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North Carroll's Bauerlein master of preparation


It's 5 o'clock on a typical weekday and the North Carroll wrestling team is just finishing practice.

Coach Dick Bauerlein and his assistant, Tom Davidson, will spend the next hour or so discussing strategies and possible adjustments that could be made to get an edge on the competition. This time around, it's county rival Francis Scott Key they are preparing for.

The preparations don't stop there for Bauerlein, who for the past 31 years (the last 19 at North Carroll) has made a living of manipulating his lineup to get even the slightest of advantages.

"A lot of thought has gone into this one and not just the past couple of days; it's gone on for months," he said.

"You walk in my house and head over to my soft chair and you'll find eight or 10 different possible lineups in a cup I have next to the chair. I'm not just watching TV when I go home, I'm switching up lineups and going over different moves they may throw at us. There's a lot of planning involved."

Bauerlein will be the first one to tell you he's had great assistants and plenty of quality wrestlers over the years.

But credit also has to go to his own ability to get the most out of his lineup. That's helped keep the Panthers a step ahead of the rest of the county as they prepare to defend their county title for the eighth straight time.

Francis Scott Key has been the latest county foe to try to unseat the Panthers. The Eagles (9-0-1) come into tonight's match at Uniontown ranked fifth in the metro area with Bauerlein's Panthers ranked second at 10-0.

Last season in a packed North Carroll gym, which generated a school-record $2,300 in revenue, Bauerlein brought Jason Elmo up from the junior varsity to go against Key's Tony Cahoon at 119 pounds. Elmo came away with a win and matched the effort later in the county tournament.

"That was just a gut feeling that Tom Davidson and I had," Bauerlein said.

"You have to know your personnel. You have to look at who they're going up against, look at their styles and see how they handle the pressure. I have a lot of confidence in my assistants and weigh their opinions heavily. Most of the time we make the right decisions."

L Bauerlein won't concede much going into tonight's big match.

"I think we'll do OK and I feel good going in," he said.

Both teams have plenty of respect for one another and off the mat many of the Key and North Carroll wrestlers are good friends.

"It's important to foster that kind of thing at the high-school level. We both respect the effort and quality that we put into our programs," said Key coach Bill Hyson.

"North Carroll always comes in real business-like and ready to go. Their kids don't seem to rattle and it's part of their confidence."

At 53 and nearing the end of a stellar coaching career that has brought well over 200 dual-meet wins, Bauerlein is still a student of the sport.

"I just love the sport," he said. "The one-on-one confrontation builds character. I've gone to clinic after clinic and any videos I can get my hands on I study."

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