Wrestler Of The Year

High School Sports

Wrestling

March 22, 2004

Mack Lewnes

Mount St. Joseph, sophomore

Lewnes, the nation's top-ranked 152-pound sophomore, won his second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools crowns and was first at National Preps after losing in overtime of last year's title bout.

He had wins over four-time National Preps champ Rudy Rueda of DeMatha and private schools champ Brian Saval of Boys' Latin, ending the year at 51-2 with 38 pins. Lewnes, whose older brother Sam was last season's Wrestler of the Year, is 90-9 for his career.

The repeat All-Metro selection constantly surpassed expectations. During the first four weeks of the season, he placed first, second and third, respectively, in the Beast of The East, PowerAde and Iron Man tournaments, which are considered three of the four toughest invitationals in the nation.

In that span, Lewnes defeated Pennsylvania state champ Steve Anceravage of Bloomsburg and split bouts with Ohio State runner-up Mike Pucillo of Walsh Jesuit and Blair Academy's Mike Gallente.

In January, Lewnes earned the crown at the Mount Mat Madness tournament, considered Maryland's most difficult invitational, by defeating Delaware state champ Kyle Skinner for the second time in his career. In February, Lewnes pinned all four opponents to win the Colonial Forge Duals, also earning a major decision during the same week against Archbishop Curley's Pat Sinnott.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Earl Lauer

River Hill

The Hawks graduated 16 seniors - including nine starters - from last year's state duals champion. Yet his Hawks won an unprecedented fifth straight Howard County tournament crown by a record margin of 104 points with six individual champs.

In winning his fourth region tournament in five years, Lauer, 55, sent a school-record 11 wrestlers to the 4A-3A state meet. A first-year heavyweight was second at counties and third at regionals. At states, River Hill placed a school-record third, and two Hawks were state runners-up in the same season for the first time.

River Hill made its third 4A-3A state duals final appearance in the past five years, losing to Calvert of Calvert County, which ended the Hawks' 31-match winning streak and a run of 39 consecutive duals wins against Maryland rivals. Lauer, who had a new head assistant coach in Jeremy Lignelli this season, is 123-22-2 in eight years at River Hill, with four county duals crowns and three regional duals titles. He was given an award for his service to wrestling by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

FIRST TEAM

Sasha Binder

Owings Mills, senior

The 140-pounder went 37-0 to win Baltimore County, regional and 2A-1A state titles.

He defeated Harford Tech two-time state runner-up Brad Dreyer, Annapolis 4A-3A champ Ben Graham and 4A-3A runner-up Eric Jeronimo of Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

Corey Bowers

Chesapeake-AA, senior

The 119-pound Anne Arundel County Wrestler of The Year won his fourth county, second regional and first state title after placing second at states last year, and third twice.

Bowers (129-12 career) had wins over Owings Mills two-time 2A-1A state champ Rob Cooper, Mount St. Joseph two-time private schools state champ Bruce Dulski and South River state runner-up Andrew Mulry.

Ethan Cohen

Hammond, junior

The third-year wrestler won the 103-pound Howard County and regional titles and was 2A-1A state runner-up. Last year, Cohen was a county and regional runner-up and placed fourth at states.

Cohen had three wins over River Hill state runner-up Taylor Green, beat Sherwood's Montgomery County and regional runner-up, Andy Lowy, and pinned all three regional rivals.

Chris DeVilbiss

Liberty, senior

De Vilbiss went from fourth-string as a junior varsity freshman to 2A-1A state champion as a senior with a 35-0 record at 152 pounds.

A state runner-up last year, De Vilbiss captured this year's county and regional crowns and won states, 4-3, over Harford Tech's Josh Taylor.

Andrew Gold

Mount St. Joseph, senior

The 112-pound University of Pennsylvania-bound wrestler won his second straight private schools crown and was runner-up at MIAAs and National Preps.

Gold defeated state runners-up Joe Breen (McDonogh) and Mike Long (Harford Tech), and state champs Corey Bowers (Chesapeake-AA) and Rob Cooper (Owings Mills). The bouts with Cooper and Bowers, in the postseason Senior All-Star Classic, do not count toward the wrestlers' official records.

Ben Graham

Annapolis, senior

He won the 4A-3A state crown at 140 pounds after twice being runner-up.

Graham (32-2) won a battle of state runners-up, 6-4, in overtime for the state 4A-3A title over Eric Jeronimo of Bethesda-Chevy Chase. He also won his second straight Anne Arundel County and regional crowns.

Bryn Holmes

McDonogh, sophomore

Holmes went 37-6 with 29 pins and won the 160-pound MIAA and private school titles after being second in both as a freshman. Holmes finished fourth at 152 pounds at National Preps.

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