Gaels place third; have 10 All-Americans; Righter wins gold; McDonogh and Spalding put five on the podium; St. Paul’s has four placers; Loyola one
by Bill Loverocket
A season of dominance came to a close for Mount St. Joseph Saturday afternoon at the Stabler Arena on the campus of Lehigh University at the 84th National Preps wrestling tournament with a third-place finish.
Yes, the Gaels (ranked 22nd in the nation by FloWrestling) finished well behind superpowers No. 1 Blair Academy (NJ) and No. 2 Wyoming Seminary (PA), but what makes this showing so impressive is St. Joe saw 10 of their fourteen wrestlers achieve All-American status.
“I felt that our team peaked at the right time,” said St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae. “The competition here at the National Preps pits the best prep wrestlers in the country against one another. When you factor in the two top teams in the country, Blair and Sem, then you have one of the top tournaments in the country.
“We are happy to do as well as we did. It’s quite remarkable to place so many of our wrestlers as All-Americans. I am very proud of all of them and I am particularly happy that our seniors, Zach Phillips, Justin Henry, Jonathan Short and Ethan Stern finished strong.”
This, coupled with winning the Maryland private schools state title by over 100 points, puts this Gaels squad in the discussion for the best of coach Harry Barnabae’s tenure.
“I would have to say this is the most accomplished team I have coached since being here at the Mount,” Barnabae continued. “The 2015 through 2018 teams also rank very high, however, this special group of wrestlers accomplished all of the team’s goals and finishing in the top three, behind the #1 and #2 teams in the country just culminated a great ending to our season.
“The credit lies squarely on the dedication and work ethic of the wrestlers and we could not have done it without the commitment of our coaching staff which includes Chris Combs, Brad Mutchnik, Rick Couch and our heavyweight coach Shane Lowman who solely works with Isaac Righter and Parker Warner.”
Righter, who is ranked 10th in the country by Flo, overcame his past demons this year and had a chance to shine on the national stage. In December, Righter brought home a title from the prestigious Beast of the East tournament where he downed No. 5 John Birchmeier (Broad Run, VA) in the finals. Righter could not compete at last year’s prep tournament due to being disqualified at the state tournament.
In his prep heavyweight title bout, Righter (the top seed) squared off with second seeded Rick Weaver (Covenant School, VA). After building a comfortable early lead Righter got into trouble and looked close to being pinned but somehow survived that scare and went on to post a 16-6 major-decision to join St. Joe’s wall of National Prep Champions.
“I feel ecstatic about winning the National Prep title,” Righter said. “The competition was extremely competitive this year. I owe a lot of credit to my coaches for helping me develop and continue to improve throughout the year, especially our heavyweight coaches Shane Lowman and Rick Couch.
“I was extremely thankful to be able to compete this year. I was very disappointed I couldn’t support my team last year, but it feels really good to be able to contribute to our third-place finish this year. It felt great that my hard work paid off at the end of the year. I think it makes a statement and shows how much I have improved since last year. I feel that my growth has been exponential this year and I attribute that to the support of my teammates and my coaches.”
A wrestler who won’t be on that wall of champions but will go down in St. Joe lore is Justin Henry (182). The senior’s fourth place showing marked his fourth appearance on the prep podium, joining the elite club of four-time All-Americans for the Gaels.
“Being a four-time All-American feels great,” Henry added. “In junior league, my McKim coaches would always tell me that I have to work hard to become a four-time All-American and that was just in my head every year. So, coming into the tournament I didn’t feel any pressure because I wanted to just go out there and wrestle my hardest every match.
“Right after my blood round match I was happy but also focused on the next match. But it’s truly a blessing to accomplish one of my goals. All thanks to my coaches and my wrestling brothers from my freshman through senior year for pushing me to be a four-time All-American.”
Chris Barnabae (No. 10 by Flo) came in as the top seed at 120 but couldn’t replicate his magic from the Beast of the East where he beat then No. 1 Trevor Mastrogiovanni (Blair) and No. 8 Lachlan McNeil (Wyoming Seminary). Barnabae would only see McNeil at this affair and fell in the semifinals to the fourth-seeded McNeil, 9-7. The junior battled back to take third and post his third All-American showing with a 3-0 blanking of Chris Kim (Germantown Academy, PA).
Becoming two-time All-Americans for St. Joe were Nathan Porter (6th at 126), Connor Strong (5th at 145), and Zach Phillips (6th at 160). Strong defeated Caden Rogers (Malvern Prep, PA) 3-0 in his fifth-place match. Rogers beat St. Paul’s Max Hammond in the round of 16, 4-2. Hammond downed Strong in last week’s state finals.
Ethan Stern put an exclamation mark on his claim to the title of “Most Improved Wrestler in the State” occupying the fifth spot on the podium at 195lbs. Stern, who was a Baltimore County runner-up at Franklin as a freshman, beat Archbishop Spalding’s Dustin Radford for the fourth time this year, 6-2, in the fifth-place match.
