Donner packs more muscle, confidence Bulked up: The Broadneck senior, who is ranked No. 2 in the state, added 15 pounds for this season and is 14-1.

January 28, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

For his previous two seasons, Broadneck senior wrestler Lonnie Donner had more of a background role as the younger brother of James, last year's 119-pound regional runner-up who has graduated.

But this year, a more muscular, more confident Donner has been the leader of a team that also boasts his younger brother, Reese, a 103-pound sophomore who is 10-3 with six pins.

"I feel like I have to lead more by example this year, staying busy before and after practice," said Donner. "I always try to do that little bit extra."

He is ranked No. 2 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association at 130, sporting a 14-1 record that includes five pins, and having outscored six others by a combined 60-24. In 13 of his first 15 bouts, Donner did not allow more than four points or give up a takedown.

Thanks to an off-season weight-training program, "I've added about 15 pounds," said Donner.

"He's a much bigger wrestler when he's down at 130, but he's been making a lot of sacrifices wrestling at higher weights for the team," said coach John Mayberry, whose Bruins (11-1) are ranked No. 5. "He wants to wrestle all of the tougher kids, that's how much more confidence he has in himself."

Donner's 9-1 victory over Arundel's Graham Harris at 145 pounds keyed the Bruins' 32-31 victory over the 12th-ranked Wildcats. -- He's beaten four 140-pounders, pinning once.

His most impressive win was a 13-3 decision of Thomas Stone's previously unbeaten Adam Fitzpatrick yesterday.

"I feel a lot more confident with the added strength, especially when I'm in on a takedown," said Donner, who has lifted weights steadily since June. "I can get in there and fight more, not having to rely totally on leverage."

Donner's tenacity was immediately evident in the Bruins' first event, the Annapolis Tournament, which Mayberry considers Donner's breakthrough effort. Donner, who was fourth at Annapolis last season, won it this time by beating three quality opponents.

The first was a 7-4 win over Bullis' previously unbeaten Brian Bunting. The second was a 13-4 decision of Francis Scott Key's Ryan Etzler, a defending Carroll County and regional champ against whom Donner scored nine near-fall points. And in the title bout, Donner outlasted Altoona's (Pa.) Brett Frye, 6-4.

"That was a big boost for him, proving that he could hang with some of the best," said Mayberry. "He's always been a good technician down on the mat, but he's really improved on his feet."

Donner followed Annapolis by winning his second straight Sterling, Va., tournament.

A veteran of six junior league seasons before high school, Donner went 23-12 as a sophomore, beating Baltimore City champ Wayne Lucas, 7-6, for third place in the region.

Last year, Donner went 26-7, finishing second in both the county and regional tournaments.

Among his losses a year ago were one against two-time state champ Tyrone Neal (Southern), who is ranked No. 1 at 140, and two each against defending state champ Paul Hultgren (Old Mill) and National Prep runner-up Chris Kalil (Gonzaga).

"My primary goal, definitely, is to win states," Donner said.

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