WRESTLER OF THE YEARMack Lewnes, Mount St. Joseph
The 160-pound senior completed a stellar career by winning his fourth straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Maryland Independent Schools tournament titles, as well as his second championship at the National Prep Wrestling Championships. Lewnes, who also has placed second and third at National Prep, is The Sun's All-Metro Wrestler of the Year for the second time, having also been chosen as a sophomore, when he was also a National Prep champ.
Lewnes reached this year's National Prep final on a technical fall and three pins, including a fall in 59 seconds over McDonogh's MIAA and independent schools runner-up Alex Pagnotta. A four-time, first-team All-Metro selection, Lewnes ended his senior season with a 52-1 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a career record of 151-12.
Lewnes, one of the nation's most highly recruited wrestlers, defeated Ohio state champion Dave Rella, Damascus' Class 4A-3A state champion Brad Katzenberger and Stephen Decatur's two-time 2A-1A runner-up Nathan Bourne, among others.
Lewnes won the Iron Man, Mount Mat Madness and PowerAde tournaments, along with the Maryland Senior All-Stars Classic. Lewnes was second in the Beast of The East, suffering his lone loss of the year, 3-1, to Rella.
Lewnes, whose grade point average is above 4.0, will wrestle at Cornell University and major in hospitality management. He hopes to join his brother, Sam, a wrestler at Oklahoma State, and his father, Charlie, in running Lewnes Steak House in Annapolis.
COACH OF THE YEARGary Siler, Harford Tech
Siler's Cobras dedicated the second half of their season to 2004 Harford Tech graduate Scott Tipton, a former county champion who died in January. The Cobras left Tipton's funeral, drove directly to their final dual meet of the regular season and defeated Elkton of Cecil County, 55-19, to complete an unbeaten dual-meet season in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
The No. 7 Cobras won the UCBAC dual-meet title and were 13-3 on the season. Siler, 49, an 18-year coach, earned his 150th career victory against county rival Bel Air, his alma mater.
After a runner-up finish in the Class 2A-1A East regional duals, the Cobras captured their second consecutive UCBAC tournament title, dethroned heavily favored Stephen Decatur of Berlin for the East regional tournament crown, and followed that up by winning the program's first-ever 2A-1A state tournament championship. Harford Tech's state championship was the county's first since 1990, when Aberdeen completed its run of three straight.
The Cobras had UCBAC champs in Mark Taylor (112 pounds), Eric Haskell (125), Mike Long (130), Matt Kahl (145) and Jeff Gardner (171); regional champs in Taylor, Long and Kahl; and a state champ in Long, who had been a state runner-up the two previous seasons. Taylor and Kahl were state runners-up, and Gardner and Jonathan Woods (152) were fourth at states. Woods and fellow seniors Haskell and Ryan Overstreet (135) had no wrestling experience before high school, but all three were regional runners-up.
FIRST TEAMJosh Asper, Hereford
A repeat All-Metro selection, the 145-pound sophomore won his first titles at the Baltimore County and Class 2A-1A North regional tournaments, then closed with his second straight 2A-1A crown by defeating returning state runner-up Matt Kahl of Harford Tech, 5-4. Asper is ranked No. 1 in The Sun. After becoming Hereford's first freshman to win a state title, Asper went 36-2 to join Steve Herbert (1970, '71) and D.J. Scarponi (2003, '04) as Hereford's only two-time state champions. Asper has a 75-7 career record.
Jake Bohn, Mount St. Joseph
The 189-pound junior won his second straight titles in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and independent schools tournaments. A second-team All-Metro pick last year, Bohn also pinned his way to a runner-up finish at this year's National Prep tournament. Bohn finished with a 37-4 record that included 20 pins, and was first at the Mount Mat Madness invitational for the second year in a row. The Sun's No. 1-ranked wrestler in his class, Bohn is 98-26 for his career.
