Aberdeen tightens its grip

January 16, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

For C. Milton Wright's young wrestling team, it was a learning experience. For unbeaten Aberdeen, it was business as usual.

The visiting Eagles (11-0) lost three of the first four matches but took the remaining nine pairings for a 46-13 victory yesterday.

The superiority of coach Dick Slutzky's team was especially noticeable in the middle and upper weights. From Frank Johnson at 135 and Dwayne Whitley at 145 through Kit Doran, Chad Gurrera, Mike Grant and Chris Allen there were three pins, a technical fall and two major decisions.

That was plenty of experience, too, as all are seniors except Whitley, a junior. Of the five seniors, all are reigning county

champions except Grant, who was a losing finalist.

By contrast, C. Milton Wright is a young team, with eight of yesterday's 12 starters freshmen and sophomores.

Early in the meet, after losing at 103, Wright (3-4) won three in a row, as freshman Corey Grace got a decision, sophomore Dave Schmidt earned a major decision and Vince Tucciarella, a two-time county finalist, came away with the meet's quickest pin, 1 minute, 34 seconds.

After that, Mustangs' positives had to be measured in bits and pieces.

At 140, Wright sophomore Chad Smith led Aberdeen freshman Jerod Gurrera, 6-2, but the latter closed to 6-4 in the third period, then pulled out a decision with a near-fall in the last 10 seconds for a 7-6 edge.

In the process, Smith learned that it is sometimes unwise to try to repeat a successful earlier move. The second one cost him, as he wound up on his back when he was ahead 6-4 with 50 seconds left.

Barry Mitchell, with Tucciarella the only two seniors on the Wright squad, put up a stubborn defense against Allen at 189, eventually losing, 18-7. It was the most points given up by Allen in what is now a 15-1 season.

Mitchell, a four-year veteran working on a third successive winning season, called the match "one of my better efforts, but he's tough."

Now with a record of 8-4 for first-year coach Kenny Bryant, Mitchell believes he is a better wrestler than a year ago. "I was more of an upper-body wrestler last year, but the coach has me 'shooting,' more and it has helped.

"Overall, Coach has a different mind-set [than last year's coach, Carl Holston], and he's making us work harder. I think we're better mentally prepared, too, and that's an important aspect."

The two seniors are captains and setting good examples.

"The responsibility makes me want to push harder," Mitchell said. "We're a young team, with guys up from the JV, and I think there's been improvement."

Both teams have a busy week ahead, weather permitting.

Wright will make up a meet at Havre de Grace on Tuesday, then will have a tri-meet with Joppatowne at Bel Air. Aberdeen and Havre de Grace will be at Fallston on Thursday, and the Eagles will be at Elkton on Saturday.

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