Owls' Spicer a 'hand-up' guy Wrestling: More aggressive in his training, as well as on the mat, Westminster's 135-pounder is 24-5 and peaking, with counties, regionals and states ahead.

February 20, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Like many wrestlers, Westminster junior Dave Spicer sacrifices.

There are three-hour practices six days a week, which, half the time, he follows up with extra work on his own in the weight room. Some days, he wants to slow down, but as an Owls captain, he knows he can't.

Watching his diet is another constant chore. For now, it's skim milk and fruit juice. He hasn't had a candy bar since November.

But he says: "Just getting your hand raised [in victory] makes it worth it. It's a great feeling."

It's a feeling Spicer has enjoyed plenty this season as he's turned the corner in his second varsity season. His original goals were to win the county tournament, possibly to win regionals, and to place high at states.

With a 24-5 mark at 135 pounds that includes wins over Owings Mills' Drew Bowers, who was then No. 2 in the state, and sixth-ranked Dustin Bane of Frederick, Spicer has readjusted his aims.

"Now," he said, "I feel confident that if I keep working hard, I can win states."

"Before, when I went up against a good wrestler, I always went in thinking [that] I may be able to keep it close, get lucky and win. Now, I think I'm just as good as they are and can beat them.

"It's important to keep everything in perspective, and I still need to take it one step at a time, so right now, I'm thinking about counties [this weekend]."

Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich is thinking about how fortunate he is to have Spicer.

"He's been everything a team captain should be," Mohlhenrich said. "He's undefeated in dual meets, is on time every day and gets everyone going -- I can't ask for anything more."

After a solid 24-13 season last year, Spicer has been more aggressive this season, an approach that started during off-season camps.

"Last year, I didn't practice as hard. Now, I'm taking it more seriously, realizing I have one more year left after this to become a state champ," he said.

"I knew I had to step it up. My attitude is the biggest change. We're lucky to have Henry as our coach. He's right there with us in practice, working just as hard. There's nothing stopping you from becoming a good wrestler."

To go along with his fine conditioning, Spicer has what Mohlhenrich calls "the best cradle there is" and the ability to flow from one move to the next. He has 16 pins on the season.

"Every coach says, 'Watch for the side cradle,' and, sure enough, they watch it. He works it all the time and really sets it up well. That's a sign of perfection -- when everyone's looking for it and you can still do it," Mohlhenrich said.

"He also chain wrestles, going from one move right into the next, and that's something you don't see much in high school. That's college stuff."

Wrestlers have different ways to get ready for a match. Spicer says he's intense and can't sit.

"There's never a smile on my face until it's over," he said.

That's when the referee raises Spicer's hand.

Pub Date: 2/20/97

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