Justin Bowser, Arundel
The returning All-Metro choice earned Anne Arundel County Wrestler of The Year honors by repeating as the 125-pound county, Class 4A-3A East regional and 4A-3A state tournament champion. Bowser went 38-1 with 20 pins and 11 technical falls, raising his county record for career wins to 147, with 76 pins and seven losses. At this year's states, Bowser scored a 12-2 title-bout win over Magruder's Zach Tolbert. Bowser joined Mark Chesla (1994 and '95) as his school's only repeat state titlists and became the second county wrestler to win four county and regional titles. Bowser looks to attend the U.S. Naval Academy's preparatory school.
Joe Breen, McDonogh
An All-Metro selection last season at 125 pounds, the senior rose to 140 this year, where he overcame an early knee injury to win his third straight MIAA crown and his second consecutive independent schools title. He also placed fourth at National Prep for the second straight year. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun, Breen finished his run with a 26-3 record. That mark included a runner-up finish at the Mount Mat Madness tournament, where Breen defeated Class 2A-1A state runner-up Latra Collick of Stephen Decatur. Breen also has career wins over three-time independent schools champ Jon Kohler (Mount St. Joseph) and 2A-1A state champ Mike Long (Harford Tech).
Zach Brown, Wilde Lake
The Sun's No. 1-ranked 215-pounder, the junior won his first Howard County title after placing second two years ago, and his second regional crown after placing third as a freshman. Brown lost his Class 4A-3A state-title bout, 10-7, to Magruder's repeat champ John Holloway, ending a 35-match winning streak. Brown was third at last year's states after a 10-6 semifinal loss to Holloway. He went 33-1 and doubled last year's pin total to 20, including a first-period pin of two-time MIAA champ Joe Green (Archbishop Curley). An All-County linebacker, Brown was a county and regional champ in the 100 and 200 meters and finished third at states in the 100.
Rob Eloshway, Atholton
The 103-pound senior went 36-1 with nine pins and six technical falls, winning the Howard County, Class 2A-1A South regional and state titles. At the state tournament, Eloshway scored a takedown 29 seconds into overtime to secure a 4-2 victory over Middletown's Tyler Strube, who had lost just once in his previous 33 bouts. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun, Eloshway became his school's sixth state champion and the first since 103-pounder Doug Ramsey in 2002. A finesse wrestler with an 86-24 career record and 31 pins, Eloshway was a county runner-up last year. A titlist at the Arundel and Perry Hall tournaments, Eloshway was named Outstanding Lightweight Wrestler at the latter. He will compete for York College next year.
Bubby Graham, Annapolis
Ranked No. 2 at 145 pounds, the sophomore won titles at the Anne Arundel, Class 4A-3A East regional and state tournaments, ending the season with a 34-1 record. Graham, who was not scored upon at states, was a regional titlist at 135 pounds last year, when he was third at counties and sixth at states. Competing in one of the state's toughest classes, Graham had four wins over Broadneck's state runner-up, Abe Hunter, and three over Old Mill's third-place finisher, Nic Box. Graham is on pace to surpass the accomplishments of his older brother, Ben, who was an All-Metro selection as a senior in 2004 when he was a state champ after twice finishing second.
Bryn Holmes, McDonogh
A repeat All-Metro choice and Baltimore County's Wrestler of The Year, the 152-pound senior earned his third straight MIAA and independent schools state titles, as well as his second consecutive National Prep crown. Holmes, ranked No. 1 by The Sun, went 46-2 with 31 pins and has a four-year mark of 162-19 with 114 career falls. In the National Prep final, Holmes defeated Blair Academy's Eric Medina, ranked No. 1 nationally at the time, 15-4, to earn the event's Outstanding Wrestler honors for the second straight year. Holmes' other big win was in the final of the Mount Mat Madness invitational, where he avenged two earlier losses by defeating St. Mark's two-time Delaware state champion Andrew Bradley.
Jon Kohler, Mount St. Joseph
Kohler put together another excellent run, winning titles at the MIAA and independent schools state tournaments and finishing third at the National Prep. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun at 135 throughout the season, Kohler won the MIAA and independent schools titles for the third straight year, was third at National Prep for the second straight season. A senior, Kohler has a 4.0 grade point average and is considering a major in biology, genetics or pre-dental at perhaps Harvard or the Naval Academy.
