These twin wrestlers motivate each other through friendship

The symbiotic nature of the relationship between Franklin's senior Mays twins, Sam and Luke, is in sharp contrast to those of some of Maryland's most successful sibling grapplers.

The Lynch twins of Annapolis, 1990 state champs Brian and Kevin, "couldn't practice together very long or ride in the same car without fighting," said retired coach Dave Gehrdes, who has coached three sets of twins over 23 seasons.


Northeast's three-time champion Kusick twins are another example. As sophomores, after Marty beat DeMatha's Todd Beckerman, 8-7 - Beckerman's only loss in a career replete with four National Preps titles - Mike was inches from Marty's face, screaming "you were terrible."

But the Mays brothers are different, having shared the same bedroom since they were in the same crib and having "never drawn a line in the sand, daring the other one to cross it," said their mother. The second oldest of nine children born to Steve and Margaret Mays, "They've been best friends since they could crawl," Margaret said.


Luke competes at 160 pounds, Sam at 171. Each loves classic rock, steak and lifting weights. Each can bench press 300 pounds. Each is ranked No. 1 in his weight class.

"You don't have the rivalry seen with other siblings. They go hard in practice, but care about each other," said Franklin coach Scott Delpo.

"It's easy to get along with someone who is just like you. I get along with Sam better than anyone," said Luke, who, with his brother, helped Franklin win the 2A-1A tournament crown in their sophomore seasons. Fraternal twins by definition, "we're identical in almost every way," said Luke.

But the brothers haven't celebrated winning individual state titles during the same season. Should that happen at the 4A-3A state tournament, today and tomorrow at Western Maryland College, they would become Maryland's fourth set of twins, and eighth set of brothers, to do so.

The Beall twins of Paint Branch, Darrell (155) and Dave (167), first turned the trick in 1983, followed by Sherwood's non-twins, Mike and Bobby Truby, in 1984 and '85.

"Luke never has won a state title. It would be great to see them both do it this year," said Margaret Mays.

Luke, younger by 17 minutes, is 126-12 in his career and has finished second and third at states. This season, he is 33-1 with 25 pins, and won his third Baltimore County and regional crowns. Sam is 85-8 in his career and 31-1 this season, with a state title and two county and two region crowns. Both wrestlers lost decisions to Delaware state runners-up this season.

Jeff Edilstein, now a 174-pound freshman at New York's Ithaca College, lost 10-2 to Sam, and 6-4 to Luke as a Blair High wrestler last season. "They're both strong, both take good shots. If they grab hold of you, it's hard to get away," said Edilstein, who was third at states.


Accustomed to rooting for one another, the brothers had to wrestle simultaneously due to time constraints at last weekend's regionals. "I was worried more about Luke's match than mine," said Sam Mays. Bobby Truby, 32, now a first-year assistant at River Hill, watched their regional and knew how Sam felt.

"Watching your brother, you're leaning into his every move, trying to help him. I hear twins have an even deeper connection," said Truby, who twice earned NCAA All-American honors at Penn State. "Normally, you feed off your teammates, but with your blood, the connection's more intensified. When he loses, you lose."

State wrestling

What: Class 4A-3A, 2A-1A state tournaments

When: Today, tomorrow

Where: Western Maryland College, Gill Center


Directions: From I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) take I-795 West. Follow exit sign for Westminster (Rt. 140). Continue into Westminster. Turn left at Center Street across from mall. Take right on Main Street. Bear right onto West Main Street. Take second entrance into campus (near athletic fields).

Sessions: Today - preliminaries, 2:30-6:30; quarterfinals, 7:30-10; Tomorrow - consolation preliminaries, 10-noon; championship semifinals, consolation quarterfinals; noon-2:30; consolation semifinals, 2:30 to 3:30; fifth/sixth-place, consolation finals, championship finals (simultaneously on six mats), 5.

Admission: All-session pass is $15. Individual-session tickets are $5.