From novice to winner Reluctant winner: Westminster's Jason Hare had to be talked into wrestling. A fourth season later, he is 15-3 and a senior co-captain.

January 17, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

His freshman football season at Westminster had just concluded when Jason Hare was approached by his coach, Matt Bien, who also happened to be an assistant wrestling coach at the time.

"So what are you planning on doing now?" Hare recalls his coach asking.

"I was thinking about track, maybe in the spring," Hare told him.

Bien urged Hare to give wrestling a try.

Hare, now a senior co-captain with a 15-3 record this season wrestling at 171 and 189 pounds, wasn't sure what he was getting into, but figured he'd give it a try.

"I just told [Bien] I wasn't too interested in wrestling and wasn't sure if my mom would like me doing it," Hare said.

"I thought I'd go to the first day of practice and if I didn't like it, I wouldn't come back."

Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich, who helped out the junior varsity in Hare's freshman year before taking over varsity the next year, gives you a good idea what Hare thought of that first practice.

"I don't think he's ever missed a day of practice," Mohlhenrich said.

It turns out the clincher for Hare came with his first junior varsity match against Towson, when he found immediate success.

"I pinned the guy from Towson in a minute and a half," Hare said. "I thought 'Hey, this is fun.'"

Hare earned a spot in the varsity lineup as a sophomore, finishing around the .500 mark and making a trip to states. He returned to states as a junior, improving to 24-12. This season, he's come into his own with 11 pins in his 15 wins.

"He's done everything a coach can ask," Mohlhenrich said. "He's gone to clinics and gives it 110 percent in every practice and every match. He gets a little better every year, a little stronger and a little smarter."

Hare said the key to his success has been a matter of getting in the mat time and applying what he's learned at the camp he's gone to in Aberdeen and McDonogh.

"You get more and more confident as you go. The more mat experience you get in, the more comfortable you get," he said.

"Coach always says wrestling is like a chess match and you always have to be three moves ahead. I try to think like that."

Hare has earned the respect of his opponents. South Carroll senior Mike Chenoweth, a two-time state champ, enjoys the challenge presented by Hare.

Last Saturday, the undefeated Chenoweth came away with a 12-4 major decision, but it wasn't easy. Hare took an early two-point lead with a quick takedown before landing hard on his side in the second period. He kept on battling, but didn't have enough to get past Chenoweth.

"He seems to bring out the best in me," Chenoweth said after the match.

The hard work has paid off with Hare setting his sights on more than just another state appearance in his senior season.

"I'd like to win states or at least place in the top three," he said.

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