New Lansdowne High wrestling coach George Dunn is hardly a stranger to success.
The 1993 North Alleghany High (Pa.) graduate went on to wrestle at Division III Thiel College, where he earned a conference championship in 1997 and qualified for the national tournament the following year.
In 2003, he was head coach at Thiel College and earned President's Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors.
He returned as an assistant at North Alleghany High for two seasons, coaching Jake Herbert, who later was honored as the nation's top collegiate wrestler while at Northwestern University by winning the Hodge Trophy.
Herbert was also a 2009 silver medalist at the world championships.
At Lansdowne, he takes over for Earl Eppard and inherits a program that has been building the past several seasons.
However, after graduating three state tournament qualifiers, including Baltimore County champion Greg McCoy and county runner-up Nick Payne, Dunn will have some hurdles to cross.
That said, if his debut is any indication, the Vikings are in good hands.
On Dec. 8 at Parkville, his young squad enjoyed a 43-27 victory in which a pair of sophomores gave the rookie coach a reason for optimism.
In the 170-pound match, Lansdowne's Romario Orellano trailed Renard Vann, 6-4, midway through the third period, before the Viking rallied for a pin with 24 seconds left in the final period.
That triumph evened the match at 27-27.
Lansdowne sophomore Russell Seeney-Cunningham defeated senior Dievy Sorto, 14-3, for a 31-27 lead before freshman John Gallano earned a forfeit in the 195-pound match to stretch the advantage to an insurmountable 37-27.
First-year junior 285-pounder Anthony Serio salted the victory when he rallied from a 6-2 second period deficit to pin Kai Vincent.
"I was surprised with our sophomores, Russell and Romario," Dunn said. "They have been working hard and they really impressed me with some big wins I wasn't really counting on."
Orellano, who was wrestling up a weight class, took advantage of Vann's fatigue.
"He just took a bad shot and I knew he was tired," said Orellano, who worked outside of the wrestling room to get down to the 160-weight class where he will eventually grapple. "All that extra work I put in on the treadmill at home paid off."
Senior Kyle Beard (145 pounds), a co-captain with senior Justyn Angelotti (113), said that Dunn and assistant Derrick Hansen are a good fit for a burgeoning program.
"Coach Dunn brings a lot of energy to the practice room," Beard said. "He's a wrestler's coach, but he will be hard on us when he needs to be. He's a really good coach."
Dunn, who watched Beard earn a key 4-3 decision over Brock Johnson, wants all his wrestlers to get to a much higher level.