Alberter: Modest warrior Success downplayed: South Carroll's Dan Alberter admits to being a "decent" wrestler who needs work, but coaches call the deceptive 130-pounder "lean and mean."

January 26, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

South Carroll senior Dan Alberter began wrestling in the eighth grade, and over the past five years, he says he's picked up a little here and a little there.

"I don't really have any strengths. On top, I'm decent; on bottom, decent; and on my feet, decent," he said. "I guess I come out even."

Guess again. Alberter has picked up enough along the way to get himself ranked fourth in the state at 130 pounds -- a lot better than just decent.

Alberter (13-1) is a product of coach Jerry Little's Junior Warriors program. He came up with fellow seniors Mike Chenoweth, a two-time defending state champ, and Charlie Conaway. The three are a combined 41-1 for the ninth-ranked Cavaliers. Alberter has been the biggest surprise.

"He's got a solid base in terms of fundamental skills," said South Carroll coach Pete Olson. "You look at him and he appears to be a gangly guy, but he's lean and mean with very little body fat. He's a lot stronger than he looks."

In phys ed class, Alberter's 27 chin-ups is the class record. At first, Olson thought it was an all-time school record. It wasn't, but close.

"That's in the 99 percentile, meaning of 100 kids, he's better than 99 of them," Olson said. "His grip on wrists, it's like he's got a vise grip. He's so strong."

After two seasons with the Warriors, Alberter made the jump to the South Carroll varsity as a sophomore. He said that sophomore year was a rough one and things got better last season as a junior when he went 25-9 and qualified for the states.

It wasn't until this week that Alberter lost a match this season when Key senior Ryan Etzler earned a tight 6-4 decision.

"I need some work on my feet," Alberter said. "He stood up a lot; I have to figure out how to counter that. I need to keep moving and be better on my feet."

It was another lesson learned for Alberter, who has made the most out of all of them over the years to get to the present level.

"He came back and said, 'Coach, the pressure was unbelievable,' " Olson said. "I said, 'Yes, and it will only help you in the tournament. You'll know what to expect.' "

Things have changed around Alberter this season, but it hasn't changed his approach.

The success has brought him more attention. He's a senior co-captain now, expected to be a leader as well as providing points on the mat every time out. And opponents, seeing the impressive record and high ranking, go gunning for him.

"It's surprising. My first and second year, things were quiet," Alberter said. "Now I'm getting more recognition and it gives me more motivation with people thinking you're good enough to be ranked."

Added Olson: "He's an even-tempered kid, a lot like Mike and Charlie. They are all easy-going guys who have a lot of confidence, but aren't cocky with it."

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