River Hill's Lauer puts crown on perfect career

Tears flow as Hawk downs Wagner for 111-0 record

March 05, 2000|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Brandon Lauer's high school wrestling career ended with a perfect 111-0 record yesterday at fan-packed Western Maryland College where he won the 125-pound Class 4A-3A state championship.

The River Hill senior, who didn't wrestle as a freshman because he weighed only 90 pounds, joined the elite company of just three other Maryland wrestlers who have completed undefeated careers -- Paint Branch's Brian Crane, Bullis School's Len Bernstein and Owings Mills' Steve Kessler.

Lauer, headed to West Virginia on an athletic scholarship, finished this season at 39-0 and became the 16th Maryland wrestler to win three state titles. He is only the second three-time champ from Howard County, joining Jeff Rosenberg of Oakland Mills.

After scoring a 17-2 tech fall over Franklin's Stan Wagner in his final match, the 5-foot-4 River Hill wrestler threw his helmet into the air, knelt on the mat and wept.

Partly tears of joy; and partly tears of relief from the pressure of the past few weeks.

"There's been a tremendous amount of pressure," Lauer said. "It's a weight lifted off my shoulders. It's overwhelming to finish my career like that. It's an incredible feeling."

Wagner, who had Lauer on his back during an 8-5 loss in the regional championship match, was dominated by Lauer yesterday and lost to him for the third time this season.

Lauer appeared nervous before the match, pacing incessantly and slapping his helmet and face with his hands to get his adrenalin flowing. He also did some deep knee bends. But he said he was not nervous even though he didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. the night before.

"I was calm. I took a nap after my first match and felt like a new person. I ate some chicken tenders and drank some Gatorade. I was energized. Everything went perfectly before my match. I was so focused that I wasn't worried. I was in my game and wrestled smart," Lauer said. "I knew that if there was one match to go, nothing would stop me."

Wagner caught Lauer in a headlock the last time they wrestled, so Lauer tried to keep Wagner off his feet as much as possible.

Following the match, and continuing a highly emotional moment, Lauer hugged his father, Earl, who is the River Hill coach.

"Who would have thought that when he started out as a little 9-year-old that he would one day accomplish this," the coach said. "It's nothing we could have dreamed about."

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