1996-97 All-Carroll County wrestling team

March 11, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham

Wrestler of the Year

Dave Spicer, Westminster: Every year, there seems to be a surprise who makes the state tournament weekend at Western Maryland College a special time. When Spicer went with a risky lateral drop maneuver in the final seconds of his quarterfinal match against Chris Richards of Damascus -- turning a 7-5 loss into a 10-7 win -- a story was in the making. It concluded the following day when Spicer was able to hold off C.M. Wright's Mike Reilly in the final to come away with a 2-1 decision and the county's only state title. Spicer, who finished the season with a 36-6 mark, was pinned by Richards earlier in the season and had just lost a decision to Reilly in the region final. But when it counted most, Spicer got the job done. "The difference was his aggressiveness and conditioning, and that's a direct feedback to what he does in the practice room," said Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich. "[Against Reilly] Dave was much better on his feet this time and more aggressive. Reilly tried a lot of the same stuff, but the opportunities weren't there." In 1994, it was Key's Chris Beale who seemingly came out of nowhere to win a state title with a 28-6 record at 140. And Kevin Jeffress of Liberty made his improbable run last year. A second seed out of his region, he reached the final with two overtime wins and then scored a takedown at the buzzer to beat Kenwood's Chuck Jones in the final. This year, it was Spicer's turn. "We knew Dave was certainly capable," Mohlhenrich said. "It's rewarding when you get a guy at an early stage, watch him mature and see his maneuvers improve to this point -- it's a great feeling."

Coach of the Year

Henry Mohlhenrich, Westminster: A perfect 4-0 dual-meet record the county, second straight titles in the county and region tournaments, a runner-up finish in the dual-meet state tournament and after this weekend's third-place showing at the state tournament, all Mohlhenrich and the Owls were talking about was next year. That's how great programs are made, and the one Mohlhenrich has developed in his four years at Westminster is certainly taking on that look. After finishing 12-5 last season with an eighth-place showing at the state tournament, the Owls methodically took another step to their ultimate goal of a state title. They went 16-2 in dual meets, including wins over Frederick and Owings Mills -- two state titlists last year -- and made the big jump to third place in this year's state tournament. "Last year was a Cinderella year," Mohlhenrich said. "We thought we'd do well, but no one else did. This year, we came in confident and there was no doubts in our minds what we could do. The main thing is the summer programs -- the kids coming into camp already in shape -- and the support from the parents is a big help. I think the first year we were 28th in states. To go from that to eight [last year] and then third -- that's not too shabby." The Owls placed nine wrestlers in the state tournament and all but one had 25 or more wins this season.

First team at a glance

Bobby Biden, Westminster, Jr., 112: The steadying influence in the Owls' run to the top of the county, Biden won his third straight region and county titles and finished third at the states, closing out the season with a 35-3 mark. With his major decision over Key's Ronnie Howard in the county championship final, he became the Owls' all-time leader in wins and is 97-16 in his three years on varsity.

Adam Boog, North Carroll, Jr., 160: Boog was flawless in county action this season, culminating in his third-period pin of Westminster's Jared Brown in the county championship final, earning him his first county crown. Boog, who finished the season with a 20-7 mark, finished third in his region to qualify for states.

Kyle Burger, Westminster, Soph., 125: The Owls' strength going into the season was their lighter weights and Burger added to that in his first season on varsity. Despite wrestling up a weight class to get into the starting lineup and also having to deal with a broken toe late in the season, Burger won his first county title, a 4-0 decision over Key's Clint Day, took second in his region and finished the year with a 27-11 mark.

Steve Cahoon, F. Scott Key, Jr., 140: The surprise of the county, Cahoon was 2-5 when he broke his nose in December and missed three weeks. After he returned, he won 15 straight matches -- including a tough 6-3 decision over North Carroll's Dameon Davis to win the county championship. Short on region points due to the time missed, Cahoon had to get through a pigtail match to get in his region field. He was able to reach the region final and finished the season 18-8.

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