SMR pre­pares for wrestling sea­son with new coach

Knights pre­pare for new sea­son with new head coach

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By COLIN STOECKER [email protected]­news.com

Down a few key weight classes early in the sea­son is some­thing that might scare a rookie wrestling coach, but it doesn’t phase St. Mary’s Ryken first-year head coach Philip Brown.

Brown, a former Mont­gomery County po­lice of­fi­cer, will be start­ing his first year with the Knights fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of former St. Mary’s Ryken head coach Vince Whit­tles who called last sea­son his fi­nal be­fore re­tire­ment.

Brown is an ac­com­plished as­sis­tant wrestling coach, although this will be his first year as the head of a pro­gram. He spent stints as an as­sis­tant coach at Oak­land Mills High

School in Howard County, as well as Sher­wood and Damascus and Good Coun­sel high schools in Mont­gomery County be­fore spend­ing the past two sea­son at Glenelg High School in Howard County.

At Good Coun­sel, Brown sent two teams to win the state pri­vate schools tour­na­ment and had a cou­ple of wrestlers go off each year to wres­tle in col­lege. At Glenelg last year, Brown’s team fin­ished among the best in the state.

“I just want to have a com­mit­ted pro­gram,” he said. “My ex­pec­ta­tions com­ing in are to win. I want to win the con­fer­ence, the states, and even­tu­ally the na­tional preps. My phi­los­o­phy is hard work and

to out­work ev­ery­one else. We did a lot of weight train­ing and pre­sea­son train­ing. We also drilled a lot of tech­nique.”

Re­turn­ing se­nior wrestlers, like 160-pounder Gun­nar Brod­fuehrer, are also ex­cited for a new year of wrestling to be­gin, en­ter­ing the sea­son with high hopes.

“Last year I had a pretty de­cent sea­son,” Brod­fuehrer said. “I did all right in the con­fer­ence and placed at states, but not as good as I hoped. This year, we hope to come back and win the con­fer­ence, the WCAC’s and go on to place at states, and then make our way to na­tional preps. We are ex­cited. Coach Brown is great, he has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. We got a lot of good guys, and it’s go­ing to be a very promis­ing year.”

The Knights are look­ing for­ward to a fresh charge of lead-

er­ship un­der Brown.

“Last year it was pretty tough and there were a lot of good kids in my weight class, but I think I’ll stack up pretty well,” Brod­fuehrer said. “It’s good hav­ing a new coach, it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent dy­namic but it’s def­i­nitely good.”

Brown may be new to coach­ing in South­ern Mary­land, but he is a sea­soned vet­eran wrestling coach with mul­ti­ple state cham­pi­onships un­der his belt from dif­fer­ent pro­grams that he as­sisted in coach­ing to vic­tory. And he has a cer­tain ex­pec­ta­tions that he wants his wrestlers to meet.

“I think we will have some kids who will place high in­di­vid­u­ally and do well. As a team it is go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult,” said Brown. “I have a few wrestlers that I’m ex­cited about. I have a 106-pounder, sopho­more Chris Albo, who

is a trans­fer from Great Mills. And I have Koda DeAt­ley, he’s a fresh­man and he did very well in ju­nior league. Evan Eldridge, also a fresh­man, Blake Jury is a ju­nior trans­fer and re­turn­ing state cham­pion from Hunt­ing­town at 126.

“Rod­ney Jef­fer­son is go­ing to be 132, he is a pre­vi­ous year trans­fer from DeMatha. Alex Figueiras is a se­nior who did well last year at 138. Sam Smirnoff is an­other one at 145. Smirnoff was a run­ner-up at the pri­vate school states and a trans­fer from Arch­bishop Spald­ing. Judge Aldridge is a se­nior who has been here all four years. We don’t have a 152, he’s ac­tu­ally a 145, so these two will trade. Gun­ner Brod­fuehrer should do well, he’s a se­nior at 160. Trent Greer will do well at 170. And Zeke Gayle is our big guy at 182. He’s a fresh­man.”

Wait­ing for ath­letes from other sports to join the team is not some­thing that Brown was ex­pect­ing, as his team’s train­ing and con­di­tion­ing is al­ready well un­der­way, and their first match is this weekend.

“I’m not hedg­ing my bets wait­ing for foot­ball to let out,” Brown said. “Our first dual is this weekend at York High School in Vir­ginia. My ex­pec­ta­tions are not very high. I’m look­ing at in­di­vid­ual achieve­ment right now. As a team, it’s go­ing to be hard to com­pete if you are miss­ing three or four weight classes. Right now I’m prob­a­bly miss­ing about five or six.”

Brown added: “The main goal is to build the pro­gram even fur­ther even­tu­ally. Ul­ti­mately, we’d like to be able to com­pete with the top pri­vate schools in Mary­land.”

FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Re­turn­ing St. Mary’s Ryken se­nior wrestlers, like 160-pounder Gun­nar Brod­fuehrer, are ex­cited for a new year of wrestling to be­gin, en­ter­ing the sea­son with high hopes.

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