Gaels push five to the finals, grab three championships
by Billy Loverocket
The Mount St. Joseph wrestling team is a battle tested bunch after back-to-back weekends at the Ironman in Ohio and Beast of the East in Delaware. The fruits of that stretch showed up this weekend at their very own Smith Center for the 16th Annual Mount Mat Madness tournament.
St. Joe was able to pull out the tough wins throughout the weekend and end Saturday’s action in front of a packed house with a third straight MMM title, compiling 266.5 points to St. Mary’s-Ryken’s 187. The three champs they posted tied Buford from Georgia for the most in the field.
Coleman Nogle (106, No. 4 in the latest Maryland rankings) dominated his bracket using three first period pins to reach the finals where he planted Yasire Brooks (Belmont Charter, PA), in the second period, 2:53.
“Coming into this tournament I said the previous weeks were going to have nothing to do with what I was going to come to do here,” Nogle said. “Coming out here, planning to win every match. Just like Beast and Ironman but I learned from those losses, fixed the mistakes in the wrestling room, to come out and come on top here.
“I feel good. Every match I step on the line my goals is to pin the guy. That’s what wrestling is. So, going out and getting that done feels pretty good. I feel accomplished. It feels awesome. There’s no better feeling than bringing home the title in the home gym. I wrestled for my team and my coaches. It just feels great coming out on top.”
No. 1 Chris Barnabae (126) secured his third MMM championship plaque with a 7-4 win over Colin Dupill (Liberty, VA). The Lehigh recruit used three first period falls to reach the finals. Barnabae placed at the Ironman but had to skip the Beast of the East due to injury.
“It (the finals match) was a little challenging,” said Barnabae. “When I came on the mat, I wanted to give it my all. I wanted control, to keep an advantage. Later into the match, I started to feel a little tired. (I’m) a little out of shape and that’s not what I’m really looking for.
“I felt good coming back to the mat. I felt there was still a lot I can improve on. A lot that I need to work on. As the year goes on, I will fix everything that needs to be improved on.”
The star of the day for St. Joe was Clement Woods. The junior, who is ranked No.4 in the state at 138, was set to see No.2 Joe Fisk (Spalding). The matchup was so juicy Tournament Director Neil Adleberg chose to have that be the featured match to close the tournament.
Woods was ready for the big stage and came out with his guns blazing, tossing Fisk early in the match, albeit, out of bounds. Fisk ended the first period ahead, 4-2, but that was where the Gael took over. An escape led to a scramble that resulted in a cradle to the back for Woods and the pin at the 2:49 mark of the second period and with it, a second MMM title.
“I came into the tournament the second seed,” Woods added. “I understood because he beat me last year in a dual meet. Honestly, seeds and rankings don’t mean anything. Wrestling like football, can be any given Saturday. That’s how I took the match.
“I won the tournament last year. I couldn’t lose it after winning it. It just doesn’t feel right. My conditioning is way better (this year), as a team the coaches keep pushing us every day. That’s the main thing I worked on during this offseason, my conditioning, because last year, my gas tank wasn’t there. The second title means a lot to me. I like to put emphasis on my team. I couldn’t do it without my coaches, my practice partners, so I want to thank them.”
Finishing as runner-ups for St. Joe were Joe Couch (113) and Nathan Porter (132). Gavin Bage was third at 285. Placing fourth were Jacob Wright (120), Chris Roybal (152), No. 19 Tony Zancan (182), and Parker Warner (195). Bradley David (No. 9 at 170) was fifth at 160 and Matthew Jun (145) was sixth.
“Building a championship program is very important to our coaching staff and the wrestlers,” said St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae. “We are a firm believer that the direction the team travels is directly related to our wrestlers achieving their personal goals. Our wrestlers support one another both on and off the mat. Most of our wrestlers desire to compete at the next level in college. They realize that good grades and hard work will get them there. Its this chemistry that keeps the team close.”
Barnabae feels his team is poised for a big run after some tough early challenges, followed by some time to rest.
