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Numbers don't slow progress of Western Tech wrestlers

Numbers don't slow progress of Western Tech wrestlers
Western Tech heavyweight Chukwudi Kalu controlled Chesapeake's Chris Bowser for one of the unbeaten wrestler's 18 wins this season. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda)

Despite Western Tech's 2-7 record in dual meets this season, the rest of the county squads better not sleep on on the Wolverine grapplers when they meet at the Baltimore County tournament at Perry Hall High on Feb. 19 and 20.

The Wolverines are forfeiting four to five weight classs in each dual meet but they've still come close to winning severals matches.

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"The seven that we've lost we've given everybody everything they could handle," coach Juan Solera said.

Among the close losses were 36-33 defeats against Boys' Latin and Eastern Tech.

In a 42-30 loss to Pikesville the Wolverines gave them five forfeits.

"We are giving away so many forfeits, but it's going to make a more interesting postseason because I have a lot of tough kids that can really wrestle," Solera said.

One of them, undefeated heavyweight Chukwudi Kalu, who also plays football, is so tough the coach doesn't even tangle with him anymore.

The Wolverines resume their dual meet schedule tonight at New Town (6 p.m.) before heading the Paint Branch Invitational Jan. 22 and 23.

"He does damage on the mat and he's a tough kid," Solera said. "I actually had to stop wrestling him a couple weeks ago. I used to take pride in going against all the kids in practice from top to bottom the entire lineup, but he's a big, strong kid. He's been real tough, real rough so I've left him alone."

Kalu, who was third in the region last year and was one win away from placing in states boasts a Keyser Tournament title among his 18 straight victories.

Kalu, who weighs 240 pounds, also had a great off-season, winning a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Association title, placing second in the Eastern regional and fifth in the Eastern nationals.

"That really boosted him up through his training and everything like that," Solera said.

His closest practice partner is 220-pounder Noah Johnson and Johnson has been nearly as successful as he sports a 16-2 record.

At 182, Edmund Harrison has an 8-8 mark and freshman Ike Kalu has a 12-6 record at 170.

Ike is Chukwudi's younger brother.

"I've never been so fortunate to have so many good big guys," Solera said. "They are all bigger than me."

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The coach also has youth on his side.

With no seniors on the squad, junior captain Sterling Price (138) has taken on a leadership role.

"He's doing extremely well in dual meets," said Solera, noting his sixth-place finish at the Keyser Tournament was the first time he placed in a varsity tournament.

"He's looking to have a breakthrough year as well and he's been doing some good things," Solera said. "We are hoping he turns the corner and comes around at the end of the year."

Freshman Shawn Waller (9-4) is also having a banner season while Mohammed Sow (8-9) and Michael Jackson (3-6) are also coming along nicely.

"All of our losses have been pretty respectable and with no seniors I think that poses well for the future."

That future will be on display in the county tournament next month.

"I've got five guys for sure who could get in the top five," Solera said.

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