Wrestling: Wrestlers, Coach of the Year

Hereford wrestler Josh Asper, left, and McDonogh wrestler Josh Fitch are the All-Metro Wrestlers of the Year.
Hereford wrestler Josh Asper, left, and McDonogh wrestler Josh Fitch are the All-Metro Wrestlers of the Year. (Sun photo by Andre F. Chung)
Josh Asper

Shortly after becoming the third four-time public schools state champion, the Bulls' 171-pound senior talked about the importance of hard work and the benefits that come with it. "The best things in life come when you work really hard -- that's when it feels really great."

Asper's ability to outwork opponents was his best asset as he closed out his stellar high school career with a 151-7 mark. Asper, who will wrestle at Maryland, went 37-0 to complete his second straight undefeated season and end his high school career with 87 straight wins.

"Josh is the kind of kid that everybody should look up to and can learn from," Hereford coach Ron Causey said. "We all have goals in life that we think about and strive for and he thinks: 'Here's the goal and I'm going after it.' He takes the mind-set that he knows he will work harder than everybody else and also has the confidence that he will win."

Josh Fitch

The Eagles' 140-pound senior found an ideal way to close out a brilliant four-year career when he captured his first National Preps championship on Feb. 23 at Lehigh University, where he will continue his wrestling career. Fitch leaves McDonogh as a four-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state champion, finishing the season with a 49-3 mark that included 21 pins.

Fitch, a tri-captain, brought poise and confidence to the mat, as he led the No. 1 Eagles to their third straight MIAA and private schools championships. He went 141-25 in his four years with 69 pins.

"He just had a great year and great career," McDonogh coach Pete Welch said. "He's amazingly focused on competition day, and he doesn't get rattled -- that's always half the battle. He came in as a freshman very focused, and that and his mental toughness increased every year."

Guy Pritzker
Owings Mills

Pritzker, who just completed his 26th season at Owings Mills, said that he has never had a team as close-knit as this year's group. It helps explain how the Eagles found a way to capture the Class 2A-1A state dual meet championship on Feb. 16, upsetting defending champ Rising Sun in the semifinals before grinding out a 35-34 win over Glenelg in the final. It was the program's 11th state title (seven tournament championships, four dual meet crowns).

Pritzker, who has a 395-54 career record, guided the Eagles to an 18-0 dual meet record, a second-place finish at the Baltimore County tournament and third place at the Class 2A-1A state tournament, where junior 103-pounder Avi Friedman won an individual title.

"They were best friends and didn't want to let each other down. They really wrestled for each other and there was a different hero in each match," Pritzker said.

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