example of Hepfer's prowess came when unheralded third-year wrestler John Shulz (130) upset North County's team captain, Shawn Potwin, who had beaten Shulz, 5-2, as a runner-up in last week's Arundel tournament. Shulz, at Hepfer's bidding, executed a headlock for a 5-0 first-period lead and held on to win, 8-2.

"John only hears Buddy when he's out there," said Shulz's father, Jack. Said John: "He's been trying to get me to do that move in practice. I finally did."

Like Hepfer, Northeast's 25th-year coach Al Kohlhafer has remained at the same school. Kohlhafer's Eagles earned last year's 1A-2Astate crown, and he earned last year's Baltimore Sun All-Metro Coach of the Year honors.

"Whether or not he starts with quality kids, Buddy always turns out good teams," said Kohlhafer.'who surpassed the 200-career-victory milestoneduring the 1991-1992 season.

"Buddy's competitive, but it's never like it's coach against coach. I respect him and think a lot of him."

In only his third season, Hepfer, then 26, coached Chuck Markiewicz to a county and regional title -- but only after having to kick Markiewicz off the team for disciplinary reasons.

"He's a strict disciplinarian and he knows the sport," said Arundel athletic director Bernie Walter. "He's still in great shape for his age and we're lucky to have him."

Markiewicz, 38, said he tried to emulate Hepfer's intensity over his 10 seasons spent as wrestling coach at Meade, Chesapeake and North County.

"He's an icon, and I guess I was a part of about 36 of his wins," said Markiewicz, who stopped coaching wrestling two years ago to concentrate on his North County football program.

"Even when he wasn't getting junior-league wrestlers, Buddy made the most of even the average guys."

Two years ago, Hepfer gave up coaching football to concentrate on wrestling.

He runs two invitational tournaments, often employing his children, Alison, 13, and Mark, 8, to help with the paperwork. Sons Greg, 18, and Frank Jr., 23, also were former wrestlers for Hepfer, with Frank placing fourth in the state as a senior.

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