All 14 Gaels place third or better, including six champions, McDonogh is second with five champs, Loyola places third, John Carroll’s Moccia becomes first female to reach MIAA podium


by Billy Loverocket

This year’s MIAA Conference Tournament lacked the usual flare and drama of previous treks. There was no team race as Mount St. Joseph came into the second day of competition at Gilman on Saturday holding a 31-point lead that grew to 75 before the placement matches. When it was all said and done the Gaels won the title by a whopping 89 points over rival No. 2 McDonogh, 332-243.

The individual matchups played out as expected with no big upsets occurring over the two-day affair, a rare happening for this event. The MIAA tournament is usually filled with craziness and upsets, this year though, the wrestlers decided to follow the script.

The Gaels of Mount St. Joseph were absolutely dominant in winning their third consecutive MIAA Tournament crown.

St. Joe put an exclamation mark on its standing as the state’s top-ranked team with all 14 wrestlers placing third (a feat that may be a first), crowning six champions out of their 10 finalists (both tournament highs).

“Overall I felt the team wrestled well,” St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae said. “There are still some areas in which we can fine tune going into the MIS State Tournament. However, when you have all 14 wrestlers place in the top three of the MIAA you have to be pleased.

“I believe it is very important for our upper classmen to finish on top this year and do the best they can. Today’s accomplishment brings them closer to their primary goal which is to finish #1 in the state, and take our entire team to the National Prep Tournament at Lehigh University in PA. This is what they are focused on.”

At 120, Chris Barnabae (No. 1 in the latest Maryland state rankings by BillyB’s Wrestling World) continued his assault on the record books and fellow competitors, picking up four pins for his second consecutive MIAA championship. The effort earned Barnabae the Outstanding Wrestler award.

The junior, who is ranked 13th in the nation by FloWrestling, stuck Loyola’s No. 4 Shawn Strand in the second period, 3:30. Barnabae’s three other falls were all in the first period.

“Every match I was taking it to the kid,” said Barnabae. “I didn’t give them a break. I guess I deserve it (outstanding wrestler). I’m really thankful for it. Every match I’m looking for the pin, not just scoring points, whether I’m on top, or neutral. I guess I like to wrestle mean, keep my pace up. Be aggressive and not let them score any points.”

No. 1 Nathan Porter squared of with the state’s No. 2 126lber, PJ Truntich (Archbishop Spalding) for the third time in three weeks and put another win on his resume, 4-2. The previous meetings were two weeks ago at the Ocean Lakes Invitational, then last Saturday (the 2nd) in a dual meet.

Junior Connor Strong (No. 1) put his second MIAA title in the books (second last year) with a hard fought, chess match over No. 2 Max Hammond (St. Paul’s), 2-1 at 145. No. 2 Zach Phillips worked overtime for his 160lb title over No. 3 Dylan Blau (St. Paul’s), 8-6, in the sudden death frame.

No. 1 Justin Henry captured his second consecutive MIAA title posting a solid, 5-1, win over McDonogh’s Jackson Bonitz (No. 5). None of heavyweight Isaac Righter’s (No. 2 in MD, No. 9 by Flo nationally) four adversaries made it past the one-minute mark, with all four of his pins coming in 59 seconds or less, including 59 seconds over No. 8 Bennett Traurig (Loyola) in the finals.

Falling short of their dreams of gold were Matthew Jun (138), Chris Roybal (152), Jonathan Short (170) and Parker Warner (220). Getting bronze medals hung from their necks were, Joe Couch (106), Jacob Wright (113), Clement Woods (132) and Ethan Stern (195).

McDonogh’s showing was strong enough to win most tournaments. Unfortunately for them, this one happens to have St. Joe in the field, so the Eagles impressive performance was relegated to a second-place finish.

Cooper Flynn, FloWrestling’s No. 10 113lber, reinforced his standing as Maryland’s top dog at that weight with his fourth win in a row over No. 2 Wil Guida (St. Paul’s), 3-2. Guida’s last win over Flynn was in these finals a year ago.

“Last year, he beat me here,” Flynn continued. “I had a lot of pressure going into the match last year, and all week leading up, I was coming off the win from our league match with a 4-0 win. I just tried to use that to build off of. To come in and have fun. I already knew I could win so I was just trying to build on that lead a little bit more.

“I don’t really look at the record too much. Every match (with him) is going to be a tough match. I have to be ready every match to go out there and compete. I feel like now, we’re wrestling each other so much, we kinda know each other a little bit. It’s just gonna be a battle. You gotta be ready for it every match.”

No. 2 Ray Kable (132) joined the four-timer club with his 7-2 victory over Spalding’s Joe Fisk (No. 5). Kable now turns his sights to that elusive state title. The three-time state runner-up appears to be the favorite for this year’s state superiority according to the recent rankings.

No. 2 Harrison Trahan showed his state ranking was truer to his abilities than his seed (third), taking out the No. 2 seed (Spalding’s Garrett Fisk, No. 3), 4-2, in the semis, then downing St. Joe’s top-seeded Roybal (No. 8), 7-4, in the gold medal match.

