Lightweight Wrestler of the Year: Charlie Lynch, Archbishop Spalding

“I am definitely hoping to win nationals this year and go undefeated this year.”

He called it back in early November, and Archbishop Spalding’s Charlie Lynch couldn’t have been more on point. The senior is the inaugural winner of Varsity Sports Network’s Lightweight Wrestler of the Year award.

Lynch, who wrestled at 145 pounds, went 60-0 in his senior season with the Cavaliers, claiming MIAA, Maryland Independent School State and the National Prep titles, all the while leading his team to its first ever team titles at the MIAA, MIS and 33-0 dual-meet season.

“It was a great season,” Lynch said about his and his team’s accomplishments.  “I have been saying since freshman year that I wanted to be a National Prep champion.  I set my goals high, I was able to achieve that, and I am thrilled about how I and the team were able to perform.

I’m going to remember the state championship for the team, the National Prep title for myself… it is all just one big, happy memory.”

Lynch finished his high school career with a 162-17 record, losing just twice since the end of his sophomore season. Those two losses came at the 2010 National Preps.

“It is a major achievement and you can see that we have gotten so much better,” Lynch said of the Spalding program.  “To come into the season ranked number one was great, but to be able to back it up and show everyone we deserve it is even better.”

Headed to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, Lynch looks to enter the Quaker lineup as a 149-pound starter and says he “definitely intends on making some noise.”

“Going into the college level, I will have to get bigger and fine tune some things, but when I get there I fully intent to make an impact,” Lynch said.  “I definitely intend to make some noise.”

MillerHeavyweight Wrestler of the Year: Mathew Miller, John Carroll

While John Carroll’s Mathew Miller described his exit from the high school wrestling scene as “decent,” his conference, state and national championship have made him VSN’s Heavyweight Wrestler of the Year.

“I had a decent run,” Miller said.  “A better run would have been going undefeated this year.  That would have been nice.  

My freshman year I wasn’t really all that great, neither my sophomore, year, but to go undefeated my junior and senior year would have been a great way to go out.”

In his high school career, Miller scored over 200 wins and more than 170 falls in his time on the mat, accruing a 54-4 record in his final season with the Patriots.

Pinning so much in the regular season, it was easy for the MIAA and MIS to rank Miller No. 1 in the 171-pound weight class, as he had already pinned every 171-pounder he met against private school wrestlers, including pinning through the 2011 MIAA Championships and MIS State Tournament.

Miller pinned his way through the 171-pound weightclass at the MIS, with all his falls coming in the first period, including his finals fall in one minute, 27 seconds.

“I think exiting my high school career with a win is great,” said Miller, who pinned through the National Preps semis before decisioning twice for the title.  “It is kind of tough to take in because high school just went by so fast.  I am going to miss high school wrestling and being with my dad, but I am really excited for college.”

Miller pinned his first three National Prep opponents in 1:37, 0:59 and 2:48, before winning the semifinals, 6-2, and the final 5-3. Miller was the runner-up at last year’s event.

Hoping to take his pinning ways to the next level, Miller will attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) in Newport, Rhode Island in the fall, before heading back home to Maryland for his freshman year.

While at NAPS, Miller hopes to secure a slot in the wrestling lineup at 174, and bumping up to 184 pounds when he reaches the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

“I need to start lifting weight, and I have never done that before in my life.”

LaidleyCoach of the Year: Mike Laidley, Archbishop Spalding

Less than a decade ago, the Archbishop Spalding High wrestling team consisted of a mere 12 wrestlers, dodging pillars and rolling up mats after their practices in the school’s cafeteria.

Despite its humble beginnings, the wrestling program at Spalding built itself to win its first MIAA dual-meet season title, MIAA tournament title and Maryland Independent Schools state championship in a 33-0 season, much to the help of VSN’s Coach of the Year, Mike Laidley.

“I am proud of the program and the kids and the family,” Laidley said. “These kids come from all different junior leagues and they just bond, and that what I like to see.”

Laidley’s construction of the wresting program has come a long way from its cafeteria origins, culminating this past winter with six MIAA finalists, three state champions, two National Prep finalists and a national champion. But, in Laidley’s eyes, it’s not just his program.

“I sit back, let the assistant coaches do their job,” Laidley said. “They have the technique and the kids listen to them.”

Under Laidley’s direction, Kavaunte Smith and VSN’s Lightweight Wrester of the Year Charlie Lynch made their way to the National Prep finals, with Lynch going all the way to claim a national title.

Other success stories Mike Still, placing third at states in his first full varsity season; Cole Gallagher placing second in the state despite an ankle injury early in the season; a 43-9 season for Logan Breitenbach and state title for 140-pounder Will Switzer.

Brady Gaynor, Connor Lane, Devauje Smith and Malik Johnson also finished terrific seasons, placing at the MIS for the Cavaliers.