Mike Long, Harford Tech
Long earned Harford County Wrestler of The Year honors for winning his second straight titles in both the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference and the Class 2A-1A East regional, as well as his first state crown after being a runner-up the previous two seasons. The 130-pound senior also won the Maryland senior All-Star Classic, as he scored a 9-0 shutout of independent schools state champ Pat McMahon of Annapolis Area Christian. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun, Long went 42-2, becoming the Cobras' third state champion in the program's history.
Razzaq Muhammad, Parkville
Only a third-year wrestler, the 189-pound senior won his second straight Baltimore County tournament crown, his second straight Class 4A-3A North regional title and his first state championship. Muhammad went unscored upon to win this season's county title, and outscored his opposition, 30-2, in three regional bouts, which he won by a pin, a technical fall and a major decision. In going 30-1 and finishing at 80-9 for his career, Muhammad joined David Heath (1998) as Parkville's only state champs.
Greg Saumenig, Old Mill
The junior dominated the 112-pound class, earning his second straight Anne Arundel County and Class 4A-3A East regional titles and finishing first at states after being a runner-up as a sophomore. Saumenig, also an All-Metro selection last season, scored 136 takedowns in becoming Old Mill's 28th state titlist, a Maryland public school record. Along the way, Saumenig defeated state champs Devon Gillett (Hammond), Josh Fitch (McDonogh) and John Faringer (DeMatha), as well as state runners-up Sean McCarthy (Northwest) and Edwin Randall (Northern-Calvert).
Vince Taweel, Hammond
The three-time All-Metro selection won his third straight titles in the Howard County, Class 2A-1A South regional and state tournaments -- and he's just a junior. Ranked No. 2 in The Sun at 140 pounds Taweel won his final 16 bouts to finish 35-1, raising his career record to 111-7. Howard County's Wrestler of The Year had big wins over two-time state champ Josh Asper of Hereford and state runner-up Latra Collick of Stephen Decatur. On pace to join 1997 graduate Josh Zillmer as Hammond's only four-time county champions, Taweel earned his 100th career win against Asper on Feb. 14.
Alex Ward, Mount St. Joseph
The Sun's No. 1-ranked 171-pounder won his third straight MIAA tournament title, his first independent schools crown and had a 45-7 record. The son of former two-time NCAA champ Kelly Ward, Alex is headed to Nebraska on a partial wrestling scholarship. Ward had wins over two-time Class 2A-1A state champ Josh Whitelock of North Dorchester and two-time Anne Arundel County champ Lew Spadaro of Severna Park, and twice defeated 2A-1A runner-up Tyler Mullen of South Carroll.
Danny Whitenak, Mount St. Joseph
A returning first-team All-Metro selection, Whitenak rose to 119 pounds, where he won his second straight MIAA title and his first independent schools state title. Whitenak, who competed at 103 pounds last season, also was third in the Mount Mat Madness tournament. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun, Whitenak twice defeated Chris Laidley of Archbishop Spalding, who was an independent schools state champ last season. Whitenak was ranked No. 1 at 112 pounds at the end of last season, when he defeated state champs Greg Saumenig of Old Mill and Josh Fitch of McDonogh.
103Austin Clouse, Mount St. Joseph, sophomore
112Josh Fitch, McDonogh, sophomore
112Devon Gillett, Hammond, junior
119George Ester, Arundel, senior
125Mitch Fenton, Archbishop Curley, junior
130Pat McMahon, Annapolis Area Christian, senior
135Mike Vakas, Broadneck, senior
140Crit Jennings, Liberty, senior
140Tyler Macleod, North Carroll, senior
145Matt Kahl, Harford Tech, senior
152Taylor Green, River Hill, senior
160Matt Bichner, Glenelg, senior
171 Lew Spadaro, Severna Park, senior
189Brandon Gervie, Liberty, senior
189Stephen Sessa, Hammond, senior
215Joe Green, Archbishop Curley, senior