Wrestling notes - Eagles' Lord of the mat keeps rolling

January 31, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

Now that he's West Virginia's all-time winningest wrestler, Hedgesville senior Danny Lord can move on to more important things.

Sure, he'd love to become only the nation's 12th prep wrestler to ever reach 200 career victories. But winning a second straight state title is what he really wants.

Both goals could go hand in hand.

"He's got a good shot at breaking 200 in the state tournament, probably close to the finals," said Hedgesville coach Bill Whittington. "I think he'll be OK."

Lord, who's 36-0 this season and the defending Class AAA champ at 145 pounds, broke former teammate Kevin Ballam's state record of 182 wins with a semifinals victory at last weekend's Musselman Invitational.


He went on to win the crown at 152 with a 3-1 overtime decision over Jefferson's Corie Gustines, upping his career mark to 184-10.

"The pressure's off a little bit, now I can go for the state title," said Lord, who's racked up 61 takedowns, 18 pins, two major decisions and a tech fall this season.

"Two hundred wins is second right now. If I get it, that's cool, but the state title is the big goal."

With an unblemished record and two trips to the state finals under his belt (he was a runner-up as a sophomore), Lord said he's more than prepared for the task.

"I'm in better shape than most of the kids I wrestle," he said. "I'm pretty confident. I've been there twice already, so the pressure won't be as bad."

Whittington is also confident about the mission - one he's not letting Lord get distracted from.

"We're kind of downplaying the (state record) a little bit. We're trying to stay focused on what's really important," said Whittington. "We're just excited about states.

"Danny's a tough kid, a great kid, one of the best I've ever coached."

Throw out the records

Waynesboro's 2-7 record doesn't mean much to Williamsport coach Chuck Martin.

He knows his No. 5 Wildcats (6-4) will have their hands full Saturday afternoon when they cross the state line for their annual matchup with the Indians.

"Their record means nothing," said Martin. "In the past they've had losing records and we've had real good records, and they've beaten us. Pennsylvania is a different caliber of wrestling."

Waynesboro coach Aaron Taylor, whose squad has taken its share of lumps this season in the Mid-Penn Conference, hopes to prove that.

"Our guys are really looking forward to it," said Taylor. "It's that Maryland-Pennsylvania thing, and they're right down the road. It's been a really good match the last couple of years."

Two years ago, Waynesboro won by one point at home. Last year, Williamsport won by one point at home.

"It's a rivalry," said Martin. "It's good competition, and we look forward to the challenge. That's why we wrestle them.

"We'll take them on head-to-head and hope our wrestlers are up to the challenge."

Limping Indians

No. 8 Berkeley Springs (7-2) took a few hard hits this past week.

Grade troubles cost them three wrestlers, while a neck injury ended the year for senior star Brandon Clark, who was ranked first at 119 in the most recent state AA/A poll.

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