Oklahoma State has a grip on Lewnes

Colleges

Postcards

February 26, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Sam Lewnes is enjoying a wrestling utopia in Stillwater, Okla.

It's a place where wrestlers are treated with the same respect as football and basketball players.

It's a place where even a redshirt freshman season such as the one Lewnes is going through has its share of glamour and matches (last year's Sun Wrestler of the Year from Mount St. Joseph is 17-11 at 157 pounds in open tournaments).

Welcome to Oklahoma State, collegiate wrestling's version of the New York Yankees.

The Cowboys have won 31 NCAA wrestling championships, far surpassing second-place Iowa, which has captured 20 NCAA titles.

"It's real nice being a part of all this," Lewnes said Monday. "It's been a thrill just watching these guys wrestle. My goal here is to be a four-time national champion."

Lewnes admits he has been a little overwhelmed by the traditions of the Cowboys, the defending NCAA champions who were 17-1 and No. 1 in the nation before being upset Sunday by Minnesota, 17-16.

"It's unbelievable how big wrestling here is," he said. "We get an average of 2,500 people for matches and we enjoy the same attention as other major-sport athletes."

Lewnes has traveled as far as Reno, Nev., to compete in open tournaments against other redshirt wrestlers from big-time schools such as Iowa, or with wrestlers who have been placed by their coaches in these low-key tournaments.

At Mount St. Joseph, Lewnes was a two-time private schools state champion at 152 and 160 pounds, and a national champion at 160.

Pearson one-man show

Carnegie Mellon junior Chris Pearson (Howard) dominated the University Athletic Association swimming championships at Emory University.

He won three individual titles, was a member of two winning relay teams and helped a third relay team take second place.

Pearson was an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III championships in four events (500-meter freestyle, 400 individual medley, 200 butterfly and 400 free relay). He was a provisional qualifier in two other events (400 medley relay and 800 free relay).

Pearson won the 500 free with a time of 4:30.55, a national Division III record.

He also established several other conference and national records while leading Carnegie Mellon to a second-place finish behind Emory.

Atas strong at net

Freshman Joey Atas (Calvert Hall) is off to a 9-1 start while playing No. 2 singles for the Ohio State tennis team.

Atas lost his first match of the season Monday to Virginia Commonwealth's Pedro Nieto, 7-6, 6-2.

Virginia Commonwealth, ranked No. 12 in the nation, defeated the No. 16 Buckeyes, 5-2, dropping them to 8-2.

Et cetera

Tiffany Jones (Dunbar) has recorded a team-leading 83 assists this season for Independence (Mo.) Community College, which leads the junior college Division I Kansas Jayhawk Conference with a 14-2 record. Jones, a 5-foot-6 sophomore guard, also has 37 steals, which is second on the team, and is averaging 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Independence is 19-7 overall.

La Salle senior Eric Smith (Pikesville) took second in the 55-meter hurdles in the Atlantic 10 indoor track and field championships, posting an IC4A qualifying time of 7.55 seconds. He also finished fourth in the long jump. In the A-10 women's indoor meet, La Salle junior Mahatma Jackson (Calvert Hall) took third in the 55 hurdles.

Sophomore midfielder Mike Obringer (Dulaney) and his Army teammates have a tough assignment Saturday in their lacrosse season opener, meeting perennial power Syracuse.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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