There's no match for Collins

March 03, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

At 16, Roy Collins is younger than most students in his junior class at Hereford. And at 6 feet 3 and 183 pounds, he's also smaller than most guys he wrestles at 189 pounds.

"I wrestled a match down at 171 against [Pikesville's regional champ] Chad Hipsley, and I won, but I didn't like it there," Collins said.

"At 189, I have more speed and strength. Plus, I can eat anything I want."

It's hard to argue with a No. 1 state ranking and a 33-0 record, including 24 pins and three technical falls, despite being only a third-year wrestler.

A county and regional champ, Collins is a breed unlike any Hereford coach Jim Long, 59, has seen.

"Rarely do you find kids with natural ability who are successful against experienced kids," said Long, in his 17th year at Hereford.

Collins is multi-talented, having rushed for 700 yards and six touchdowns as a running back last fall. Also a linebacker, Collins, who bench-presses 260 pounds, will eschew playing lacrosse this spring to wrestle and lift weights.

"Roy's strong, quick and has good leverage and balance," Long said. "Pound for pound he's the most powerful kid I've ever workedwith."

Perry Hall's 3A-4A North Region champ Jeff Taylor (32-3) was little competition for Collins, losing, 17-5, in last month's Overlea Tournament, and 14-2, in their county tournament title bout two weeks ago.

Collins beat Aberdeen's then-fifth-ranked Chris Allen, 3-0, for last weekend's 1A-2A North Region crown and this weekend aims at a state title.

He opened the year with two tournament victories, taking an 11-9 overtime title-bout win over John Carroll's Greg Stotler in the Pikesville Tournament. He pinned all three opponents at Hereford's Tournament.

"I was out of shape in the beginning, but now I can go hard the whole match," Collins said. "I try not to get into position to lose."

And Collins, the state's only unbeaten 189-pounder, is wary of several recent upsets:

* McDonogh's J. R. Plienis was top-ranked and undefeated when he lost Gilman's Jamie Biddison.

* After losing an overtime Maryland Scholastic Association semifinal bout to Biddison, Stotler -- an earlier 13-8 winner over Jeff Taylor -- was eliminated, 5-3, by city runner-up Kama Owens (Carver), whom Taylor pinned.

* Owens finished fourth in the MSAs after losing for the third time this season to city champ Rashad Kitchen (Poly), an earlier 11-3 loser to Stotler.

* Frederick's Mike McIlvaine (23-2) was unbeaten until being pinned by No. 3 Mike Janus (26-1) of Williamsport, a likely state semifinal opponent for Collins.

* Northern of Calvert's then-No. 3 Bernie Apshago (31-2) lost twice in a two-day span, the second time by 17-5 to Old Mill's No. 6 Don Patterson (28-6).

* Patterson was eclipsed, 6-2, by Kitchen in last weekend's 3A-4A East Region title bout.

"All of the upsets are why it's so important to keep learning," Collins said. "I want the moves to come without thought."

Long coaxed Collins into the wrestling room two years ago, and the freshman responded with an 11-0 record -- all pins -- for the junior-varsity county title.

Last year, Jesse Channel (152) was a defending state champ and an excellent workout partner for Collins, who won 24 bout at 171 and was a county runner-up to Owings Mills' three-time state champ Grant Johnson.

Collins' third-place regional finish last season came after a 1-0 victory over Towson's Pat Macleod, who was unbeaten and ranked No. 3 at 171, before losing in the county and regional finals.

"Roy's working hard and keeping tabs on the competition," Long said. "He wants to be No. 1."

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