For South Carroll coach Bryan Hamper, the success is in the numbers. In eight years at the helm, he has seen his wrestlers win an individual state championship 11 times, and more recently, that individual success has translated to team success at the highest level.
The Cavaliers crowned three state champions — juniors Joey Thomas and Jamar Williams and senior Shane Conners — and won their third straight Class 2A-1A state tournament title in March by outscoring rival Middletown, the state dual champions, 119-116.
"We get guys to buy in that the state tournament is the only thing that matters," Hamper said. "We feel that everything leading up to it is just preparation [for the team to be] peaking at the right time at the end of the year."
South Carroll finished 27-4 overall and won the Carroll County tournament and 2A-1A West region tournament to go with the state tournament title. Hamper's three individual state champions had a combined record of 160-1.
"The guys bought in. Whenever you take over a program, especially one that has had a lot of success ... it's been getting kids to buy in to know you have to do work in the offseason and you can't just rely on that November-to-March period to be a state champion. You have to put the work in over time," Hamper said. "People know now when they come in the room, they kind of know the expectation of what it takes to put in the work and what the standard is."