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2011-12 All-County Wrestling: Slick's Hubs more than lived up to expectations

March 22, 2012|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • North Hagerstown's Greg Slick is The Herald-Mail's 2011-12 Washington County Wrestling Coach of the Year.
North Hagerstown's Greg Slick is The Herald-Mail's 2011-12 Washington County Wrestling Coach of the Year.

While North Hagerstown began this school year’s wrestling season with high expectations, it took some time for the Hubs to meet them — and then exceed them.

Through their first 10 dual meets, they were barely above .500 at 6-4.

“We were sitting with four losses, and we weren’t even out of the month of December yet,” said Greg Slick, who was in his 33rd season as North’s head coach. “But there was this new sense, that you don’t win matches on reputation, you win them on the mat. And that’s what they started to do.”

The Hubs beat Williamsport for the first time in eight years to improve to 7-4 and kept rolling from there, ripping off 13 straight victories while capturing MVAL Antietam and Maryland Class 4A-3A West dual-meet titles and setting a single-season school record with 19 wins.

After their run finally ended in the semifinals of the state duals, North regrouped and won Washington County and West region tournament titles.

Slick is The Herald-Mail’s 2011-12 Washington County Wrestling Coach of the Year.

“If I had to categorize this team, I’d say it was just a blue-collar team,” he said. “Each year I encourage the kids to set goals for themselves and for the team, and they seemed to be very goal-oriented. After we went back to the practice room after we accomplished a goal, they wanted me to go up to the board and check it off. And then they’d cheer and jump around.”

Slick tried to keep his optimism guarded.

“There were some high expectations,” he said. “But I tried to bend some of it away from the kids because I didn’t want them to have a target on their back, and I didn’t want them to be overly confident.”

At the state tournament, a trio of Hubs reached the podium. Brendon Colbert (120 pounds) was a state runner-up for the second straight year, while Kenneth Burrs (170) placed third and Dylan Dopson (285) finished fifth.

“The only thing that would have made the season any better would have been for Colbert to win the championship,” Slick said. “There was just a feeling of disappointment for all of us after that match was over, that he didn’t get that goal checked off his own personal list.”

But it was still a season to remember for Slick, who extended the credit to assistant coaches Josh Hayes and Wayne Boward and to Mike Palmer, Colbert’s father, who worked with several of the Hubs in the offseason.

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