Perhaps the best-kept secret in area wrestling is the success of Calvert Hall's program under second-year coach Henry Franklin.
With Tuesday night's 31-30 victory over Boys' Latin, the Cardinals improved to 10-6 -- one victory shy of the school's all-time victory total (11-4 in 1991) -- with a match at rival Loyola set for tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Franklin tied that record last year, going 11-8 after the team had gone 0-10 the year before.
But if the Cardinals are able to tie or surpass the total this year, it will be more amazing than last year when Franklin could rely on the leadership of All-Metro state champs Gino Amasia (112 pounds) and Brian Kapp (125), who have graduated.
Calvert Hall's best wrestler this year is a sophomore, No. 2-ranked Chris Hanlon (103), who is so small that he has to eat extra calories to make weight.
Then there's the dedication of Calvert Hall's coaches, particularly assistant Todd Crandell. He was attacked coming out of a restaurant last month, had to have a broken jaw wired shut, and, though still recovering, continues to attend practices and games.
"If you'd have asked me when I first got the job if we could do this well, so quickly, I'd have told you, 'no way,'" Franklin said.
Franklin hasn't shied away from competition, despite plenty of inexperience and fewer of the junior league wrestlers that benefit many programs.
The Cardinals' schedule includes National Prep champ DeMatha, two-time state champ Damascus, and some of the area's best, including No. 2 Mount St. Joseph, No. 3 Gilman, No. 4 Curley, No. 5 Broadneck, No. 11 Westminster and No. 15 McDonogh.