Leading in their own ways Wrestling: F.S. Key seniors Matt Yinger and Jason Wiles came to the Eagles by very different paths. But both have been essential to the 7-3 team's success.

January 25, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

When it comes to wrestling experience, Francis Scott Key seniors Matt Yinger and Jason Wiles are coming from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Yinger, a four-year varsity veteran, has been wrestling for 13 years, going back to his "mat rat" days, and later as a junior-league standout. Wiles, on the other hand, has been wrestling only since his freshman year in high school, and this is his first varsity season.

Each had a pin in the Eagles' most recent meet, a 36-32 loss at South Carroll last Wednesday. It raised the record for Yinger, who missed the first two weeks of the season with a separated shoulder, to 16-0 at 135 pounds, and Wiles, to 20-3 at 189.

As a team, Key is 7-3 in dual meets, and has participated in three tournaments, scoring a victory in its own event. The team will be in action tomorrow at Middletown, Wednesday at home against JTC North Carroll and next Monday at home against Walkersville.

Yinger, short and stocky, has made steady improvement in his high school wrestling career. He was a county champion and fourth in the state at 112 as a freshman, the year his older brother, Zac, won a second straight state title at 145 pounds, and was named The Sun's Metro Wrestler of the Year.

After sitting out his sophomore year, Matt returned last season to win county and regional titles and place third in the state at 130 pounds.

"He lost a tough one at the state tournament, but came back to beat the guy on his way to getting third," coach Bill Hyson pointed out.

"The fact it's an individual and a team sport -- you approach each one differently," Yinger said. "The team concept is taken care of during practices and getting psyched before competitions, but once on the mat, you're only concerned with what you can do."

Although there are several seniors on the squad, he cited the fact Key is predominantly a young team. "There are a lot of new ones, and they are working out well," he said.

Backed by a current record of 100-10, Yinger is focused on making this season his best. "I don't expect to go on to college, so I'd like to round off my career by finishing on a high note."

Wiles, who has been a 189-pounder his past three seasons after beginning at 160, admits he got into wrestling simply because, "I wanted to do as many sports as possible."

In addition to wrestling, he played four years of football -- earning All-County recognition at linebacker as a senior -- and played three years of club lacrosse. The school will field its first varsity team this spring.

"When I came in, I didn't know anything about wrestling, so I learned from coaching, doing what the coach wanted," the 6-foot-3 Wiles said. "With my height, I've had to learn to get lower against an opponent, and to use my [long] legs to my advantage."

He spent his freshman season wrestling exhibition matches, then spent two years on the JV, putting up an 18-0 record as a junior. "I've gotten into it, gone to summer clinics, and worked at getting better."

A 3.78 student, Wiles plans on going to college, where he would like to play lacrosse and football. Several schools have expressed an interest already in his academic/lacrosse skills.

"There are some schools where, if he wanted to wrestle, he could have some success there, too," Hyson said.

Of Yinger and Wiles, their coach says, "They are two different persons. Both have been successful and give us leadership in different ways -- Matt through his competitiveness and Jason by example.

"Jason had a tough time, because he had some really skilled kids in front of him, but he persevered," Hyson added, "making himself successful by doing the things we asked of him. He's the kind you want/need in a program -- a good role model. And, his dad was a state champion at Westminster, so his home support has been outstanding."

Overall, for the season, Hyson said, "Our depth is not where we want it to be, and we have had to respond to a lot of adversity, but we're overcoming some inexperience, and we're getting there."

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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