Middleweights do heavy lifting

Wrestling: Dave Bowser, Mike Money and Ryan Lowder give unbeaten Arundel its usual powerful presence in the middleweight classes.

High Schools

January 12, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Tradition is alive and well with the Arundel wrestling team.

The Wildcats recently wrapped up their 18th invitational. A sign asking the wrestlers, "What goals did you accomplish today?" still hangs in the practice room. And the strength of this year's lineup remains in the middleweights.

Senior Dave Bowser, junior Ryan Lowder and senior Mike Money have compiled a combined 35-8 record in the 130-, 135- and 140-pound weight classes, respectively, and have captured five tournament crowns in less than two months.

They have powered Arundel to a 5-0 dual-meet mark that will be put to the test when the Wildcats visit Millersville at 7 tonight to lock up with fourth-ranked Old Mill (3-0 in the county, 5-0 overall).

If there's any pressure on the trio, they don't acknowledge it. Tradition might be behind the confidence.

"That's the way it's been at Arundel," Money said, referring to the team's middleweight might. "I'm not worried about us stepping up to the challenege."

And if Arundel intends to make any waves during its march to a coveted state duals championship, coach John Miller knows who will be rocking the boat.

"We are joined at the hip with our middleweights," Miller said. "If we don't have them, we're hurting."

Continuing a legacy that includes the likes of 1997 regional champ and 130-pounder Wayne Nichols and 1999 regional titlist and 130-pounder Pat Ortman, the tandem of Bowser, Lowder and Money have traveled different paths to Gambrills.

Lowder wrestled for five years at the junio- league level before arriving at Arundel as a freshman. Bowser also took the junior-league circuit, placing second in the county and seventh in the state in just his second year of wrestling. Money never wrestled until his freshman year at Gateway High in Aurora, Colo., when his mom suggested he try out for the team.

Yet, their roads have intertwined at Arundel, which is counting on the trio to produce.

Thus far, they haven't disappointed. Money has captured three tournament crowns and owns a 13-1 mark that includes a 7-3 decision against state champ Bryan Hamper of South Carroll. Bowser is 11-4 and won the Meade Invitational, while Lowder is 11-3 and is a two-time Arundel Invitational champ.

The Wildcats' reliance on the trio was evident in a 36-27 defeat of reigning state tournament champ Chesapeake on Dec. 18. After the Cougars won the first six matches with two pins and a major decision, Lowder's pin at 140 ignited a seven-bout sweep for the Wildcats, who are 3-0 in the county.

That meet - coupled with some inexperience in the lower and upper weights - suggests to Miller that Arundel might go as far as Bowser, Lowder and Money carry it.

"I think it's totally accurate to say that. Chesapeake proved that," Miller said. "If we don't get the falls, we don't win that one."

But Bowser said he has witnessed the development of his teammates and believes that they can play a vital role.

"Every match, we need everybody to come out strong," Bowser said. "I think we can pull off some good things, but everybody has to be in the game."

As good as Bowser, Lowder and Money are, they will be severely tested by the Old Mill threesome of Brandon Evans, Adam DeCosmo and Nick Liston.

At 17-0, DeCosmo is a returning state champ and owns two tournament titles. Liston placed sixth at states last season, and Evans recently won the Francis Scott Key Tournament.

Lowder, who will likely draw the unenviable task of meeting DeCosmo, said he is looking forward to changing his 0-2 mark against his county rival.

"I want to go at him," Lowder said. "People at Old Mill are expecting him to beat me. That's a win they're counting on. I have nothing to lose."

Win or lose, Miller compared tonight's dual meet to the rivalry between Iowa-Iowa State and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State.

"It's going to be bedlam," Miller said, borrowing the term applied to the gladiator-like battles waged by the universities. "I know that [Old Mill coach] Vern Hines will have his team ready. My job is to get my team ready."

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