Karl Green grew up wrestling. His father, Tom Green, and all four of his brothers - Tommy, 24; Joe, 20; Michael, 15; and Matthew, 13 - were into the sport. By the time Karl got to wrestling power Mount St. Joseph, he fit right in. Last season, he won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and state private schools titles and finished fifth at the National Preps championships in the heavyweight division. Now a junior, 6 feet 3 and 290 pounds, Karl is 29-1 as the No. 1 Gaels head into this weekend's MIAA finals. He also played football for the Gaels and works in his family's business, Atlantic Catering. When he has free time, he likes deer hunting and paint ball.
How did you get started in wrestling?
My dad wrestled in high school (North Harford), but my older brother Tommy didn't start until high school. Dad told him just to try it and he tried out and he liked it. After Tommy's junior year in high school (at Archbishop Curley), he was talking to my dad about getting us all into wrestling. I started in like third grade. At first, we'd go to practice and I'd be like, "I don't know what's going on here," but around fifth or sixth grade, it started clicking.
Did you look up to your older brothers?
I did. Tommy, not as much, because I was younger when he was wrestling in high school, but Joey, I remember going to the first tournament he ever won and just seeing how happy he was and how happy my dad was. I just wanted to make that happen, too, to see all of my family happy. My dad loves the sport.
Has wrestling made you a closer family?
Yes, it has. My dad always comes to the matches and he gets real into wrestling. He tries to do as much as he can to get us to tournaments. Coming home and having a first-place plaque and we'll go out to dinner to celebrate. Every single day, we like to talk about wrestling.
Your two older brothers wrestled at Curley, so why did you decide to come to St. Joe?
I looked at all these really good teams and Curley, they were solid at the time and they had a great coach. St. Joe just had that legacy. It's ridiculous. I had a choice. Curley, that's where all my friends went, so I had a choice to go there and be with all my friends or to spread out and go to St. Joe and meet new people.
Why do you like this sport so much?
I think it's because you can't really blame anybody else. It's a sport where you have to rely on yourself to get things done. You're out there in a match at a tournament and you're wrestling in the semifinals and if you don't beat the kid, you've got to wrestle back and it's the worst feeling ever, but you can't blame somebody else. I like how independent the sport is.
You said a lot of times you have to wrestle smaller guys in practice. Does that help you?
It does. You go in there and those kids are real low and move real fast. You've got to go keep up with them. They're really trying to beat you. It's not all about strength. You've got to have a great deal of agility and stamina.
What's your personal goal this season?
My goal was to go undefeated, but I lost that match at Beast of the East in the finals. I don't want to have that feeling anymore. For the rest of the season, I don't want to lose any more matches. I want to win my second MIAA title and second state title and win my first national prep title.
Do you want to wrestle in college?
Of course. I've been receiving a lot of letters from prestigious teams. Also there's this Olympic training center at the University of Northern Michigan. I actually received a letter from them and they'd like me to come up there and train after I graduate.
Is that something you'd like to do?
I'd love it. My dream is to wrestle in the Olympics.
How did they see you, through tournaments you've wrestled in?
There's this one tournament. It's the Cadet/Junior Nationals up in Fargo, North Dakota. If you place there, your name is known. I took third in Greco and fourth in freestyle. I ended up pinning the freestyle national champion, but he advanced ahead of me because of the points system. Anybody who's anybody is at that tournament.
Talk about the match against McDonogh (a 27-22 win last week). Was it exciting?
It was high intensity. ... When we came upstairs it was just a packed house and everybody's cheering as we come out. As the match goes on, we lose a couple [of] bouts, we win a couple bouts and it came down to that last match and everybody's on their toes. It was high intensity. It was great.
Were you disappointed at all not to be able to wrestle (against McDonogh), to win by forfeit?
It happens. Their heaviest guy was like 195 pounds and if that's what they have to do to keep someone from getting hurt, then that's what they've got to do.