Kenwood's Williams finds no match on mats

January 20, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Kenwood's Chuck Williams has tattooed on his right shoulder the grim figure of the Tasmanian Devil, a creature he seems to emulate when he wrestles.

Take, for example, his quarterfinal bout of the Boys' Latin Tournament on Jan. 8.

Just seconds into the match, Williams, ranked No. 4 at 160 pounds by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, began tossing around his flailing opponent from Tatnall, Del.

"That guy's an animal," said a nearby coach. "He's a moose," said another. "He's so physical, he has kids begging to be pinned," said a third spectator.

Williams scored the pin in one minute and 45 seconds, and left a lasting impression on observers.

He won his next two bouts -- and the tournament crown -- on a pin and a 6-2 decision over Friends' Matt Bonds (17-2, 12 pins), whom Williams pinned for the title in the earlier Pikesville tournament.

"Sometimes he gets forfeits because people just don't want to wrestle him," said Kenwood coach Len Patrick, whose Bluebirds (6-2, 3-0) are ranked No. 14 by The Baltimore Sun.

"That can get frustrating, but I'm very impressed with how he's behaved. I tell him that [a forfeit] only happens out of respect for him."

The decision over Bonds remains the only time a wrestler has gone the distance against Williams, whose 16-0 record includes 11 pins and four forfeits.

"I've only been in the third period twice, but I bust my butt in practice just to make sure that I can last," said Williams, 18, a Middle River resident.

"I don't go out and force everything. I always set my shots up," Williams said. "I don't get out there and run up the score on people. I get out there and try to get it over with quickly."

He has the chiseled features of a bodybuilder, yet the 6-foot Williams never has lifted weights.

"My father's side of the family is big, and my mother's is small and well-defined. I'm kind of in between," said Williams.

"A college coach would want this kid in his program. His work ethic is just incredible," said Patrick. "For mental preparation, he's at another level -- totally tuned in to who he's wrestling."

Williams' bruising style is a product of his early days in Pittsburgh, where he began the sport in the junior leagues when he was 5. A former coach was an alternate Greco Roman wrestler for the Olympic team.

"They were always on me to wrestle aggressively," said Williams, who moved to Maryland when he was 14.

"Down here [in Maryland,] the emphasis is more on technique, where in Pennsylvania, you used technique, strength and aggression."

Williams went a combined 13-1 as a freshman at Kenwood, including 5-1 on the varsity. As a sophomore, he was 15-5, including a victory over Dundalk's Rick Staab, who went on that season to become his school's first state champion.

Yet Williams -- a junior academically -- failed to complete his first two wrestling seasons. He attributes his classroom struggles to family problems.

"I don't know that people understand what Chuck's been through," said Patrick. "He's really had a tough road."

Taking last year off from school, Williams said, allowed him to re-think his future.

He now lives with his father, works 40 to 50 hours a week, and has committed himself to earning a high school diploma. His hard work helped him to buy a pickup truck.

"I'll be too old to wrestle in high school next year, but I'll study hard and wrestle at the Northwest Wrestling Club," said Williams. "Hopefully, I can win states and earn a college scholarship."

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