Doctors advised Eastern Tech wrestling coach Joe Gast two winters ago to take it easy in the wrestling room. He had been hospitalized after experiencing dizziness and being diagnosed with a low heart rate.
Gast now takes medication to treat high blood pressure, as well as a thyroid condition. He no longer goes to the mat to demonstrate moves on his wrestlers, leaving that role to assistant coach Rick Testerman.
But Gast, 55, still instills his old-school work ethic in his 12th-ranked Mavericks, who need only to look around the Eastern Tech wrestling room for motivation.
"We have the names of the state place-winners, first-through-sixth, along with the ones who were varsity and JV county champs," said Gast, who has coached seven Baltimore County championship teams. "The only way to get up on the wall is to just work hard and improve. That's what wrestling's all about."
The coach takes a 275-79 record, compiled over 31 seasons, into today's dual meet at home with sixth-ranked Harford Tech (7-2). This season's team is 12-1 despite having only three quality wrestlers from a squad that was state tournament runner-up last season for only the second time in Gast's tenure.
"Joe's been an educator, he's a teacher, he's a physical education department chairman," said Ron Belinko, Baltimore County athletics coordinator and Gast's friend. "But there's no greater hobby for him than wrestling."
Eagles nearing title
Arlington Baptist's girls basketball team all but clinched the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference regular-season title by beating Beth Tfiloh, 48-43, on Tuesday.
Brianna Wise scored 24 points and Faith Happel had 13 points and 25 rebounds as the Eagles maintained their two-game lead on Garrison Forest, which dealt Arlington Baptist its only loss, 55-47, on Dec. 19.
Coach Shirley Kemp's Eagles, 16-2 overall, are 10-1 in the C Conference, followed by Garrison at 7-3 and Beth Tfiloh at 8-4.
With three games left before the C Conference tournament begins on Feb. 18, only one of the Eagles' remaining opponents has a winning record in the conference. Monday, the Eagles will try to avenge their only loss when they travel to Garrison Forest for a 4 p.m. game.
Doves keep running
Western's indoor track team followed its ninth straight Baltimore City Championship last week with a successful run at the Virginia Tech High School Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The Doves' 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams both finished fourth and set school records in the meet that drew more than 100 teams, mostly from the East Coast.
Latosha Wallace, Ashaley Davis, Shalayah Sommerville and Ashley West-Nesbitt ran the 800 relay in 1 minute, 43.02 seconds. Wallace, Sommerville, Alicia Williams and Midchild Carter turned in a time of 3:59.03 in the 1,600 relay.
Despite the two fine relay performances, Wallace, who was an All-Metro performer last spring, had a tough couple days. The senior ran the third fastest time in the nation this season at 500 meters, 1:14.09, only to be disqualified for stepping into the inside lane on the curve. She also lost a shoe in the 3,200 relay but, with teammates Williams, Carter and Monica Halford, managed to finish sixth.
Roland Park's Kendall Anders won the Maryland State Squash Racquets Association Junior Championships in the under-19 girls bracket Sunday, defeating Bryn Mawr's Ashley Campbell, 3-1, at the Meadow Mill Athletic Club. Anders, a senior, is ranked No. 20 nationally in her age group by the U.S. Squash Racquets Association.
Other winners were Bryn Mawr's Libby Brown (under-17), Roland Park's Hayley Milbourne (under-15) and Park's Hillary Ottenritter (under-13).
In boys competition, Park's Colin Campbell won both the under-19 and under-17 brackets. St. Paul's teammates Miller Knott and Slater Ottenritter won in under-15 and under-13.