The heart of Spalding’s lineup in not just tough, but it is big.
From 103 straight through 145, teams have to scratch their heads conceiving a win against the gauntlet, and challenge proved to be just as tough for the Gaels, who won just once during the stretch in the 49-15 win for the Cavaliers.
The win over Mount St. Joe marked the 33rd time the Cavaliers left a dual meet as the victors, including wins in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and taking a perfect run through the MIAAs for the team’s first every “A” Conference title.
“It is really exciting to go 33-0 and you can’t have any complaints, although we would have liked to seal it against McDonogh,” senior Cole Gallagher said. “We came a long way from freshman year when we took sixth in the states, and we have taken third the past two years, so this year we are going to take first.”
With Michael Still turning the tides of a mere 15-12 lead for the Cavs after six matches, the young lightweight worked for just 55 seconds before pinning his opponent, opening the door for Gallagher to notch a tight, 3-1, decision at 112, for a 12-point lead eight matches into the night.
But the scoring wouldn’t end there for Spalding, with two falls from Matt Pente (119) and Cole Graves (130), split by a Logan Breitenbach major at 125, opening the door for continued Cavalier points.
Graves wasted no time in getting off the mat with his 24-second fall, which was added upon by a Will Switzer fall at 140.
Switzer put on a takedown clinic in his 140-pound bout, notching seven takedowns in the first period and adding two more before decking his opponent in the third period.
But the “match of the night” fell on the final bout of the evening, pairing together UPenn-bound Charlie Lynch of Spalding against Brady Masaro of Mount St. Joe.
The two highly talented wrestlers felt each other out in the early goings of the 145-pound match-up, with Lynch and Massaro tussling in a flurry to end the scoreless first period, but Lynch escape in the second period would put Massaro in desperate need of an escape in the third.
But Lynch’s riding was like Velcro, sticking to Massaro through the final two minute period, giving up one stalling cal but taking down the decision, 1-0.
“Going in I was very confident in my skills, but I knew he was going to be a tough opponent,” Lynch said of Massaro, who looks to wrestle Division I at the Naval Academy or the University of Maryland next year. “He works hard and is a tough opponent.
“A one-point win wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Next time I am going to go out, be far more aggressive and make sure that the difference in the match isn’t a one point score.”
But with the two accomplished wrestlers likely to split high seeds in the MIAAs and MIS, the two will almost undoubtedly see each other two ore times, and perhaps once more in the National Preps.
“Well that’s round one,” Gael coach Paul Tipplett laughed. “They are going to see each other two, maybe three more times, and every match is bound to be a good one.”
Kevin Johnson was the only Gael to earn a win in Spalding’s home stretch, being let up in the third period and fighting off countless takedown attempts to a 1-0 win at 135.
“I thought we competed tonight and went after it,” Tripplett said. “They are a very good team, but I am proud we went after them and didn’t lay down.
“Kevin, we were looking at the tournaments coming up and wanted to see where he wanted to go at 130 or 135. We wanted to get a look an see what he could do against a quality 130-pounder, and it was a close match that he was able to pull out.”
Splitting the first six matches, the bonus points from pinning brothers DJ and KK Smith worked well with Connor Lane’s meet-opening decision at 152 to post a 15-9 lead for the Cavaliers, countering Mount St Joe decisions by Matt Lucas and Tyler Tippett next to a Tyler Rill fall at 160.
“It feels great to win in front of the home crowd,” KK said. “You don’t want to drop your last match at home on senior night, and it just feels great to go out with a win.”
DJ walked an arm-bar and switching to a far-side half to stack his 171-pound fall, while KK, giving up weight to wrestle at 215, used a series of takedowns before decking his opponent, only to see Waddell score a shoestring takedown just as the buzzer sounded for a two-point decision at 285.
The takedown, which ended a 1-1 score late in the third, came so close to the buzzer that the official had to check with the head scorekeeper that the points were awarded before the end of the period.
“Obviously it is the firs time ever for us,” Laidley said. “At the beginning of they year, our goal was not to go 33-0, it was to prepare for national preps. But we started realizing these kids are battlers, and midseason we said we can go 33-0.
“I’m happy everyone is healthy, and now we are going into the MIAAs with a full lineup.”
Winning six of the seven tournaments they have attended, Spalding has outranked every team but Dallastown of Pensylvania in the Battle of the Beach in late 2010. And with the team being enrolled in the upcoming MIAAs, MIS and National Preps, the Cav are hoping to continue the tournament success.
“That was with Cole Gallagher, Brady Gaynor and KK Smith out of the lineup,” Laidley explained about the Dallastown encounter. “I thought we still could have beaten them with a lesser lineup, but we fell just short.
“A year ago, our kids were looking at the top seeds and striving to get there. Now that they are there, they have to stay hungry and not become complacent.”
No. 1 Archbishop Spalding 49, No. 7 Mount St. Joe 15
152- Connor Lane (AS) dec 6-4 Dan Salmon (MSJ) [3-0]
160- Tyler Rill (MSJ) fall 1:40 Collin McHale (AS) [3-6]
171- DJ Smith (AS) fall 2:36 Kyle Berlin (MSJ) [9-6]
189- Matt Lucas (MSJ) dec 9-4 Zach Abey (AS) [9-9]
215- KK Smith (AS) fall 3:11 Keith Waddell (MSJ) [15-9]
285- Tyler Tippett (MSJ) dec 3-1 Malik Johnson (AS) [15-12]
103- Michael Still (AS) fall :55 Sean Jones (MSJ) [21-12]
112- Cole Gallagher (AS) dec 3-1 Stanley Proctor (MSJ) [24-12]
119- Matt Pente (AS) fall 5:35 Cole Mattson (MSJ) [30-12]
125- Logan Breitenbach (AS) maj dec 9-1 Jimmy Klose (MSJ) [34-12]
130- Cole Graves (AS) fall :24 Russell Parrish (MSJ) [40-12]
135- Kevin Johnson (MSJ) dec 1-0 Brady Gaynor (AS) [40-15]
140- Will Switzer (AS) fall 4:54 Jimmy Sarbanes (MSJ) [46-15]
145- Charlie Lynch (AS) dec 1-0 Brady Massaro (MSJ) [49-15]