Lewnes, Holmes post solid finishes

High Schools



NEWARK, Del. -- The Beast of the East, the nation's most prestigious high school wrestling invitational, isn't a nurturing event. Its brutal, 64-wrestler weight classes provide few, if any, easy matches. Its standout wrestlers, many from the mill towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio, grapple in a physical style unseen in Maryland. To place here at the University of Delaware is quite an accomplishment.

For Baltimore's two most accomplished wrestlers - Mount St. Joseph's Mack Lewnes, a three-time state champion, and McDonogh's Bryn Holmes, a two-time state champion - this grueling event proved a physical and emotional test with some successes and some setbacks.

Lewnes, ranked No. 1 in the country, placed second at 160 pounds, and Holmes, last year's Outstanding Wrestler at the National Preps tournament, finished in fourth place at 152.

Lewnes won five matches before dropping a 3-1 finals match decision to Walsh Jesuit's Dave Rella, an archrival he has twice beaten by one point. In the bout, Rella, an Ohio champ ranked second nationally, scored an early takedown, then effectively blocked Lewnes' attacks for the remainder of the match.

Holmes won six matches, falling only twice to two-time Delaware state champion Andrew Bradley of St. Mark's.

Lewnes said there was little consolation he could take from a second-place finish at the nation's toughest tournament.

"It's kind of an all-or-nothing situation, because of the expectations people have of me," Lewnes said. "A lot of people might be happy with placing second, but I'm not, because I wanted to win."

Lewnes and Holmes both said they look forward to meeting their interstate rivals at future tournaments this year. Lewnes should meet Rella at next week's PowerAde Tournament in Washington, Pa. Holmes should face Bradley again at the Mount Mat Madness Tournament at Goucher College on Jan. 21.

Lewnes reached the finals with three first-period pins, a 14-3 major decision and a 9-5 win over Virginia's Matt Epperly (Christiansburg).

Holmes scored three pins before falling, 4-3, to Bradley in the quarterfinals. Holmes followed that match with another pin and a 3-2 victory, before losing to Bradley again, 5-3.

Mount St. Joseph's Andrew DePalma (275) was one point away from placing at the event, losing 1-0 to Kevin Struble from Pennsylvania powerhouse Bald Eagle Area. Teammate Jon Kohler (135) was also a match away from placing, losing, 4-2, to Cody Stansfield of Cumberland Valley.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.