With a last name recognized anywhere in the wrestling community, Perry Hall freshman Zeke Slavo has been living up to every letter in the 2010-2011 season, looking to add a state title to his county and regional crowns.
Defeated only twice in the season, Salvo took a 103-pound Baltimore County championship with a 9-3 decision over Hereford’s Anthony Genco, and accrued 28 wins when decisioning Anthoney Savage of Tuscarora in the 3A/4A North Regional Finals.
“It took a lot of hard work,” Salvo said of his freshman season. “I’ve really been working hard the past few weeks and we have turned the intensity up quite a bit.”
In his regional final finish, Salvo kept hold of a 6-4 decision, earning a 6-3 lead in the first period and cruising to his championship win.
“It was pretty good and I felt that I had the upper hand on neutral,” Salvo explained. “He rode me out on top, but at that point I think I had a secure lead.”
Salvo’s experience in his first year of high school wrestling was somewhat different from that of other high school freshman. Rather than breaking down matches and talking the sport after exiting the mat, Salvo and his father do it in real time, with father, Kirk Salvo, coaching his son from the corner.
“It puts some pressure on me, especially when he is coaching, but he keeps me under control,” Zeke said of his father. “It is actually pretty good because he focuses on me quite a bit and critiques me, though, sometimes, it is a bit tough.”
With Salvo assisting Perry Hall head Coach Jake Roche, the Gators have come on strong in the end of the season, finishing third in Baltimore County behind Owings Mills and Hereford, and bound for future success.
“I think most of the dual meet wins have been more successful because the team has had an up-and-down year, but the next few years it is going to be picking up,” Salvo said. “We’re getting a few good kids in next year, and work over the off-season will keep us under control.
Salvo added that, in addition to rec. wrestlers from both Fallston and Perry Hall, the Gators should be seeing new recruits from Perry Hall Middle School, where the junior varsity coach is teacher.
“He’s picking them out and helping us,” Salvo laughed.
But before next year, Salvo has the chance to add yet another title to his incredible freshman season; an MPSSAA 3A/4A 103-pound State Championship in this weekend’s tournament at the University of Maryland, College Park.
“I just want to show everyone what I can do,” the state hopeful said. “Being a freshman, I have been a little underrated, so I just want to go in there and do my best.”
The 2011 MPSSAA State Wresting Tournament will be held this Friday and Saturday in the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, College Park.