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Crawford feels at home on the mats

October 18, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Earl Crawford

Age: 48

Occupation: Drives the bus for Avalon Manor

Hometown: Williamsport

Where would you see Crawford? Crawford has been coaching with the Williamsport Wrestling Club for 33 of its 35 years. As one of 12 children of Betty and Irving Crawford - eight boys and four girls - he said he grew up watching his older brothers wrestle.

"I just followed in their footprints," he said, adding that they all wrestled for Williamsport High School. He was the second-youngest son.

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Crawford said he wrestled all four years of high school and was the first person at Williamsport to wrestle in the 98-pound weight class all four years. He broke the school record for pinning an opponent in 10 seconds, won the district tournament in his weight class two consecutive years and won the Bi-State Tournament in Washington County three of the four years.

The 1977 Williamsport graduate got involved with the Williamsport Wrestling Club when he was in high school. To be on the wrestling team, Crawford had to stay after school for practice, but because of his father's work schedule, he had no way to get home.

Instead, he helped coach the Williamsport Wrestling League, including two of his nephews. Crawford, who is not married, said he considers the wrestling families part of his family.

He works with the Bantam and Midget groups, whose members are boys ages 5 to 9. Last year they finished in first and second places in the Mason-Dixon League, Crawford said.

"It's just enjoyment watching kids go through the program, watching them grow," he said.

Some of the boys in the wrestling club have gone on to become teachers and coaches, and some have wrestled in college. Crawford thinks the wrestling club also helps the success of the high school program.

Two years ago, Crawford received a plaque from the wrestling club in recognition of 31 years of volunteering. That was the same year he agreed to serve as president, a position he still holds.

He said he's met a lot of people through wrestling, people he considers friends.

"That's what makes it good, the people," Crawford said.

He worked for 14 years doing maintenance at Clearview Nursing Home on Downsville Pike, a job he enjoyed. After the nursing home closed, Crawford was hired at Avalon Manor, where he has worked for about three months.

Crawford said his dream is to have a sports complex in Williamsport that would offer local kids a safe place to gather and be active. He said Hagerstown has the YMCA, but there isn't anything close by for youth in the Williamsport area.

The Williamsport Wrestling Club is holding registration for ages 5 to 14 today and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Williamsport High School. For more information about the wrestling program, call Crawford at 301-223-9488 or go to the organization's Web site, www.twwc.org.

Hobbies: Crawford considers being a part of Williamsport Wrestling Club a hobby.

"It's something I got involved with and I just enjoy doing it," he said.

For pleasure, the Williamsport native said he plants and tends a garden on the 6 acres of property on which he lives on Avis Mill Road below Downsville. Crawford also raises some goats and chickens.

What does Crawford like best about Washington County? Crawford has lived in the same house since he was 6 months old. He likes the friendly people and living where "everybody knows everybody."

The mountains, the country setting with farms and living within a quarter mile of a river appeal to Crawford. He also likes the fact that there's less violence here than in a big city.




If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail janeth@herald-mail.com.

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