“December is such a grind with four consecutive weekends of competition, the Elite Opener in West Virginia, Walsh Jesuit Ironman and the Beast of the East Tournament, followed by Mount Mat Madness,” he said. “So it was enjoyable not to have to travel on the road and have the team focus solely on competing at home. It enabled us to heal some minor bumps and bruises and begin preparation for the remainder of the season.”
Roybal, who is No. 2 in the state rankings, contributed to the worst day of No. 1 Phil Smith’s career. The Owings Mills wrestler suffered his first loss since his freshman year in the state semis in these semifinals on Saturday morning to Dylan Weaver (Lyndhurst, NJ), 20-10. Roybal added another loss to Smith’s record with an 11-6 win in the consolation semis, and with that ascends to the top spot in the state rankings.
St. Mary’s-Ryken’s second place finish was powered by two unexpected finalists, Kaylan Perez (220) and Terrence McCauley (285). Both were unseeded at their weights. McCauley claimed the top spot while Perez couldn’t complete his title run.
Freshman Mason Buckler (106, No.8) lost his first match of the tournament then battled back to take third. No.7 Chris Albo (113) and No.4 Evan Eldridge (126) followed with bronze of their own. Tyriel Jefferson was fifth at 120 and Will Johnson came in sixth at 195 for the Knights.
Archbishop Spalding was seventh with 152 points. Three Cavaliers reached the finals but just No. 1 Brady Pruett (113) walked away as a champion. Pruett downed No. 2 Couch, 5-0, for his fourth win in four career meetings between the sophomores.
“It feels good knowing that all this work we’re putting in is paying off, especially with the team as well, not just myself,” Pruett continued. “Joe, I’ve wrestled him so many times. He’s gonna keep coming back, probably states, MIAA finals. I just focused on upper body. Joe’s really good at Greco. He placed at Fargo. So, I mean he’s a good wrestler.
“This time I wanted to make sure to watch out more for the upper body (stuff). He’s always been real good, but he got significantly better this year. Watching his other matches, he was throwing kids, head-locking them, so I just watched out for that and worked on the stuff I normally work on. (I wanted to) keep him down on bottom and watch out for the Granby.”
Fisk and No. 3 Nick Paolucci (145) were second for Spalding. Paolucci took out St. Joe’s No. 2 Jun, 6-1, in the semifinals, before falling in the finals to Jovon Mitchell (Liberty, VA), 5-3.
No. 5 Dustin Radford (195) was also in upset mode for the Cavaliers as he tripped up another St. Joe foe, No. 3 Warner, 4-1, in the third-place bout. Chase Lusk was fifth at heavyweight, No. 18 Mitch Garretson (152) and Bryce Purnell (220) were seventh.
Owings Mills placed three grapplers upon the podium. During Smith’s loss to Roybal he suffered an injury and forfeited his final match to land in the sixth spot. Super freshman Amondre Wooden showed glimpses of his immense potential this weekend working to the fifth place rung with an 11-6 win over the No. 3 seed Gino Camarca (Fauquier, VA). In the consolation quarters, the unranked Wooden, edged Leonardtown’s state placer No. 9 Brian Bieshelt, 6-5.
No. 7 Alex Dufour (120) showed the mental toughness and fortitude that has led to him being a two-time 2A/1A defending state champ. 120lbs was one of the toughest brackets at MMM, so much so, that despite Dufour’s resume he was only seeded fourth.
Dufour got off to a rough start with No. 5 Wright from St. Joe, the slow start coupled with some smart wrestling from Wright resulted in a 9-0 loss on Friday night. The Eagle gathered himself, endured a few close matches through the consolation journey to end up in the bronze medal match, set to face Wright again. From the start Dufour showed a toughness and aggressiveness that was missing from Friday’s match. Regulation ended in a tie and Dufour put an end to the match with a takedown in the sudden victory frame.
“(I wanted to) come back, push the pace harder and wrestle more aggressive,” said Dufour. “I felt like it was a mistake and I should have been seeded higher, but I just came here to wrestle. I still feel like I was hesitating. I was holding back too much. My teammate lost to a Mt. St. Joe kid, he beat me yesterday, so I just came into the match hungry and wanted to get the win.”
