St. Stephen's/St. Agnes senior Kent Howard got a little extra help preparing for last night's 140-pound final of the Sidwell Friends Wrestling Tournament. Not from Saints Coach Harry Murphy, but from someone who does not wrestle often: his older brother Wyman, a member of the elite Navy SEALS.
The younger Howard must have paid attention, by the way he finished his run through the 12-team tournament, which included teams from four states and the District. Kent Howard, who pinned his first three opponents, earned a 9-4 victory over Mercersburg's Jordan Sullivan in the championship. Mercersburg, with five individual winners, easily captured the team title with 204.5 points.
Wyman Howard, 26, who was on the crew at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria and the Naval Academy, does not give his brother much technical advice. Instead, he draws on his experience with the SEALS to pump up his younger brother before he goes on to the mat. "He is just yelling and screaming; it really gives me motivation because he is so rough himself," said Kent Howard, who won the Virginia Independent Schools championship last year at 130 pounds.
And Howard needs all the help he can get this year, with him wrestling at a higher weight class for the short-handed Saints. In a tri-meet last week against perennial powers DeMatha and Old Mill, Howard wrestled at 145 and won both of his matches. However, the Saints, with just five wrestlers going against DeMatha and six against Old Mill, lost both matches by large margins, despite winning seven of the 11 matches.
Notes: Sidwell 112-pound sophomore Zack Bookman was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. Zack's older brother, Ty, won last year.