Mount St. Joseph stays on ti­tle roll

Gaels win third straight tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - VARSITY - By Craig Clary

The venue may have changed, but the re­sult re­mained the same as Mount Saint Joseph won the Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion wrestling tour­na­ment for the third straight year.

Mov­ing the tour­na­ment from Mount St. Joe to Gil­man didn’t faze the Gaels, who placed 10 wrestlers in the cham­pi­onship fi­nals and pro­duced six cham­pi­ons on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Gaels amassed 332 team points, eas­ily out­dis­tanc­ing McDonogh (243), which had five in­di­vid­ual cham­pi­ons.

It was the 31st Le­high Cup won by the Gaels since the tour­na­ment started in 1942.

Loy­ola Blake­field (175), Spald­ing (173) and St. Paul’s (163) rounded out the top five.

St. Paul’s added two in­di­vid­ual ti­tles and Arch­bishop Spald­ing had one crown.

St. Joe’s Chris Barn­abae was the first Gael to jump to the top of the podium as he pinned Loy­ola Blake­field’s Shawn Strand in 3:30.

It was his fourth pin of the tour­na­ment and earned him Most Out­stand­ing Wrestler for the sec­ond year in a row.

“I was just try­ing my best to get points, get on top and work for the pin,” Barn­abae said. “It was still pretty hard, he was go­ing at me, he’ s a re­ally good wrestler.”

Nathan Porter (126 pounds) fol­lowed Barn­abae’s pin with a 4-2 de­ci­sion over Spald­ing’s Paul Trun­tich.

Trail­ing 2-0 late in the sec­ond pe­riod, Porter scooted away for a es­cape with two sec­ond left.

An early es­cape in the third pe­riod and take­down with 54 sec­onds left earned him the win.

Con­nor Strong (145) was the third Gael champ, nip­ping St. Paul’s Max Ham­mond, 2-1.

“I tried to fo­cus on my game plan and I didn’t do a great job of get­ting into my of­fense, but that was one thing I wanted was to get in my of­fense,” said Strong, who fin­ished sec­ond last year.

The ju­nior from Monk­ton has ap­pre­ci­ated the way his team­mates have bonded this sea­son.

“It’s re­ally cool be­ing a part of it, ev­ery day ev­ery­body is in the room putting in time and ev­ery­one on the team re­ally cares for each other, so it’s re­ally like a broth­er­hood, so it’s re­ally spe­cial to be a part of,” Strong said.

St. Joe coach Harry Barn­abae couldn’t agree more.

“They are work­ing to­gether, each one of them, to ex­cel, there are no jeal­ousies be­tween them,” he said. “There is a great chem­istry in the room and the work ethic is con­ta­gious.”

Zach Phillips (160), Justin Henry (182) and Isaac Righter (285) cer­tainly caught the win­ning fever and they were the other Gael champs.

Phillips’ win was the most dra­matic. He trailed St. Paul’s Dy­lan Blau 6-4 with 15 sec­onds left, when the pair was called to the cen­ter of the mat af­ter go­ing out of bounds.

With two sec­onds left in the third pe­riod, Phillips got a take­down.

Two sec­onds into over­time he got an­other take­down for an 8-6 de­ci­sion.

Henry de­ci­sioned McDonogh’s Jack­son Bonitz, 5-1, and Righter pinned Loy­ola’s Ben­nett Trau­rig in 59 sec­onds.

Righter, who lost in the semis last sea­son, used that loss as mo­ti­va­tion.

“It ab­so­lutely was,” said Righter, who spent time work­ing on his moves. “I’ve re­ally been do­ing a lot of shots in prac­tice be­cause I didn’t hit a lot last year, so this year that’s what I’ve been work­ing to­wards, shots, dou­ble legs, just be­com­ing an al­laround wrestler.”

Barn­abae has seen his growth.

“He had a lot of raw abil­ity last year, but now he is im­ple­ment­ing what he was shown last year and he’s do­ing a phe­nom­e­nal job,” he said. “We are real ex­cited about his progress and de­ter­mi­na­tion to do the best he can.”

