You can't walk out on a Wavie Gibson-coached wrestlin team, then return a few days later expecting an open-armed reception.
Ask Walbrook's 140-pound Mark Hollingsworth.
"I had a problem with losing my first match of the season," said Hollingsworth. "He wouldn't let me back until we had a long talk. He gave me a week to get my head together."
They talked again, and soon Hollingsworth was back in uniform. He scored a technical fall in his return match, later winning the City-Wide tournament crown and taking second in Region IV.
"Coach really helps you with your attitude if it's poor," said George Chandler, the Warriors' 130-pounder. "When I first came to Walbrook, I had some experience, but I was soft. Coach taught me a lot about toughness and heart."
Gibson, The Baltimore Sun's 1992-1993 Baltimore City Coach of the Year, is a chemistry teacher who, along with assistant coach Roland Smith, turned his practice room into a classroom.
"When people see our team, I want them to say it's a respectful, disciplined, hard-working team," said Gibson.
Gibson's two-time Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference champs were well-respected after winning the City-Wide tournament crown, placing third in Region IV behind five-time state champ Old Mill and then-No. 13 Arundel, and eventually earning a No. 14 ranking in The Baltimore Sun's top 15.
The Warriors (12-0) qualified six of eight wrestlers for the 4A-3A state tournament, with Chandler -- like Hollingsworth -- a City-Wide champ and a Region IV runner-up. Jamil Stokely (160, third in region), Howard Robinson (189, third), Kevin Muldrow (135, fourth) and Kevin Forrester (171, fourth) all advanced to the state tournament.
After watching Stokely nearly pin his state champ, Marc Procaccini, before losing 14-9, Old Mill coach Mike Hampe called Gibson's Warriors "a class act."
"Here's this coach [Hampe] that I'm admiring, and trying to learn from, commending our program," Gibson said. "We've started a junior league program for our school, and we want to get even better. But Hollingsworth and Chandler are seniors, so I'll really miss them."