Landon’s No. 3 Lorenzo Lopez registered a mild upset of No. 2 Porter in the 132lb final. Porter beat Lopez 4-2 at the Beast of the East.
Georgetown Prep’s Kyonte Hamilton put a bow on his December with a 17-2 tech-fall of Ryken’s Perez for the 220lb crown. That hardware goes with a first-place award at the Beast of the East and a bronze from the Ironman.
Nick Stonecheck (145) and Blaine Bergey (170) both became two-time champs for Buford. Charlie Darracott (160) was part of a stellar final last year at 152lbs with Centennial’s four-time state champion, Jason Kraisser. Kraisser won that battle 9-5. Darracott returned to the Smith Center in search of the title this year. Not only did he complete that run but did so in such an impressive fashion as to be named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
“It’s exciting to get back to it,” Darracott elaborated. “I’m just excited to be able to compete again. I came back from a surgery on my ACL, so it feels good to be back in the motions of everything. It feels good to come back, wrestle and win this thing. Wish I would have had that competition again with Kraisser but hopefully I’ll see him in college next year. OW is freaking special. It’s an amazing honor.”
St. John’s out of Washington D.C. took home the top honors at 120 (Luke Kowalski) and 160 (Brady Colbert).
Third place Salesianum’s lone champ was at 195lbs where Danny Stradley edged Nasir Dreuitt (William Penn), 3-2, in a battle of Delaware schools.
Other area wrestlers who waded through the madness were Severn’s No. 5 Brad LaBella (3rd at 145), No. 4 Ryan Money (5th at 113), and Quentin Day (7th at 182). Northeast from Anne Arundel County saw heavyweight Damien Devoter place eighth.
A few other MIAA squads peppered the podium as well, Curley’s No. 11 Jeremiah Trotman was fifth at 220 and Ray Smythe was eighth at 126. Gilman had two placers, No. 11 Andy Weinstein (4th at 126) and No. 9 William Bressner (8th at 106). No. 20 Liam Kammar (Calvert Hall) took fifth at 170lbs. St. Mary’s John Carl placed eighth at 220.
Pictured above: Mount St. Joe’s Clement Woods works from the bottom against Archbishop Spalding’s Joe Fisk. Woods won the 138lb final with a pin of Fisk, in 2:49.
Team Scores (Top 10):
1-Mt. St. Joe 266.5
2-St. Mary’s Ryken 187
3-Salesianum (DE) 177
4-Westmont Hilltop (PA) 163
5-Liberty (VA) 160.5
6-Buford (GA) 158.5
8-St. John’s (DC) 116
9-William Penn (DE) 98
10-Fairfax (VA) 91
106Coleman Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) F Yasire Brooks (Belmont Charter), 2:53
113Brady Pruett (Archbishop Spaulding) DEC Joe Couch (Mount Saint Joseph), 5-0
120Luke Kowalski (St Johns) DEC Mason Barrett (Liberty), 4-0
126Chris Barnabae (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Colin Dupill (Liberty), 7-4
132Lorenzo Lopez (Landon) DEC Nathan Porter (Mount Saint Joseph), 3-1
138Clement Woods (Mount Saint Joseph) F Joe Fisk (Archbishop Spaulding), 2:49
145Jovon Mitchell (Liberty) DEC Nick Paolucci (Archbishop Spaulding), 5-3
152Nick Stonecheck (Buford) DEC Dylan Weaver (Lyndhurst), 11-7
160Charlie Darracott (Buford) F Hudson Holbay (Westmont Hilltop), 3:37
170Blaine Bergey (Buford) F Ethan Marcozzi (Bishop McCort), 0:45
182Brady Colbert (St Johns) DEC Royce Hall (Liberty), 10-5
