Slutzky pins down shot at 4th title


Old Mill and Owings Mills sliced up the previous team scoring records in the state wrestling tournament at Western Maryland College this weekend. Aberdeen's Matt Slutzky quietly carved a special niche for himself.

Old Mill won its third straight Class 4A/3A team title with a record 130.5 points behind the Layman brothers: Brent (36-1) won the 135-pound championship and Brian (31-0) took the 160-pound title.

Previously, only Aberdeen had won three state titles in a row (1988-90).

Owings Mills topped the team scoring mark in Class 2A/1A with 125 points as sophomores Gregg Kessler (32-0) won at 125 and Grant Johnson (27-1) took the title at 130. Senior Kenny Gendason also gained a second at 112, bowing to Overlea's two-time state champ Kevin Heid in a close 8-6 decision. Gendason had beaten Heid for the Baltimore County championship.

Slutzky, meanwhile, was able to win his third straight state championship, joining an elite group of only eight others who have won three titles. But unlike those eight who wrestled before him, Slutzky will return next season to shoot for an unprecedented fourth straight title.

Slutzky (31-1) said he was disappointed in not going unbeaten this season, but credited that lone loss in Oxford, Pa., to helping him win the state title.

"I was thinking about other things and not concentrating on wrestling when I lost that match," he said. "I've been upset with myself ever since. I could have gone unbeaten, but I didn't and it was my fault."

Slutzky said he felt nervous entering his third state tournament.

"I knew if I just relaxed and wrestled like I am capable of wrestling, I'd be OK," he said. "I know everyone will be gunning for me next year. It should be fun."

The Eagles junior also will be looking to select a college next season.

"I'm interested in cardiac rehab," he said. "UNC is tops on my list."

Until then, he said he would try to make the Maryland State freestyle team. "I want to take a week off and then try to wrestle freestyle and go to the championships in Iowa," he said.

Both Old Mill coach Mike Hampe and Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker were pleased with their teams' work ethic.

"When we lost a dual meet to Broadneck," said Hampe, "it was as if we got a slap in the face. After that, everybody just worked all the harder."

Pritzker said his Eagles got solid leadership all season from six seniors.

"I never thought we'd get 10 kids through the first round," he said. "The biggest surprise was Sigmund Frazier taking a fourth. He was our backup at 171 and got his weight down to 160 to gain us valuable points in the tournament."

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