Hopkins grapples with rebuilding; Coach sees some progress despite Jays' 1-4 record; Notebook


For a coach trying to build a winning wrestling program, Rob Nusum's conversation with Ursinus coach Bill Racich in the basement of Johns Hopkins' White Athletic Center seemed silly.

Nusum, in his second season as Hopkins' coach, would see his team get hammered in a triangular meet by Centennial Conference rival Ursinus, then by Oneonta after the other two teams wrestled each other. Racich, however, seemed adamant that his team wrestle Hopkins first.

After a few minutes of haggling over the fact that conference teams usually oppose each other in the opening matches, Nusum got to the point, telling Racich that it didn't matter whether Ursinus was rested or tired.

"They wanted to beat us, which I knew they were going to do," said Nusum, a 70-match winner at Franklin & Marshall who joined the Blue Jays' staff after five years coaching at Gilman. "It was of greater consequence to them than to us. Each individual moment for us was a learning experience."

By the end of the evening, the Blue Jays (1-4) had been busted, 38-3 by Ursinus and 41-9 by Oneonta, but Nusum managed to find positives for Hopkins, which went 3-15 last season. For one, he was encouraged by the performance of Cory Falgowski (142 pounds), who defeated last year's Centennial Conference runner-up, Brad Tobias of Ursinus.

"We've had three or four [wrestlers] who are doing what they couldn't do last year; last year, it took 11 matches to get the first victory," Nusum said. "My real goal is to get someone into the NCAAs. I know we have the potential."

In other Centennial Conference wrestling news, Western Maryland's Andrey Brener, ranked No. 4 in Division III at 165 pounds, upset the No. 1-ranked wrestler, Chris Roggie of Messiah, 5-3 on Saturday for first place at the Belles Invitational at Millersville (Pa.) University. Brener also earned the event's outstanding wrestler award.

The Green Terror is 1-1 heading into tomorrow's 7 p.m. meet at home against Gettysburg.

2 W. Md. players arrested

Western Maryland football coach Tim Keating has been taking the good with the bad lately.

First, his team goes 10-1, wins a second consecutive Centennial Conference crown and another trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Then, two of his players, defensive back Tom Lapato and offensive lineman Mat Mathias, earn oodles of postseason awards.

Of course, that's when the other shoe must drop. Two Western Maryland players -- Kevin Kramer and Steve Wilcox -- were arrested and charged with possession of $200 worth of marijuana, damaging the stellar image created by the 20 straight regular-season wins.

"[The players] work hard and stay out of trouble for the most part," said Keating, who said he hadn't decided whether Kramer, a defensive lineman, or Wilcox, a punter-kicker, would return to the team.

Et cetera

The Western Maryland women's basketball team is off to its best start since the program began in 1922-23, with an 8-1 record. Senior forward Cathi Snyder leads with 14 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The Goucher men's basketball team is 9-2 and ranked No. 18 in the latest Columbus Multimedia poll. The team is led by Bakari Ward (Arundel), who is averaging 18.8 points and is 20th nationally in steals with 2.9 per game. Catonsville High graduate and Frostburg State center Shannon Rexrode was named Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Week after scoring 29 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in a win over Delaware Valley in the finals of the 84 Lumber Hardwood Classic on Saturday. Rexrode is averaging 18.4 points per game and 12.9 rebounds.

Pub Date: 1/14/99

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