In the past, Owings Mills grapplers have won the Mount Mat Madness tournament - arguably the toughest regular-season test in the area - three times.
But Eagles' Coach Guy Pritzker refuses to let his team participate in the prestigious event this year.
There's more than just a little inexperience throughout Owings Mills lineup after the Eagles lost 10 starters from last season's Class 2A-1A state championship team.
Pritzker called his 2005-2006 squad "the most inexperienced on a varsity level in maybe 10 years."
So, it wasn't a difficult decision to skip the tournament with only Cody Rosen Stone (103 pounds), Tony Mack (130), Ben McCree (160) and Tom Parks (189) returning to the starting lineup.
"I have the type of team that needs experience," the coach said. "Going to the Mount tournament and having these kids get the crap beat out of them is not my idea of experience. "
Owings Mills second-place finish in the Parkville Invitational last weekend showed the Eagles aren't as good as past seasons.
Owings Mills had won the tourney six straight times.
Yet Pritzker, who is expected, to win his 350th dual meet later this month, doesn't have any "first-to-worst" fears this season.
"This year, we know we can't win a state title," said Pritzker, whose program won a combined six state dual-meet and Class 2A-1A championships from 2002-2005. "But we can be in the top five. To me that would be a good season."
As far individual wrestlers, McCree could have a particularly good year. He's coming off a 29-4 season in which he placed second in the state and first in the county.
"McCree is much improved and I really can't see anybody beating him this year," Pritzker said.
Owings Mills senior Andrew Gothelf agreed: "You take it as a given in a tournament that he will win."
Mack is another Eagle to watch, having finished third in the state and second in the county a year ago while going 25-4.
Rosen Stone, a 2005 state tournament qualifier and third-place county finisher, should also make his presence felt.
"Mack and McCree have the two best chances of winning the counties and states," Pritzker said. "Cody would be my third pick."
The three standouts will be supported in the lineup by a group varsity returnees subs.
Nonetheless, Pritzker expects big things from Gothelf (125), Nick Corsaniti (140), Brent Caplan (145), Gary Saval (152), Paul Stoyanovsky (171) and Irwin Coleman (152 -171).
Two other wrestlers - Owings Mills Junior League products and brothers Kevin (103) and Frank Dufour (119), along with JV promotions Mitchell Barker (135) and Kyle Burke (215) - complete the Eagles' lineup.
"In the past, we have always had a lot of guys with junior league experience," Owings Mills Assistant Coach Justin Ott said. "A lot our guys have been wrestling for only one or two years."