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They may be middleweights, but they're heavy hitters

February 12, 2004|by ANDY MASON

When I'm a tad bit slow punching the delete key on my computer, a junk e-mail or two occasionally will have time to register - and make me think.

Such as the one I just read for a "diet patch" - just stick it to your body and you'll lose up to 40 pounds in a month.

While that may sound easier than a life of low-carbs beer, the mug would be half-empty for me.

If I lost 40 pounds, I'd be too scared to leave the house. Weighing 135 pounds, I'd stand no chance in this neck of the woods.

The area's toughest kids all seem to weigh in at 135. That's been the tale of the scale so far this high school wrestling season.

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Pound for pound, they don't get much tougher than Williamsport's Mike McGill, Jefferson's Codie Gustines and Waynesboro's Brian Lisko.

If only they all wrestled in the same state, then we could fence them in with a single postseason bracket to keep ourselves better protected.

Instead, the 135-pound trio is heading in three different directions, all pointing towards the top of the podiums.

As the rankings go, McGill (10-1) is first in Maryland Class 2A-1A, Gustines (29-0) is first in West Virginia Class AAA and Lisko (28-2) is second in PIAA District 3 Class AAA. All three lead the postseason title hopes for not only their schools, but also their counties.

Not to be forgotten, of course, are Walkersville's Chad Cotterman (21-4), who's ranked second to McGill in Maryland, Martinsburg's Chris Conner (34-5), who's listed four names below Gustines in West Virginia, and St. James' Rex Salisbury (22-4), the Mid Atlantic Conference champ.

That they all wrestle at 135 is almost eerie. At least their competition has good reason to be frightened.

Seniors Gustines and Lisko both ended their seasons with fourth-place finishes at 140 last year - Gustines at states and Lisko at districts. Each, with his increase in age, has taken a somewhat uncharacteristic drop in weight in pursuit of higher honors.

McGill, a state placewinner at 103 as a freshman and 112 as a sophomore last year, is in relatively uncharted territory four weights higher this season. But McGill, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, has been navigating the new class like a charter member since his return in mid-January.

Two weeks ago, he beat Lisko, 5-2. Wednesday night, Gustines edged McGill, 6-5. By the properties of mathematics, Gustines is therefore the most proven 135-pounder of them all.

I certainly won't attempt to disprove the diet patch.




Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com.

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