Rounding out St. Joe’s placers were, Joe Couch (5th at 106), Jonathan Short (170, 8th) and Parker Warner (8th at 220).
McDonogh finished seventh with two bronze medalists amongst their five placers. Reaching the third spot were Cooper Flynn (113) and Garrett Kappes (220), for both, it is their second All-American showing. Flynn (ranked 12th by Flo nationally) edged Wyoming Seminary’s Troy Spratley (No. 13), 3-1, in his consolation final.
Kappes (No. 8 nationally) revisited his budding rivalry with Georgetown Prep’s Kyonte Hamilton (No. 19) in his third-place battle, posting his third win in three meetings with Hamilton, 3-0.
Joining those Eagles as two-time Prep All-Americans was Ray Kable (132). Kable, who is fresh off his first state championship last week, landed in the fourth spot here.
Dominic Solis (5th at 170) and Cody Williams (6th at 285) laid their first claims to All-American status this year.
Spalding’s five All-Americans propelled them to a top ten finish (9th). The star of the Cavaliers’ show was state champion Garrett Fisk, who came in as the sixth seed at 152. Fisk authored two upsets on his ride to a third-place finish. In the bronze bout, Fisk dropped the No. 4 seed Alex Whitworth (McCallie, TN), in overtime, 4-2. The senior won his quarterfinal clash with the three seed, Benny Baker (Wyoming Seminary), 5-2.
Garrett’s brother Joe (132) turned the tables on Mason Dubois (St. Christopher’s, VA) in the fifth-place match, winning 4-3. Dubois (the 4th seed) pinned Fisk (5th seed) in the quarters. Fisk’s fellow freshman, Brady Pruett was seventh at 106.
At 138, Rick Couch stood on the prep podium for the second time in his career, earning All-American status with an eighth place showing. The state champ was seventh as a sophomore at 126lbs. Dustin Radford was a first-time placer at 195 (7th).
St. Paul’s finished just outside the top 10 at 11th. The Crusaders had four wrestlers reach All-American status, Jack Parr (2nd at 195), Nasir Wilkinson (4th at 106), Wil Guida (7th at 113), and Dylan Blau (7th at 160). This was Guida’s second time placing here.
For Parr, this was his third-time bringing home hardware. Each year the three-time state champion improved his placing. Fourth as a sophomore, then third last year. This year the goal was a Prep title, Parr reached the final but couldn’t get past the top-seed, Austin Cooley (Wyoming Seminary), falling 3-0.
Loyola’s state runner-up and team captain Shawn Strand was sixth at 120lbs. The four-time state placer was able to add All-American to his legacy on his last trip to Lehigh.
Strand, who was the seventh seed, got surprised in the first round by unseeded Aiden Bowers (Christian Brothers, TN), losing by fall. The Don picked himself up and battled back through the consolation bracket, pinning sixth seeded Jake Shaiffer (Northfield Mount Hermon, MA), then getting revenge on Bowers, 5-2. Bowers would take eighth.
Other Maryland competitors to earn All-American status were Good Counsel’s Avery Miller (6th at 170) and Bullis’ Caleb Tomlin (7th at 220).
St. John’s from Washington D.C. posted three All-Americans, TJ Stewart (3rd at 160), Luke Kowalski (5th at 113), and Chazz Keen (6th at 220). Kowalski, a junior, is now a three-time prep placer.
If you’re wondering why St. Joe’s impressive showing only netted them a third-place finish, the wide disparity in scores can be attributed to Blair’s nine champions out of eleven finalists (12 placers) and Wyoming Seminary placing all 14 wrestlers with six finalists and three champs.
Pictured above: St. Joe’s Isaac Righter (left) and McDonogh’s Cody Williams battling earlier this year. Both achieved All-American status at the 2019 National Preps, with Righter winning the title at 285 and Williams finishing sixth.
