By Ryan Mink and Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, February 9, 2007
For a public school wrestler, 100 wins is a milestone. The Maryland record for most wins in a four-year high school career is 221, set by DeMatha's Mike Rowe two years ago.
That's why when Progressive Christian senior Michael Bressler reached 200 pins earlier this year, many in the wrestling community were stunned. Bressler has a career record of 237-32, which does not factor in forfeits. Of those wins, 210 are pins (88.6 percent).
"Wow, I think that's a phenomenal record," DeMatha Coach Dick Messier said. "I don't know where the heck he went and got all those matches, but that's unbelievable."
"The hardest thing for anyone wrestling Mike is to actually survive the match," Progressive Christian Coach Carlos Sandoval said. "There is going to be a point in the match where they're going to have to keep from turning over. Mike is amazing in the fact that he has specialized in that."
Bressler has been wrestling at the varsity level since eighth grade, partly explaining the big numbers. And Progressive Christian typically attends about 12 tournaments per year, compared with three by Maryland public schools, and usually schedules about 10 dual matches.
Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association rules do not allow him to wrestle public school competitors, and do not allow public school wrestlers to compete as much as Bressler does.
The 152-pounder will compete today in the St. Albans private school tournament, which continues tomorrow. Last year he pinned every opponent en route to the tournament championship. He also pinned his way through last year's Maryland Independent School League tournament.
"Sometimes it's pretty obvious that they're trying not to get pinned and it's annoying," Bressler said of his opponents. "They're clearly stalling. It takes longer, but I usually end up pinning them, too."Bannister 'Finds a Way'
Bishop McNamara Coach Jason Gabrielson knows a thing or two about high school accomplishments after his own distinguished career, so he can appreciate what sophomore Andrew Bannister is doing right now.
The 112-pound Bannister won three matches last weekend to improve his career mark to 102-9. By comparison, Gabrielson -- a three-time Maryland state champion -- finished his sophomore season at Riverdale Baptist with a 106-9 career mark.
"He just finds a way to win," Gabrielson said. "He works hard in the room, sure, but it's just an attitude you have to have -- a refusal to lose attitude. Some people have it, others don't."
Bannister already holds a state title from his freshman season, when he defeated Mount St. Joseph's Austin Clouse for the championship. This season he is 48-2 -- the losses coming against out-of-state competition -- and defeated Clouse again at the Beast of the East tournament in December. To beat his top competition already this season "was a real big confidence booster," Bannister said. "I'm really excited that I could possibly get multiple state championships."Moving On
Damascus claimed the 4A/3AWest Region dual championship on Tuesday, giving the Swarmin' Hornets a berth in tomorrow's state dual tournament in Owings Mill.
Also advancing to the tournament was Old Mill, which defeated J.M. Bennett, 56-10, in the 4A/3A East Region final yesterday. In the 4A/3A North Region final, North Carroll defeated Urbana, 39-19. In the 4A/3A South Region final, La Plata topped Westlake, 54-12. In the 2A/1A South Region final, Glenelg defeated Atholton, 39-27.