River Hill's Brandon Lauer has won all 85 of his high school matches and two Maryland state titles. The senior doesn't pretend that finishing his career with a perfect record wouldn't be meaningful to him.
However, Lauer said the success of the No. 4 Hawks (5-0) means much more than the perfect record.
"Being undefeated is definitely a goal, but if I do lose, then it just wasn't meant to be," Lauer said Tuesday night after a forfeit against Atholton improved his record to 13-0 this season. "If we won the state title as a team and I lose, the team's success is more important to me."
The 125-pound Lauer is the cornerstone of a solid, balanced River Hill team. He is trying to become what many Maryland wrestling experts believe to be just the second wrestler in state history to go undefeated in his career and win at least three state titles (Lauer did not wrestle for the varsity his freshman year because, at 80 pounds, he was too light).
Steve Kessler from Owings Mills (Baltimore County) went 150-0 and won four state championships from 1994 to '97. Matt Slutzky of Aberdeen High (Harford County) also won four state titles in the early '90s but was not unbeaten. They are the only two to win four state championships.
Lauer, who has signed a letter-of-intent to wrestle at West Virginia next season, watched Kessler win his fourth state title three years ago in a tough match at Western Maryland College. However, while Lauer admired Kessler's success, the two wrestle in different ways. Kessler had power and quickness, but worked more with finesse while Lauer lives for the power and the pin.
"If you dominate, it sends a message to wrestlers, to fans, to coaches," said Lauer.
Lauer sent that message in the finals of last week's Arundel tournament. Against Dave Bowser of Arundel, Bowser raced out at the start of the match and came right at Lauer. However, Lauer easily fought off the thrust, quickly gained command and pinned him in 1 minute 51 seconds.
Eleven of his 13 victories this season have been pins, and Lauer has had little trouble with anyone.
"He's a pin machine," Damascus Coach Dave Hopkins said.
His intensity is also one of his strengths. He won't sit during a dual meet. Instead, he can usually be found screaming on the corner of the mat next to his father, Earl, the River Hill coach.
"He really cares about the team concept," said Earl Lauer. "I can't hold him back. It tells the other kids, 'Hey, he's rooting for me.' "
Two for Virginia Duals
No. 5 North Stafford and Herndon will compete in the prestigious Virginia Duals Friday through Sunday in Hampton. North Stafford, which is in the National High School Division, will wrestle Calvary Chapel of California in the first round. Herndon, which is in the American High School Division, will wrestle Lake Taylor of Norfolk.
North Stafford, which placed second at the AAA tournament last season, is led by senior All-Met Kevin Collier, who won the 171-pound title at the 50-team Agie Skeens Memorial Wrestling Tournament Dec. 28-29. Collier, who won the AAA title last season, has a career record of 97-18.
North Stafford is also led by senior Chris Ashinhurst, who won the 189-pound title at the Agie Skeens tournament. Ashinhurst, one of the top football quarterbacks in the area, has a career wrestling record of 99-30.
Herndon, which placed sixth at the Capitol Challenge Dec. 28-29, is led by seniors Abdul Lowe and Dan Coghlan. Lowe was second in the 171-pound weight class at the Capitol Challenge and Coghlan was third at 189.