A year ago, the Winters Mill wrestling team won the Class 2A-1A state tournament title. This season the Falcons didn't just repeat, they were perfect — going 32-0, winning the Carroll County and West region titles and capturing their first state dual meet tournament title.
It was an incredible performance, earning Lowe, 46, Wrestling Coach of the Year honors.
While other coaches benefit from junior league programs, Lowe built his team from scratch, identifying some prospects in ninth grade when they took his Spanish classes. Many had never wrestled. Some were English-as-a-second-language students. This year, he also had an influx of recreational program wrestlers — a program Lowe now helps coordinate.
"John finds the means to identify student-athletes and introduces them to a sport," Winters Mill athletic director Stephen Speck said.
Lowe toughened the schedule by addiing Class 4A-3A schools, and he told Speck before the season began that he thought they could win it all. With a group anchored by a few seniors, but composed primarily of juniors and sophomores, they did.
"Everyone was all-in, and every contribution was important to be as successful as we were," said Lowe, who has a 116-32 record at Winters Mill since 2003.
The only thing his No. 2-ranked team didn't get was the area's No. 1 ranking, which went to McDonogh. That gives the Falcons one more goal to accomplish next year.
"We're going to the McDonogh Duals and settle the matter," Lowe said.