UPPER MARLBORO —Ka’Ron Lewis didn’t mince words before his match for a Maryland 4A/3A heavyweight title: “Nervous, excited, ready. Beast mode on,” the lumbering junior said.
But after he held on for a thrilling 3-2 decision to win the championship, Lewis said his path to victory ended up being a little different.
“I just kept composure, kept calm,” Lewis said. I’ve been down before by two, three, so I was just looking to maintain composure and I’m just glad I’m the man who came out on top.”
Lewis and opponent Nick Nordhausen (Mount Hebron) started the first period with no points, but Nordhausen was able to get on the board to go up 1-0 in the second. Lewis quickly tied the match at 1 at the beginning of the third, and before long landed a two-point takedown that would hold up in the end, giving him and the Seahawks a thrilling victory.
“I was nervous. First time being here. First time on varsity,” he said. “So it was nerve-wracking, but I’m glad I could make my school proud.”
Lewis is the second straight South River heavyweight to win a state title after Brendan Woody captured the title last year. He is also the third heavyweight from the county to win since 2015, when Drecon Hudson of Annapolis won.
“Yeah, I’m excited for him,” South River coach John Klessinger said. “He works a lot, he did a lot last offseason. He had the luxury of working out with the last state champion all of the last two years. He’s gotten better throughout this season and you know, he’s just a good kid. Keeps working hard. He deserves whatever he gets.”
South River placed three other wrestlers: Isaac Barber (113) took third place with a 5-4 decision, Calvin Brumfield (132) took sixth and Trenton Puccinelli (145) took fifth with a 7-3 decision.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Klessinger said. “I’ve had a lot of years—we’ve had a lot of years—where we get to this tournament and we don’t do as well as we think we should and this surpassed how I thought we’d do. I’m happy I get to coach these guys.”
Meanwhile, Old Mill’s Robbie Fleming took a 7-0 loss in his 152-pound championship bout with John Podsednik (Leonardtown).
“I’m hyped up, even though I took second,” Fleming said. “I’m just glad to be here. I never thought when I came in my freshman year that I would be in the state finals.”
Also placing for the Patriots was Ryheam Tull, who took fourth in the 120-pound weight class.
“With Rhy, I’m just extremely proud of him coming in here, a second-year kid, and taking fourth,” Old Mill coach Jim Grim said. “Kid’s a special athlete, man. He’s a special kid. I’m very proud of him. It was a great ride and I can’t wait to see what he does next year. Robbie, man, what a great four-year career. I’m proud of him and all of his accomplishments, but he’s a better person than a wrestler, and that’s saying a lot. He’s going to be missed.”
Owen Joyce (145) placed fourth and Nick Schardt (126) placed fifth with a 7-6 tiebreaker decision for Broadneck and Northeast’s Kyle Preston (138) placed fifth with a 3-1 decision.