Team Scores (Top 11):
1-Blair Academy (NJ) 354
2-Wyoming Seminary (PA) 325
3-Mt. St. Joe 168
4-Malvern Prep (PA) 132.5
5-Baylor (TN) 127
6-St. Christopher’s (VA) 123.5
8-McCallie (TN) 87
10-St. John’s (D.C.) 79.5
11-St. Paul’s 78.5
1st Danny Wask Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Erik Roggie (St. Christopher’s School), 5-3 SV
3rd Nick Fea (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Nasir Wilkinson (Saint Paul`s School For Boys), 3-0
5th Joseph Couch Pasadena, MD (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Jackson Bond (Baylor School), 1-0 UTB
7th Brady Pruett (Archbishop Spalding) F James Harrington (Belmont Hill), 1:31
1st Ryan Miller (Blair Academy) F Dayton Delviscio (Malvern Prep), 1:41
3rd Cooper Flynn (Mcdonogh School) DEC Troy Spratley (Wyoming Seminary), 3-1
5th Nico Provo (Green Farms Academy) DEC Luke Kowalski (St. Johns College Hs), 5-2
7th Will Guida (Saint Paul`s School For Boys) DEC Kelvin Griffin (Brooks School), 2-0
1st Trevor Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy) DEC Lachlan Mcneil (Wyoming Seminary), 5-2
3rd Chris Barnabae (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Chris Kim (Germantown Academy), 3-0
5th Emory Taylor (McCallie School) F Shawn Strand (Loyola-blakefield), 4:10
7th Caleb Campos (Cannon School) F Aiden Bowers (Christian Brothers), 4:52
1st Michael Colaiocco Sparta Township, NJ (Blair Academy) MD Skylar Smith (Liberty Christian School-tx), 14-6
3rd Drew Munch (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Noah Horst (Baylor School), 7-3
5th Chris Perry (Brunswick School) DEC Nathan Porter (Mount Saint Joseph), 4-2 SV
7th Dove Bonjean alpart (Poly Prep) DEC Noah Burstein (Northfield Mount Hermon School), 7-0
1st Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Shayne Vanness Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy), 20-13
3rd Garrison Dendy (Baylor School) F Ray Kable (Mcdonogh School), 2:52
5th Joe Fisk (Archbishop Spalding) DEC Mason Dubois (St. Christopher’s School), 4-3
7th Jose Zamora (Kennedale Fellowship Academy) DEC Jack Wehmeyer (Malvern Prep), 8-3
1st Travis Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy) MD Connor Alexander (St. Christopher’s School), 10-2
3rd Jonathan Miers (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Dalton Harkins (Malvern Prep), 3-1
5th Luca Errico (Brunswick School) DEC Garrett Bowers (Christian Brothers), 6-5
7th Josh Yost (Benedictine College Preparatory) MD Rick Couch (Archbishop Spalding), 11-1
1st Connor Kievman (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Manzona Bryant iv (Western Reserve Academy), 4-2
3rd Cole Mcgill (Pomfret School) DEC Andrew Pace (Baylor School), 9-6
5th Connor Strong (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Caden Rogers (Malvern Prep), 3-0
7th Braeden Baller (Liberty Christian School-tx) FOR Alex Jacobs (St.thomas Catholic), 0-0
1st Nick Incontera Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC David Berkovich (Poly Prep), 3-1
3rd Garrett Fisk (Archbishop Spalding) DEC Alex Whitworth Chattanooga, TN (McCallie School), 4-2 SV
5th Benny Baker (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Hunter Balk (Trinity Christian Academy), 3-1
7th Andrew Connolly Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep) F Zane Cox (Benedictine College Preparatory), 4:30
1st Domonic Mata Poway, CA (Blair Academy) DEC Jake Stefanowicz (Wyoming Seminary), 6-0
3rd Thomas Stewart (St. Johns College Hs) FOR Aiden Hanning (Northfield Mount Hermon School), 0-0
5th Nicholas Feldman (Malvern Prep) DEC Zach Phillips (Mount Saint Joseph), 5-0
7th Dylan Blau (Saint Paul`s School For Boys) DEC Gavin Cagle (Christian Academy Of Knoxville), 3-0
1st Julian Ramirez (Blair Academy) DEC Mason Reiniche (Baylor School), 5-3
3rd Luca Pontone (Belmont Hill) FOR Cole Rees (Wyoming Seminary), 0-0
5th Dominic Solis (Mcdonogh School) MD Avery Miller (Good Counsel), 10-2
7th Rex Collins (Mckinney Christian Academy) DEC Jonathan Short (Mount Saint Joseph), 8-2
1st Jackson Turley (St. Christopher’s School) DEC Peyton Craft (Blair Academy), 8-4
3rd Darrien Roberts (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Justin Henry (Mount Saint Joseph), 8-2
5th Thomas Sell (McCallie School) DEF Connor Duffy (Baylor School), 7-0 3:25
7th Tabor Wanag (Phillips Exeter Academy) DEC Harrison Shapiro (Belmont Hill), 3-2
1st Austin Cooley (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Jack Parr (Saint Paul`s School For Boys), 3-0
3rd Rylan Rogers (Blair Academy) DEC Nicholas Florschutz (Malvern Prep), 7-2
5th Ethan Stern (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Dustin Radford (Archbishop Spalding), 6-2
7th David Harper (Baylor School) DEC Montana Doty (Christian Brothers), 3-0
1st Owen Trephan (Blair Academy) DEC Jake Kaminski (Wyoming Seminary), 3-1
3rd Garrett Kappes (Mcdonogh School) DEC Kyonte Hamilton (Georgetown Prep), 3-0
5th Harrison Fernelius (St. John’s TX) DEF Chaz Keen (St. Johns College Hs), 0-0 0:00
7th Caleb Tomlin (Bullis School) F Parker Warner (Mount Saint Joseph), 4:22
1st Isaac Righter Derwood, MD (Mount Saint Joseph) MD Rick Weaver (Covenant School), 16-6
3rd Mike Leyland (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Liam Dietrich (Trinity Pawling), 5-0
5th Michael Tyle (Peddie School) F Cody Williams (Mcdonogh School), 4:58
7th Roman Lewis (St. John’s TX) DEC Bill Clark (Woodberry Forest), 3-1