Magruder's Marc Heincelman and Tony Howard have found plenty of success on the mat. Both are All-Mets, defending state champions and undefeated this season.
The pair also has found success in another area--coaching. This summer, Heincelman and Howard began working with a pair of wrestlers from the Gaithersburg youth team. Their pupils, Mike McGill and Cam Watkins, placed second at the prestigious Tulsa Nationals Jan. 14-16.
Howard (160 pounds) is 20-0 with 18 pins this season. The senior is a two-time defending state champion with a 65-match winning streak and 78-1 overall record. Heincelman (112) is 20-0 this season and won the Maryland 3A-4A title at 103 pounds last year. The senior has won 45 straight and has an 84-8 career mark.
Howard's stepfather, John Fitts, coaches the Gaithersburg team. Howard and Watkins were talking at a youth practice one day and Watkins's father asked Howard if he would give his son a few pointers. Howard then began working with the young wrestler on a mat in the Watkins's basement.
Heincelman then began coming over, too, and before long the Watkins's were setting dates to use their mat.
"It's something special," said Magruder Coach Ed Heincelman, Marc's father. "To see that they're that attached to the sport, that's just outstanding. It's a nice thing."
Howard and Heincelman would work up to three days per week with Watkins and McGill--in addition to a few other wrestlers who stopped by for the free lessons--and they took great pride in the success the pair found in Tulsa.
"I know that they're good wrestlers," Howard said. "These aren't kids that are conceited. They thanked us for all we did."
The Tulsa Nationals featured more than 2,400 youth wrestlers from all over the country. Watkins competed in the 15-and-under age group and went 3-1 in the 82-pound weight class. He beat wrestlers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Indiana before falling in the final to a nationally ranked freestyle wrestler. Watkins was one of four Gaithersburg wrestlers to compete at the event and one of two finalists.
McGill, who competed in the 12-and-under age group, went 4-1 in the 76-pound weight class. He defeated a three-time state champion from Iowa and a two-time state champion from Illinois.
Let It Snow
Despite missing four days of practice last week, No. 3 Old Mill looked impressive on Monday, beating Annapolis (53-10) and North County (58-7) to improve to 11-0.
"The long layoff really helped us," said Old Mill Coach Vern Hines, whose team did not practice Thursday through Sunday because of bad weather.
Old Mill missed two more days of practice this week because of the snow, but Hines said the additional rest should help his team down the road.
"We're healthier than we've ever been and that wouldn't have happened without the long layoff," Hines said. . . .
Three days after losing its first dual match of the season, Oakton placed second at the 16-team Franklin Invitational last weekend. Eric Amstutz won the 112-pound title with a 7-6 decision over Mervo's Tavon Williams. Scott Massie (119), Jamie O'Donnell (125), Brian Harris (135) and Chris Burton (160) placed second in their respective weight classes.