McDonogh's Plienis captures 2nd straight National Prep title All-Metro heavyweight pins 5 foes in first period

March 04, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

McDonogh's two-time All-Metro heavyweight J. R. Plienis, ranked No. 2 nationally, pinned each of his five opponents in the first period to win his second straight National Prep Tournament crown at Lehigh University over the weekend.

Plienis, 17, ranked No. 1 in Maryland, pinned his opponents in a combined 5:16 to earn the Most Falls in the Shortest Time award. The fastest pin for Plienis, who placed third in the tournament as a sophomore, came just 28 seconds into his title bout with Blair Academy's Chris Denker, who is ranked No. 6 in New Jersey.

DeMatha (145.50) won its second straight undergraduate crown over Mount St. Joseph (111), with the Gaels' highest of five top six finishers being No. 1 Tyran Dungee (160, 38-3, 25 pins) and Ben Dyer (Hwt.), both third, and Ron Cooper (145), fourth.

Other top four area wrestlers were No. 1 Greg Plitt (189, 32-1, second), John Holliday (145, third) and Tom Knowles (135, fourth), all of Gilman, Boys' Latin's Jason Leneau (152, 26-1, second) and St. Mary's John Horrigan (130, 29-6, third).

Blair Academy (390.5) won the title for teams with post-high school students.

Plienis is 29-0 with 25 first-period pins, a default and a forfeit. Only Denker, an earlier 7-5 loser to Plienis, and Dyer, an earlier 11-4 loser, have gone the distance with Plienis. Dyer later was pinned in 1:55.

"It was a great tournament for me, especially to pin my way through like that," said Plienis, also a two-time private schools state champ and a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champ. "A lot of the coaches there told me that they had voted for me as the Outstanding Wrestler."

But that honor went to DeMatha's Todd Beckerman (125, 53-0 this year). Beckerman, a Crofton resident, became the nation's first four-time National Prep champ with a 5-2 victory over Blair Academy's Sean Gray, ranked No. 2 in New Jersey. Beckerman improved to 205-1 for his career. He's won all 43 high school tournaments he has entered, and has a 187-bound winning streak -- both national records.

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