After breaking his hand twice in recent months, South Carroll wrestler Drew Winfield may not be back at 100 percent quite yet. For the No. 13 Cavaliers, however, even a banged-up Winfield has proven to be an immeasurable asset.
After Friday's 12-0 win over Westminster's Joe Dell, the 160-pound wrestler is 18-0. Perhaps just as important, he continues to be an emotional leader for the county-champion Cavaliers heading into the postseason.
"He's a team leader," said South Carroll coach Dennis Frazier. "He wins every match, and he expects the other kids to follow."
Winfield, who last season won the county championship before taking third in the region and fifth in the state, first injured his right hand before this season. After nearly recovering, he then broke a knuckle on the same hand during practice in early January.
Despite missing a match against Liberty and a tournament at Franklin, he has returned to the lineup for South Carroll (16-1) and is making the most of his compromised capabilities.
"His technique is fine, but he still doesn't have the strength in that hand," Frazier said. "He has a very good cradle, but this year it hasn't been as effective. When he starts to turn, a good wrestler will kick at the right time and the grip just isn't there right now. In the past, if he locked up the cradle the match was basically over."
Before the Cavaliers' match Friday night against No. 11 Westminster, Frazier sought out Winfield to help motivate the team. The junior then held a locker room meeting with the Owls, who proceeded to rout Westminster, 43-15.
"Even if he wasn't wrestling, he'd still be doing that kind of stuff," Frazier said. "But when you go out there and prove it on the mat, the guys listen to you a little bit more."
Winfield is still wearing a bandage and continues to regain some of the strength in his hand.
"Everyone else is a lot farther along than me," Winfield said. "But I'll be back."
Reiter to step down
After his first full year at the helm, Joe Reiter said this week that he plans to step down as athletic director at Liberty following this season.
Reiter, also a vice principal at Liberty, will relinquish that job as well, choosing to resume his career as a full-time teacher.
"This year was kind of like an experiment - halftime assistant principal, full-time AD - just to kind of see if the county could go that way with it," Reiter said. "We've always been trying to go to a full-time AD, but for budgetary reasons it's hard to replace the academic part of it. You have to add the salary of another teacher into the budget, and that was real tough to do."
The county and school are conducting a search to find Reiter's replacement, who will also be a teacher at the school.
"I think there's been some interest," Reiter said.
Trisha Repsher (Westminster), Katie Hertsch (Winters Mill) and Aislinn Sowash (North Carroll) will try to continue their already strong postseason performances when the indoor track and field regionals start this week.
Repsher turned in a record-setting performance while winning the 3,200 meters at the Central Maryland Conference meet nine days ago. Hertsch finished first, second and third in three races just three days after sweeping three (the 500, 800 and 1,600) at the Carroll County meet.
Sowash won the 55 hurdles at the county and CMC meets and took the 55 dash at the county championships - also running on a pair of victorious relays.
Liberty, North Carroll and South Carroll go in the Class 3A-2A Central meet tomorrow at the 5th Regiment Armory. Century, Francis Scott Key and Winters Mill then go Friday in the 2A-1A West meet at Hagerstown Community College, and Westminster competes Feb. 11 at the 5th Regiment Armory in the 4A-3A Central competition.