First year's a charm for S. Carroll's Chenoweth

January 18, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Nobody is more surprised with the success South Carroll wrestler Mike Chenoweth is having this season than Chenoweth himself.

The sophomore has come out of nowhere to become a dominating figure at 160 pounds. Both he and South Carroll coach Pete Olson were expecting him to win about half his matches this season, his first at the varsity level.

Instead, he's a perfect 14-0 with 12 pins on the season and is ranked fifth in the Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings.

He first began getting recognition after beating highly touted Seth St. Vincent of top-ranked Mount St. Joe's earlier in the season at the Cougar Invitational.

"Going into that first tournament nobody really heard of me. Winning that got everyone's attention," he said.

He beat St. Vincent in impressive fashion, rallying from an 11-5 deficit to claim a 14-13 decision.

"I was with another kid on a different mat, but caught most of it out of the corner of my eye," Olson said.

"Mike twice got [St. Vincent] on his back with re-rolls -- those are five-point moves and that's 10 points right there."

One guy who is sure not to miss a minute of any of Chenoweth's matches is his father, who also wrestled in high school and films every one of his son's matches.

"Dad really helps me out a lot. We go home and watch every match. I like to just watch them, but he checks them more closely and tells me what I might be doing wrong," Chenoweth said.

"He hasn't missed a match yet and I don't want to look bad in front of him."

Success didn't come easy to Chenoweth. He began wrestling four yeas ago with the Warriors, a junior league club team coached by Jerry Little. He said was he was horrible his first two years and then blossomed last year, when he won a junior league state title.

"I really struggled my first two years and then it all came together last year," Chenoweth said.

"I learned a lot more stuff with the Warriors last year instead of wrestling for the [South Carroll] junior varsity. I got a chance to wrestle against some good competition."

Olson is most impressed by Chenoweth's great poise on the mat.

"He's a cool cookie," Olson said.

"He has great confidence, but isn't cocky. One of the things is he has real good balance and is physically mature for his age."

"He's very strong. In wrestling, you don't want to muscle your moves, but you want to use your strength in your moves. Mike does that -- he knows his strengths and you don't find that in a young kid very often."

Chenoweth's game plan is a simple one. He doesn't take anyone for granted and takes things one match at a time.

"One thing I don't want to do is to get overconfident, that's when you get caught," he said.

"I just try not to rush anything and whatever comes, I try to take advantage."

It's been pins that have been coming frequently. It's to the point HTC where he goes to the mat and Olson expects to get points.

"He comes off the mat and gives me a little smile, it's not a smirk but more like a little boy smile knowing he's done well."

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