It is very seldom that the wresting gods bless the mat with truly terrific wrestlers, and even more rare to do so with wrestlers at the same weight and age.
But the gods have placed amongst the MIAA an exciting trilogy between Archbishop Spalding’s Charlie Lynch and Mount St. Joe’s Brady Massaro, which may be making the turn for a fourth head-to-head battle.
Being ranked second and third in the 145-pound weightclass in the 2011 National Preps, Lynch and Massaro are set to do battle in the Lehigh-hosted tournament semifinals, marking the fourth time this year that the two have gone at it.
Let’s breakdown the prior three meetings between the two national caliber wrestlers:
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 (Mount St. Joe at Archbishop Spalding Dual Meet)
With the Cavaliers on the verge of finishing a perfect 33-0 season, the four month path to perfection led to one of Lynch’s biggest opponents of the year, facing Massaro for the first time.
“Going in I was very confident in my skills, but I knew he was going to be a tough opponent,” UPenn-bound 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.
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.
“A one-point win wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Lynch said. “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.”
Gaels’ coach Paul Triplett said it well after the match, stating, “Well that’s round one. They are going to see each other two, maybe three more times, and every match is bound to be a good one.”
Saturday, February 12, 2011 (MIAA Conference Championship Finals at Mount St. Joe)
The second time the two wresters met, there was no need for a feeing out-period, and the two put an end to the first period with a well fought, scoreless flurry.
But the score would not remain with two goose-eggs on the board, and Lynch marked his second victory over Gael wrestler Massaro with a second period reversal, which would end up to be the ruling factor in a 2-0 win.
“There are certain times in the season where you will have guys who aren’t very competitive with you,” Lynch said. “But, with Massaro, it’s not like that. Every time he comes out and battles, so you have to learn every time and gain confidence.”
Two close wins over Massaro seemed to have put a lot of confidence in the Cavalier wrestler’s mind, leading to what happened in the third showdown between the two grapplers.
Saturday, February 19, 2011 (Maryland Independent Schools State Championship Finals)
Scoreless through yet another first period, Lynch found himself with a 1-0 lead over Massaro in the early goings of the 145-pound second period, but that’s when things got wild.
As the two had done twice before, they got into a heated furry, rolling their bodies without regard to mat location, and Lynch was able to catch Massaro on his back just long enough without getting control to earn the second period fall.
“I knew he was going to funk hard, a lot of funks, so it was hard for me to finish a shot,” Lynch said. “I got in on a low single and he went over the top trying to funk, and from there I was able to hoot the leg and catch him on his back.
“I knew Brady was a great wrestler and I had to go out there and really take it to him. I went out there and did just that.”
Lynch’s fall helped the Cavaliers to their first ever MIS State title in the “A” Division, and gave the senior wrestler the award for most falls in the quickest time.
Now a two-time state champion, Lynch pinned five wresters in just nine minutes and fifty two seconds, out-pinning John Carroll’s Mathew Miller, who decked four opponents in five minutes and six seconds, receiving a bye in the tournament’s first round.
“I didn’t like the one and two point decisions and I don’t like matches being that close,” Lynch said. “I have been working all week on my offense, so to be able to stretch that gap and get the pin instead of the close decision is a good feeling.”
“Massaro is a great wrestler, and I know the close wins bothered Charlie and he wanted more,” Spalding coach Mike Laidley said, acknowledging the two prior wins Lynch had over Massaro. “When Will pulled out the win in the way he did, Charlie was fired up. Will ignited it, and Charlie just put the exclamation point on it.”
Saturday, February 26, 2011 (National Preps Championship Semifinals)
In the 2010 National Preps, Lynch and Massaro were at two different weightclasses (140 and 135) and I was Massaro who saw the most success between the two wresters.
Seeded fifth at 140, Massaro upset the fourth seeded wrestler in the quarterfinals, only to lose to the No. 1 seed and eventual National Prep Champ in the semis, dropping him to the consolation bracket.
But there, Massaro went clean through to the finish, ending in a third-pace victory, while fifth seeded Lynch at 135 dropped out of the championship bracket in the quarter finals, and dropped to fifth-place after another loss in the consolation semis.
Both of Lynch’s losses were one-point decisions, losing 5-4 and 7-6 in the quarters and consolation semifinals.
This, however, is 2011, and both wrestlers want nothing more than to claim a National Preps title in their final attempt.
“Of course I am looking to finish first, and if I were to do that, I would be Spalding’s first national champion,” Lynch said. “That’s a title that I definitely want under my belt.
“Last year, I went out and beat a defending state champ, was undefeated and just laid a goose egg. Next weekend, I’m going to give it everything I have. I refuse to go there and take anything but first.”
The National Prep semifinals are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.