195Danny Stradley (Salesianum) DEC Nasir Dreuitt (William Penn), 3-2
220Kyonte Hamilton (Georgetown Prep) TF Kaylen Perez (St. Mary’s Ryken), 17-2 3:35
285Terrence Mccauley (St. Mary’s Ryken) DEC Max Yonko (Westmont Hilltop), 7-2
Third Place Matches:
106Mason Buckler (St. Mary’s Ryken) F Drew Simpson (Delaware Military Academy), 2:21
113Christopher Albo (St. Mary’s Ryken) DEC Jack Engelmann (Salesianum), 3-2
120Alex Dufour (Owings Mills) DEC Jacob Wright (Mount Saint Joseph), 9-7 SV
126Evan Eldridge (St. Mary’s Ryken) F Anthony Portillo (Fairfax), 1:57
132Blake Jury (St. Mary’s Ryken) DEC Conner Polacek (Westmont Hilltop), 3-2
138Damian Weaver (Lyndhurst) DEC Roy Dunn (Westmont Hilltop), 5-4
145Brad Labella (Severn School) F Finn Eskeland (Leonardtown), 3:57
152Bryan Contreras (Liberty) DEC Christopher Roybal (Mount Saint Joseph), 5-4
160Max Agresti (Salesianum) DEC Caleb Swinson (Liberty), 2-1
170Mauro Pellot (Fairfax) DEC Tim Froelich (Salesianum), 9-3
182Mason Muto (Westmont Hilltop) DEC Tony Zancan (Mount Saint Joseph), 7-5 SV
195Dustin Radford (Archbishop Spaulding) DEC Parker Warner (Mount Saint Joseph), 4-1
220Tommy Heisler (Fauquier) DEC Zach Brady (Middletown), 3-1
285Gavin Bage (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Ryan Adams (Salesianum), 3-2
Fifth Place Matches:
106Chris Gandolfo (Salesianum) DEC Dj Bartly (Fairfax), 10-6
113Ryan Money (Severn School) DEC Matthew Oh (Leonardtown), 8-3
120Tyriel Jefferson (St. Mary’s Ryken) FOR Sean Vosburgh (Leonardtown), 0-0
126Owen Klinger (Salesianum) F Andy Weinstein (Gilman School), 2:39
132Scott Reagan (St Georges Tech) DQ Jt Mccullough (Buford)
138Amondre Wooden (Owings Mills) DEC Gino Camarca (Fauquier), 11-6
145Talen Thompson (Buford) M FOR Mathew Jun (Mount Saint Joseph)
152Noah Korenoski (Westmont Hilltop) FOR Phil Smith jr (Owings Mills), 0-0
160Bradley David (Mount Saint Joseph) M FOR Sean Foster (St Johns)
170Liam Kammar (Calvert Hall) M FOR David Dewald (Fauquier)
182Kole Lichtenfels (Bishop McCort) F Jacob Downing (Buford), 0:23
195Tanner Dluhos (Westmont Hilltop) DEC Will Johnson (St. Mary’s Ryken), 6-1
220Jeremiah Trotman (Archbishop Curley) F Travis Scala (St Johns), 1:52
285Chase Lusk (Archbishop Spaulding) F Vince Green (Middletown), 1:51
Seventh Place Matches:
106Thomas Murray (William Penn) DEC William Bressner (Gilman School), 4-3
113Daniel Sinclair (William Penn) MD Alyssa Mahan (Delaware Military Academy), 13-2
120Tanner Kushner (Westmont Hilltop) DEC Colin Bower (Middletown), 12-8
126Brandon Oh (Leonardtown) DEC Ray Smythe (Archbishop Curley), 9-7 SV
132Tadhg Martinez (St Johns) M FOR Carson Kist (Salesianum)
138Brian Bieshelt (Leonardtown) DEC Zach Fultz (St Johns), 8-2
145Jonathan Carrion (St Georges Tech) M FOR Will Brock (Salesianum)
152Mitch Garretson (Archbishop Spaulding) DEC Eric Dewald (Fauquier), 4-2
160Elliott Lee (Fairfax) F Ahmir Ragsdale (Belmont Charter), 4:23
170Riley Sheng (Middletown) F Myles Mcpartland (Sidwell Friends), 3:26
182Quentin Day (Severn School) DEC Josh Brull (Middletown), 7-3
195Ben Bell (Fauquier) DEC Chad Hoy (Middletown), 6-0
220Bryce Purnell (Archbishop Spaulding) F John Carl (St Marys), 2:52
285Vince Sharp (Fairfax) DEC Damien Devoter (Northeast), 1-0