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Chopticon Braves head wrestling coach Dane Kramer needed only six wins coming into this wrestling season to do something no other wrestling coach in Southern Maryland Athletic Conference has done, win 300 matches.
On Jan. 5, 2013 with a 57-18 victory over SMAC opponent McDonough at the South River Duals Tournament, Kramer made history and became the first SMAC coach ever with 300 career victories, eight years and one day from when Kramer earned his 200th win on Jan. 4, 2005,
“It’s a tribute to coaching for 31 years, I guess,” Kramer said of the accomplishment. “We’ve had 25 winning seasons and when you win more than you lose and you stick around that long, you’re going to get 300 wins.”
Only two other SMAC coaches have reached at least 200 wins in ex-Calvert Cavaliers head coach Dave Kistler, who was at Calvert from 1989 to 2009 and finished with 226 all-time wins, and ex-Lackey Chargers head coach Glenn Jones, who coached Lackey from 1979 to 1996 and finished with 212 wins.
“The hard part is getting to where you are winning,” Kramer said. “Once you are winning, it kind of just goes. When you are losing, it’s going to be tough to turn that around. I don’t want to leave the program until it’s back to where we are winning.”
The road to 300 was accelerated 10 years ago when, according to Kramer, a rule was put in that allowed teams to go participate in more than 14 matches a season, a rule that hindered the winning numbers through the first 20 years that also included seasons with only 11 or 12 matches.
Kramer admits the addition of dual tournaments helped reaching 300 a quicker process.
“Ten years of that adds up to 50 more wins I wouldn’t have had if they had not put that rule in,” Kramer said. “That helped, number-wise.”
Winner of the 2004 Maryland state championship, Kramer admits that despite coaching in perhaps the state’s biggest matches, a match in 2005 sticks out in his mind, a win over county-foe Leonardtown for his 200th victory.
That win over Leonardtown was decided in the final bout of the night when his wrestler, Eric Stottlemeyer, was about to get pinned only for Stottlemeyer to earn a reverse and get a pin, himself, delivering Kramer his 200th.
That type of attitude and determination is what, Kramer says, has kept Chopticon successful and allowed him to get to 300 wins.
“Chopticon has tough kids in general,” Kramer said. “We have a lot of brothers come through, I coached a lot of their fathers, so it’s generations coming through now. ... We have families that just come back to help out and send their cousins and their brothers, so a lot of it is just that.”
Now in his 31st year as head coach, Kramer admits that he has been able to use his mental approach to wrestling to pull out wins through his years as head man.
“My thing is I am able to move kids around to weight classes so that it works out best for the team to get points to win a match,” Kramer said. “I’m more of a mental coach than actual [hands-on]. I’m 60 years old, so I’m not going to go out there and have the moves anymore. It’s tough, but I put in a lot of time as far as knowing who I am wrestling and at what weight class.”
Now, with 300 wins out of the way, the only thing remaining is 400 wins.
“That’s probably going to be about six years,” Kramer said of winning 400, “and I hope to get there. I am going to be here for a couple of more years, but after that, I am going to see how my health holds up. ... Yes, I am hoping to get to 400.”