“I think it was a great experience for me,” Trahan added. “Especially after being in the finals last year against Ryan Garretson and losing. I worked hard ever since then, all over the summer. Going to Fargo, getting as much experience as I could, and I came back ready for it this year.

“I was pretty disappointed to have the three seed. I knew I was gonna have a tough match in the semis against (Garrett) Fisk. But those tough matches are what I live for. Going up against him was really a different experience for me. I always get really excited before big matches like that. The coaches were telling me to really go at it this weekend because I really didn’t have anything to lose being the three seed.”

No. 2 Dominic Solis (170) won his second title in three tries with a 7-3 win over No. 8 Short (MSJ). Garrett Kappes (No. 1 at 220) defeated another Gael rival, Parker Warner (No. 6), 7-2, for his first MIAA title after being third as a freshman and second as a sophomore.

Claiming silver for McDonogh were Bonitz and Jack Wimmer (195). Cody Williams (285) captured bronze. Sean Scott (138) and Ryan Leventhal (145) were fourth and Mohammed Ndiaye (126) finished in the sixth spot.

No. 10 Loyola’s bright future was on display this weekend as the young Dons finished third in the team race ahead of perennial powers No. 4 Spalding and No. 8 St. Paul’s. Loyola went into the placement round nursing a five-point lead over Spalding for third. That lead shrunk to two, but that was enough to outpoint their long-time nemesis.

The Dons did not crown any champs, in fact they only had two finalists, Stand and Traurig, but their strong showing was built off depth, with nine total placers, seven doing the dirty work in the consolation rounds.

Josh Aybar (138), James Conway (160), and Ian Takas (182) earned bronze for their efforts. Cole Myers was fourth at 126. Placing fifth were Matty Walsh (113) and Jeremiah Aybar (138). Ben Breschi was sixth at 152.

Spalding’s No. 3 Rick Couch won his first MIAA crown on his final attempt. The senior blanked St. Joe’s Jun (No. 8), 6-0, with a strong showing in the 138lb final.

“Winning the title on my last go around felt great,” said Couch. “It feels like all my hard work is finally paying off. I felt great about my performance. I feel like I controlled the pace in every match. Winning by a shutout in my finals match was definitely a statement. I came to this tournament with one thing on my mind and that was to walk out of here with a MIAA title.”

St. Paul’s Nasir Wilkinsen won another one-versus-two battle over Spalding’s Brady Pruett. Wilkinsen was the favorite based off his regular season major-decision, 11-2. Pruett closed that gap, but the Crusader still pocketed the win, 8-4.

No. 2 Jack Parr made the move up to 195lbs for his final postseason plunge. The Maryland recruit put MIAA title number three in the bank with an overtime decision of McDonogh’s No. 3 Wimmer, 6-4.

John Carroll’s Julianne Moccia became the first female wrestler to place at the MIAA Wrestling tournament. Moccia, who won titles at Parkville’s Knightmare Invitational and Franklin’s Warpath Invitaional this year, was fifth at 106.

To reach the podium, Moccia avenged a regular season loss to Gilman’s William Bressner. In the fifth-place bout, she downed Curley’s Bradley Lintz, 11-6. Lintz defeated Loyola’s Jimmy Douglass in the blood round. Moccia is 1-1 with Douglass, losing their last encounter.

“I feel very excited to be the first female to place in a tournament with a 99-year history,” Moccia replied. “I am happy to see girls’ wrestling in Maryland continue to grow. I try and treat every tournament the same and take one match at a time. There are tough competitors in every round. I have been putting a lot of extra work in this year, both at John Carroll and with Kramer Whitelaw at Ground Control. I think the extra work is paying off.”

Isaac Right won the Edward Russell Cup for “most points for his team”. The William Pheil Sportsmanship award went to Loyola.

In a tournament that lacked the usual flare there was still a lot that pleased Harry Barnabae.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint any specific wrestler,” Barnabae remarked. “They all had some great moments. I would have to say that outside of our champions, some matches that come to mind are Mathews Jun’s come from behind victory over a very tough opponent in Sean Scott of McDonogh. Ethan Stern’s OT loss in sudden victory to Jack Wimmer.

“Zach Phillips, coming back from a four-point deficit to gain an OT takedown victory over Dylan Blau of St Paul’s. Freshmen Joe Couch and Jacob Wright’s strong showings to finish third. Nathan Porters ankle pick to a double leg takedown in the semi-finals was one of the most incredible takedowns I have seen in years.”

