Key's Yinger does his wrestling in style

F. S.

January 25, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Francis Scott Key's Zac Yinger is far from conventional with his wrestling style.

When the 145-pound junior takes to the mat, the Eagles' faithful are on the edges of their seats, the opponent of the night isn't quite sure what to expect and, on most occasions, Yinger comes away with a victory.

Yinger's 15-1 record this season has him ranked fourth by the Maryland State Wrestling Association coaches' poll. He's a big reason why the Eagles are 7-0-1 on the season and ranked fifth in the metro area.

"He's just an exciting wrestler and the fans love to watch him," said Key coach Bill Hyson.

"He works hard on trying some different things in the practice room and is willing to try them in a match. As a team, we're pretty traditional in the things we want to do on the mat. He's goes a bit beyond that in some of his moves and holds and is willing to take chances."

Yinger, who has wrestled since the second grade and came up through the Junior Eagles recreation program, puts his wrestling ways in simpler terms.

"I try to be aggressive throughout the match and be a wild man," he said.

"I try to keep my opponents off balance from the start and force them to wrestle my kind of match."

Even on the rare occasion Yinger loses, he does it in style. His only loss of this season came early on in the Annapolis Tournament when he was ahead 5-4 against No. 3 Benny Ferro of Bullis.

Yinger had Ferro ready to be decked with a pinning maneuver that also exposed his own back to the mat. When the referee pounded the mat, Yinger jumped up in apparent victory, only to have the ref raise Ferro's hand.

"That was weird. After the match [Ferro] told me he thought I had him pinned," Yinger said.

"I look back at that before every match now and it really fires me up."

A big part of the Eagles' success comes from a strong junior class led by defending state champ Randy Owings, Steve Lessard and Yinger. The trio is a combined 42-3 on the season and each has wrestled at the varsity level since their freshmen season -- bringing plenty of leadership in the practice room for the Eagles.

"I've known Randy since I was seven years old and Steve moved up here his freshman year -- we're like best friends. Everyone on the team is really tight and that's a big key to our success," Yinger said.

With no matches or practice last week due to the bad weather conditions, the varsity had a team dinner on Thursday at Lessard's with Steve's mother cooking spaghetti for the coaches, parents and wrestlers. Lessard's and Yinger's mothers usually take turns in hosting the dinners.

The entire Yinger family is big on wrestling, except for maybe his mother -- but she still comes to every match. Yinger's father first got him started in the sport, and two younger brothers -- Matthew, an eighth-grader, and Nathaniel, a fourth-grader -- have coach Hyson excited.

"Mom totally hates wrestling, but still shows up at every match and gives me a lot of support. We'll go over to a relative's house for dinner and the talk is always about wrestling," Yinger said.

"I can teach younger Nathaniel a lot of things right now, but Matthew is in the stage where he thinks he knows everything about wrestling -- both are going to be tough."

Right now, Hyson is pleased about having older brother, Zac, on his side.

"Each year, he's matured and given us more and more. He came off a pretty strong finish in his sophomore year and it's carried right over into this year," Hyson said.

"He's real powerful and uses his strength well. He's real competitive with a lot of fire and always ready to go."

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