Matt Slutzky is about to start over.
In a few months, the Aberdeen senior will head north to Syracuse University, where he will begin mapping out his college wrestling career. But even Slutzky knows the chances of matching his high school heroics in college are slim.
Slutzky, the Harford County Sun's Male Athlete of the Year, did something no other Maryland high school wrestler has ever done: He won four straight state titles.
In the sixth grade, Slutzky predicted to an older brother that he would win all four high school titles.
Now, he is hoping to work his way up to one national collegiate title over the next four years.
He has certainly built a solid base to work from.
While maintaining a 3.6 grade-point average, he was a three-time All-Metro pick and The Baltimore Sun's Wrestler of the Year in 1991. His 122 wins set a public school record for victories and broke the county record -- by 20.
The 18-year-old was the only Marylander chosen for the U.S. All-Star team that wrestled a team of Pennsylvania all-stars at the prestigious Pittsburgh Press Wrestling Classic at the University of Pittsburgh.
Just about the only title he can't claim all for himself is the record for Harford championships. Slutzky shares that mark with former teammate Chris Franklin.
Slutzky's latest state title came on March 8 at Western Maryland College. He won, 13-1, over Larry Green of McDonough in the Class 3A/4A 135-pound class. He won previous titles in Class 1A/2A at 119, 125 and 130 pounds.
"This is the greatest feeling ever," he said after winning the fourth title. "It's like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders."
He succumbed to the pressure only once last winter, and it cost him a perfect season. He wrestled conservatively in losing, 5-3, to Rising Sun's Jason Townsend.
One of Slutzky's preseason goals had been to finish his first unbeaten season, but he had to settle for a 32-1 record.
When Slutzky arrives at Syracuse to study pre-veterinary medicine, he will be following in some familiar footsteps.
His father Dick Slutzky, Aberdeen wrestling coach for 20 years, was an NCAA runner-up for the 1964 Orangemen.
The elder Slutzky has no doubt that his youngest son will be successful on the college mat. "I've been in the business for 38 years, and I've never had anyone work as hard at accomplishing goals as he has," said Dick Slutzky.