Pictured above: Mount St. Joseph’s Chris Barnabae works from on top in his 120 finals against Loyola’s Shawn Strand. Barnabae earned a second period fall, his fourth of the event, and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

2019 MIAA Tournament

Team Scores:
1-Mt. St. Joseph 332
2-McDonogh 243
3-Loyola 175
4-Spalding 173
5-St. Paul’s 163
6-Curley 106.5
7-John Carroll 79
8-Gilman 75.5
9-Pallotti 44
10-Friends 38
Tie-Mt. Carmel 30
12-Boys’ Latin
13-Glenelg Country School 24
Tie-St. Mary’s 24
15-Severn 16
16-Gerstell 15

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
106 Nasir Wilkinsen (St. Pauls) DEC Brady Pruett (Archbishop Spal), 8-4
113 Cooper Flynn (McDonogh) DEC Wil Guida (St. Pauls), 3-2
120 Chris Barnabae (Mt St Joseph) F Shawn Strand (Loyola), 3:30
126 Nathan Porter (Mt St Joseph) DEC Paul Truntich (Archbishop Spal), 4-2
132 Ray Kable (McDonogh) DEC Joe Fisk (Archbishop Spal), 7-2
138 Rick Couch (Archbishop Spal) DEC Mathew Jun (Mt St Joseph), 6-0
145 Connor Strong (Mt St Joseph) DEC Max Hammond (St. Pauls), 2-1
152 Harrison Trahan (McDonogh) DEC Chris Roybal (Mt St Joseph), 7-4
160 Zach Phillips (Mt St Joseph) DEC Dylan Blau (St. Pauls), 8-6 SV
170 Dominic Solis (McDonogh) DEC Jonathan Short (Mt St Joseph), 7-3
182 Justin Henry (Mt St Joseph) DEC Jackson Bonitz (McDonogh), 5-1
195 Jack Parr (St. Pauls) DEC Jack Wimmer (McDonogh), 6-4 SV
220 Garrett Kappes (McDonogh) DEC Parker Warner (Mt St Joseph), 7-2
285 Isaac Righter (Mt St Joseph) F Bennett Traurig (Loyola), 0:59

3RD PLACE FINALS
106 Joe Couch (Mt St Joseph) DEC Ryan Money (Severn), 7-1
113 Jacob Wright (Mt St Joseph) DEC Tyler Trout (Mt. Carmel), 1-0
120 Drew Baublitz (Archbishop Spal) DEC Andy Weinstein (Gilman), 2-0 SV
126 Gene Quodala (St. Pauls) MD Cole Myers (Loyola), 8-0
132 Clement Woods (Mt St Joseph) DEC Cole Jones (John Carroll), 4-0
138 Matt Mitrega (John Carroll) DEC Sean Scott (McDonogh), 2-0
145 Josh Aybar (Loyola) MD Ryan Leventhal (McDonogh), 10-2
152 Garrett Fisk (Archbishop Spal) F Tristan Mckneely (Glenelg Country), 3:34
160 James Conway (Loyola) MD Dylan Lewis (Archbishop Spal), 10-2
170 Mikey Neal (Calvert Hall) F Cameron Gibson (John Carroll), 2:43
182 Ian Takas (Loyola) DEC Kevonte Beard (Gilman), 2-1 TB2
195 Ethan Stern (Mt St Joseph) F Tyler Rhodes (St. Vincent Pal), 0:31
220 Mattheus Carroll (Gilman) DEC Mike Vargas (Archbishop Curl), 5-3
285 Cody Williams (McDonogh) F Jeremiah Trotman (Archbishop Curl), 1:11

5TH PLACE FINALS
106 Julianne Moccia (John Carroll) DEC Bradley Lintz (Archbishop Curl), 11-6
113 Matty Walsh (Loyola) MD Cedric Tyson (Boys Latin), 8-0
120 Adrian Triguero (Archbishop Curl) DEC Earl Chambers (St. Marys), 8-1
126 Kenell Washington (Archbishop Curl) DEC Mohammed Ndiaye (McDonogh), 3-1
132 Jeremy Wright (St. Vincent Pal) F Ryan Becker (Archbishop Curl), 1:58
138 Jeremiah Aybar (Loyola) F Marshall Hammond (St. Pauls), 2:35
145 Nick Paolucci (Archbishop Spal) F Rami Tados (Gerstell), 4:37
152 Everette Mcduffie (St. Pauls) MD Ben Breschi (Loyola), 11-3
160 Pace Schwarz (Friends) F William Gardner (St. Marys), 2:30
170 Matt Parker (Archbishop Spal) F Riley Mcclure (Boys Latin), 3:34
182 Declan Budnitz (Friends) DEC Trevor Lintz (Archbishop Curl), 5-2
195 Garrett Butt (Archbishop Curl) F Isaac Lee (Gilman), 1:29
220 Aaron Kafes (Mt. Carmel) F Jylah Bah (Glenelg Country), 2:39
285 Bryce Hare (John Carroll) F Robert Thornburg (St. Vincent Pal), 2:17

Video of all matches (except 170):

106-Wilkinsen vs Pruett

113-Flynnvs Guida

120-Barnabae vs Strand

126-Porter vs Truntich

132-Kable vs Fisk

138-Couch vs Jun

145-Strong vs Hammond

152-Trahan vs Roybal

160-Phillips vs Blau

182-Henry vs Bonitz

195-Parr vs Wimmer

220-Kappes vs Warner

285-Righter vs Traurig