It took Stein a few weeks to get used to Prince William’s different grading style in his classes, but he feels right at home in the Bruins’ wrestling room.
Already a top wrestler in his region, Stein is now widely considered the best 170-pound wrestler in Virginia.
“It’s a big change of pace,” Stein said. “[Forest Park Wrestling Coach Seth] Cameron likes a high pace and he’s teaching me about what wrestling will be like in college. Forest Park is really getting me ready for the future.”
Stein had previously worked with Cameron and several Bruins in offseason club workouts and events, and he fits seamlessly into a Forest Park lineup that has been among the best in Virginia in recent years, but has been known more for its strength in the lower weight classes.
Cameron was impressed with Stein’s work ethic and ability to take coaching, so the pair worked on new techniques – such as attacking inside – for Stein to use against the better opponents he now more regularly faces.
“I used to wrestle for outside quick shots and would let people slow me down,” Stein said. “Wrestling inside lets me control their movements so I can get my shot easier.”
Stein – who signed in November to wrestle at Gardner-Webb – has already seen improved results, most notably when he placed sixth at Beast of the East in December after what he considered a disappointing 2-2 showing at the prestigious regional event the year before.
Stein placed fifth at the Powerade Wrestling Tournament the following weekend, then went undefeated at the Battlefield Duals at Colonial Forge.
As his final postseason approaches, Stein will be ready with a new style and a new level of experience.
“Those top level tournaments help you for the state tournaments because it makes them feel so much smaller,” Stein said. “It will almost feel like a little backyard brawl.”
Youthful Damascus keeps building
Eighth-ranked Damascus exacted a measure of revenge on Saturday, downing then-No. 10 Wootton, 41-21, as part of a tri-meet at Blake. The Hornets were perfect against county competition in dual meets last year before a two-point loss to the Patriots in the Maryland 4A/3A West semifinals, but this time, Coach John Furgeson’s team took the first six bouts of the match to post a convincing victory.
“We want to compete at the state level,” said Furgeson, whose team currently holds the top spot in the region standings. “That’s been our goal all year, and we’ve been taking it one match at a time, but it was kind of nice to get those guys back.”
After graduating three wrestlers in the 100-win club, Damascus has leaned on a group of underclassmen to carry the load this year. The Hornets regularly start seven sophomores, six of whom have recorded at least 18 wins so far. Owen Brooks, a 138-pounder, leads the team with 20 victories, while 113-pounder Mikey Macklin (19-1) will try to improve on a sixth-place finish in the state tournament last year.