McDonogh has quick grip

No. 2 Eagles wrestlers show what all talk's about as they easily bring home championship from Caruso tournament in New Jersey



McDonogh is expected to soar to new heights, according to the preseason talk circulating in Maryland's high school wrestling community.

The No. 2-ranked Eagles landed at St. Benedict's High of New Jersey last weekend, and then took to the skies.

Led by 125-pound sophomore Ben Levin, whose second-period pin of National Preps champ Dan White of the Peddie School was the upset of the event, the Eagles (253 points) overcame host and runner-up St. Benedict's (207 points) and the rest of the 12-team field for the title in Saturday's Mike Caruso Invitational.

Levin (3-0) took 3:46 to earn his second pin of the tournament, ending what had been a tight bout against White, a fellow sophomore who had scored two first-period pins to reach the title bout. Levin was named the event's Outstanding Wrestler.

"They were really banging in there, and that was a great win for Ben," senior 152-pounder Bryn Holmes said of Levin, who was among McDonogh's eight finalists and its six individual champions. "Ben worked out incredibly hard in the offseason, so I'm not surprised that he won, even though [White] was the National Preps champ."

Also winning titles were Holmes and fellow returning senior All-Metro Joe Breen (140), freshmen Eric Filipowicz (103) and Alex Pagnotta (160) and sophomore Josh Fitch (112).

Finishing second were freshman Curtis Holmes (130) and junior Kramer Whitelaw (145). Freshman Shane Milam (135) placed third.

The overall record for McDonogh wrestlers who placed third or better in the tournament was 25-3, with 19 pins and two technical falls.

Bryn Holmes and Breen pinned all three of their opponents, Pagnotta pinned all four and both Filipowicz (3-0, two pins) and Fitch (2-0, one pin) were unbeaten. Curtis Holmes went 2-1 with two pins, Whitelaw was 3-1 with two pins and a technical fall and Milam was 2-1 with a technical fall.

Bryn Holmes, a defending National Preps champ, and Breen, a returning Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state champ, are the lone seniors in a lineup that is expected to challenge top-ranked, defending MIAA and private schools team champion Mount St. Joseph.

"We came into the tournament excited about the season coming up, and everyone was wrestling with pretty much the same intensity throughout the lineup," said Bryn Holmes, also a two-time defending MIAA and private schools state champ. "We've started out the season the way we wanted to, but I don't think we've proven anything yet."

All-Star participants

The following are senior players from the county's MIAA schools who will play for Team Baltimore against the Metro All-Stars - consisting of players from Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick and Howard counties - in Saturday's 10th annual Baltimore Touchdown Club All-Star game at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's:

Tony Hamlett, Jake Quigg, Aaron Slaughter and Phil Clayton of Loyola; Alex Griswold, David Corak, John Yurek and Nathan Matthews of St. Paul's; Tom Cooper, Kyle O'Brien and Randall Norton of McDonogh, and Peter Scheve and James Neal of Boys' Latin.

For more information, call Scott Ripley at 443-277-5438.

Honors for A. Rhein

CHEN's Amanda Rhein earned all-tournament team honors recently in the National Christian Home School Athletic Association volleyball championships in Omaha, Neb.

The Bravehearts' freshman, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, averaged 3.8 kills per game this season and had 381 total kills as her team finished 12-5.

In the national tournament, the Bravehearts reached the quarterfinals in the Gold Division, where they fell to a team from Amarillo, Texas, which went on to win the championship.

Still, the quarterfinal finish wasn't bad for a rebuilt CHEN team that returned only Rhein and her sister Katie Rhein, a junior outside hitter who averaged 1.9 kills per game and served 565 times at 94 percent.

With such an inexperienced team, there was some talk of skipping the national event, which the Bravehearts won a year ago, said first-year coach Carol Green.

"We thought it was important to defend our title," said Green. "The reasoning was that we need to go because that's what champions do. You don't just go because you think you can win."

The Bravehearts came home with valuable experience for their youngsters, including setter Lillie Happel (6.9 assists per game) and middle hitters Kaitlyn McEilligott and Anna Simonton.

Sun reporter Katherine Dunn contributed to this article.

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