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Wrestling Coach of the Year: Mike Whisner, Sparrows Point

Sparrows Point coach Mike Whisner had some tough luck at the state tournament before this year. His wrestlers were 0-8 in semifinal matches at the season’s final event, but it was only fitting that the losing skid ended in the Pointers’ best season to date.

Sparrows Point broke through and crowned two state champions — Max Hammond at 132 pounds and Wrestler of the Year Ethan Smith at 182 pounds — for the first time since 2000 to finish in third place behind South Carroll and Middletown at the 1A/2A state tournament.

In the regular season, Whisner led Sparrows Point to a 35-5 dual-meet record, with all five losses coming against St. Paul’s, Middletown and Dover (Del.). The Pointers won the 1A/2A North region dual title for the first time in school history two years ago, and this season they won it again and knocked off Oakland Mills in a 1A/2A state dual semifinal to reach the championship match for the first time.

Whisner said he knew it was going to be a special season when the team went 9-0 and beat Huntingtown, South River, Old Mill and Stephen Decatur at the South River Duals in late December. They also won the Baltimore County tournament for the first time in program history.

“There were a lot of firsts at the South River Duals,” he said. “It’s a real meat grinder and to make it through that 9-0 was pretty special.”

Whisner, who took over the program in 2005, said it has come a long way in recent years.

“When we first started, our goal was to get a full roster. We didn’t have a full lineup,” he said. “But year after year we started getting a little better. The junior league program [Sparrows Point Spartans] developed about six years ago and that’s made a major contribution to the team.”

The Pointers finished the season ranked No. 7 in The Baltimore Sun area and have a 62-11 record over the last two seasons.

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