The four fi­nal­ists for the Gaels in­cluded: Matthew Jun (138), Chris Roy­bal (152), Jonathan Short (170) and Parker Warner (220).

Joe Couch (106), Ja­cob Wright (113), Cle­ment Woods (132) and Ethan Stern (195) all fin­ished third for the Gaels as no St. Joe wrestler placed lower then third.

McDonogh had seven fi­nal­ists and Cooper Flynn (113), Ray Kable (132), Hunter Tra­han (152), Do­minic So­lis (170) and Gar­rett Kappes (220) emerged as champs.

It was the fourth straight MIAA ti­tle for Kable.

Top-seeded se­nior Rick Couch, of Spald­ing, de­feated third-seeded Jun, 6-0, in the 138-pound fi­nals, for his first MIAA crown.

“I felt re­ally com­fort­able, but I knew I had to keep my pace high to keep a grind on him,” Couch said. “I wanted to win this tour­na­ment, I wanted to come here and show up, show out and win.”

He was one of four fi­nal­ists for Spald­ing and the only cham­pion.

Brady Pruett (106) lost to St. Paul’s Nasir Wilkin­son, at 106, by an 8-4 de­ci­sion.

Pruett cut it to 6-4 early in the third pe­riod, but Wilkin­son coun­tered with a take­down with 1:20 left and se­cured the win.

“I saw him shoot more, work harder and that just gave me a wakeup call,” Wilkin­son said.

The other cham­pion for St. Paul’s was Jack Parr, but it wasn’t easy for the se­nior to de­fend his MIAA ti­tle.

He had sev­eral time­outs for a bloody nose, but was lead­ing 4-2 late in the third pe­riod when McDonogh’s Jack Wim­mer tied it on a take­down with one sec­ond left.

Parr ended it in over­time with a take­down 15 sec­onds later. 106: Nasir Wilkin­son (SP) dec. Brady Pruett (AS), 8-4

113: Cooper Flynn (McD) dec. Will Guida (SP), 3-2

120: Chris Barn­abae (MSJ) pin Shawn Strand (L), 3:30

126: Nathan Porter (MSJ) dec. Paul Trun­tich (AS), 4-2

132: Ray Kable (McD) dec. Joe Fisk (AS), 7-2

138: Rick Couch (AS) dec. Matthew Jun (MSJ), 6-0.

145: Con­nor Strong (MSJ) dec. Max Ham­mond (SP), 2-1 152: Hunter Tra­han (McD) dec. Chris Roy­bal (MSJ), 7-4 160: Zach Phillips (MSJ) dec. Dy­lan Blau (SP), 8-6 OT

170: Do­minic So­lis (McD) dec. Jonathan Short (MSJ), 7-3. 182: Justin Henry (MSJ) dec. Jack­son Bonitz (McD), 5-1 195: Jack Parr (SP) dec. Jack Wim­mer (McD), 6-4 OT

220: Gar­rett Kappes (McD) dec. Parker Warner (MSJ), 7-2 285: Isaac Righter (MSJ) pin Ben­nett Trau­rig (L), :59

Mount St. Joe 332, McDonogh 243, Loy­ola 175, Spald­ing 173, St. Paul’s 163, Cur­ley 106.5, John Car­roll 79, Gil­man 75.5, Pal­lotti 44, Friends 38.

JEF­FREY F. BILL/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP PHO­TOS

In the 285-pound cham­pi­onship bout, Mount Saint Joseph’s Isaac Righter pins Loy­ola Blake­field's Ben­nett Trau­rig to cap­ture an MIAA tour­na­ment ti­tle at Gil­man on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Mount Saint Joseph won its third straight MIAA tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship.

In the 113-pound cham­pi­onship bout, McDonogh's Cooper Flynn, back, works his was to a 3-2 de­ci­sion over St. Pauls' Will Guida. McDonogh fin­ished sec­ond as a team.

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