Gaels crown five champs out of nine finalists, McDonogh’s Fedelan named Outstanding Wrestler

by Billy Loverocket

Walking into Gilman’s Finey Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon, as the semifinals of the 2022 MIAA Wrestling Tournament were coming to close, the first thing one may have noticed was Mount St. Joseph’s Gavin Bage putting Loyola’s Luke Randazzo on his back and securing the fall.

This site combined with the steady growth of St. Joe’s lead over the field throughout the early rounds of the tournament could lead to just one conclusion, “No wonder they’re rolling. Harry is working his mojo today.”

It’s happened many times over the years, and it seems like it happened again on Saturday. St. Joe’s Head Honcho, Harry Barnabee, sprinkled some of that Barnabae Magic Dust on his squad while they were warming up in the morning. At every turn, the fortune seemed to favor the boys in purple.

There were a few hiccups, but throughout the day, the Gaels avenged losses and locked down bonus points with reckless abandon. St. Joe (No. 2 in the MSWA team rankings) went hard at the MIAA Tournament at Gilman. Racking up an absurd 302.5 points to bring another title back to Irvington.

“Loyola has a very talented group of wrestlers, along with Spalding and Gilman, so it was expected that the MIAA tournament would be a challenge,” Barnabae said. “I have to give credit to our experienced coaching staff, Matt Hicks, Chris Combs, Shane Lowman, Adam Whitesell and Kevin Johnson. They spend a great deal of time with individual wrestlers to work on areas that need improvement going into an event. I felt confident that if our wrestlers made the adjustments then we would finish strong.”

No. 3 Loyola didn’t lay down by any means, racking up an impressive 240 points (a total that will win most tournaments). As VSN predicted, those two squads were the elite, with the Dons out-pointed third-place Spalding (No. 10) by 60 points, 240-180.

McDonogh senior Richard Fedalen, competing in his first MIAA Tournament, due to earlier injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic, won the 152lbs title, scoring a 15-0 technical fall over Spalding’s Joe Fisk in the finals and earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award.

Bage’s run through the heavyweight bracket exemplified the vibe the Gaels brought to the table. The junior was seeded third, which was appropriate given his losses to Loyola’s second-seeded Luke Randazzo (No. 6) and the top seed No. 5 Bryce Purnell (Spalding) last year. After that semifinal shocker, reversing the pin he suffered in the last encounter, Bage wrestled a smart, strategic match that resulted in his second upset of the day, 4-3, over Purnell.

“It was amazing,” said Bage. “I wrestled Luke already. I lost to him. I just had to put in the work. The last few weeks I’ve been going seven days a week, putting my best effort in to win. It’s sick. I mean, winning is always fun. They were tough wrestlers. All my matches were tough. But to come in as the third seed and beat the two and one, that’s always fun.”

Another Gael who personified their mission today was one of their few seniors, No. 2 Jacob Wright (132). Wright was third here as a freshman and sophomore. The state rankings had McDonogh’s Enzo Bell sitting in the top spot based on a bootleg event last year where Bell edged Wright.

At the seeding meeting, Wright was determined to have the greater body of work and thus was given the No. 1 seed. The veteran proved that move correct, coming out ahead of a low scoring affair that had a lot of action, including one of the wildest scrambles of the finals, where Wright somehow secured a takedown.

“I wanted to just go wrestle my match,” Wright continued. “Last year, I wasn’t really in shape. I think that’s where I got beat. This year, I’m in shape. I’m ready to go. I just felt good. I finally got my name on the wall at St. Joe. I won a spot (in history). I got to get it done next week. Next week is important.”

No. 9 Spencer Toth (220), exacted revenge on No. 8 Alex Fichter (Loyola). A few weeks ago, Fichter won a wild battle between the two of them, 11-8. This edition was more subtle with Toth controlling much of the action, posting a 4-1 win.

“I lost to him the first time because of mistakes on my end,” Toth said. “I work really hard in the room, and it shows on the mat. To be honest, I knew I was going to win before I stepped on the mat. When you’re in a wrestling room with such talented people it rubs off on you. Mt St. Joe has a winning culture, and it shows up now.”

The Gaels other two champs are sophomores, and they got it done in grand style. At 113, No. 1 Carter Nogle smoked Gilman’s No. 4 Zach Glory, 17-2. No. 1 Bryce Phillips put No. 14 Carson Mingo to sleep with six seconds left in the first period, 1:54.

“This was a total team performance and all of our wrestlers placed,” added Barnabae. “I was particularly impressed with our big Boys. Gavin Bage, Spencer Toth, and Bryce Phillips, all added their names to the MSJ Championship Wall and Ashton Knight finished second. All have worked very hard to make improvements throughout the season.

“I was also very impressed with Jacob Wright’s victory over a very tough Enzo Bell. Enzo is quick and has good positioning, It was an exciting match and I’m certain that next week’s state tournament will also be a battle between these two talented wrestlers.”

Rolling out of Gilman with silver medals in hand were No. 14 William Hudson (106), No. 1 Coleman Nogle (120), No. 12 Cameron Cannaday (138), and No. 11 Ashton Knight (195).

“Two of our freshmen finalists continue to improve weekly, Will Hudson and Cameron Cannaday” elaborated Barnabae. “Their future looks very bright. Carter Nogle dominated his weight class at 113, his brother Coleman lost in overtime to Billy DeKraker from McDonogh. Those two have split matches this season so hopefully we shall see Billy next week at the State tournament.”

St. Joe had a single bronze medalist, Nicolas Barnabae (152, No. 5). Placing fourth were Chris Clayton (126), No. 9 Austin Lewis (160), and No. 10 Jesse Rappazzo (170). Colin Krause (No. 20) landed in the sixth spot at 145.

“Wrestle backs and bonus points are what wins tournaments,” Barnabae remarked. “I would like to congratulate our wrestlers that did just that. Nicolas Barnabae finished, Chris Clayton, Austin Lewis, and Jesse Rappazzo, followed by Colin Krause.”

Loyola’s Aybar brothers, Judah (No. 5 at 138) and Jeremiah (No. 3 at 160), came in as the top seeds in their respective weights and handled the family business, with both hauling golds out of the joint. Judah pinned St. Joe’s Cannaday, while Jeremiah won a match of shifting momentums, 15-8, with Spalding’s Drew Salazar (No. 5).

No. 3 Cole Myers was one of the seniors who came into the program four years ago and started the Dons’ climb to the top tiers of the state rankings. On this day, he tasted his own personal glory, even though there was disappointment with the team race outcome. Myers blanked McDonogh’s Noah Onkst (No. 6), 4-0, to claim a crown on his final try.

“The team win didn’t come through, but we’re missing some guys,” Myers added. “We tried though, we had a bunch of guys that placed, and even won, so I’m really happy about that. I think I was pretty solid. It got rough towards the end of the match, but it was a good match all and all. I’m super excited. I’ve never done it before (won MIAAs). I’ve always come up short in the past years that we’ve wrestled so I’m really excited to be able to be at the top of the podium.”

No. 2 Matty Walsh picked up a silver at 145, as did Fichter. Taking third were No. 16 Cayden Farver (106), No. 8 Jimmy Douglas (Loyola), and Randazzo. Landing in the fourth-place position were Logan Kisner (No. 8 at 113), Brandyn Fish (No. 10 at 120), and Dallas Mattheu (No. 17 at 152).

Archbishop Spalding’s Brady Pruett (No. 2) came to deliver the goods in his throwdown with No. 1 Tyson Sherlock (Gilman). Sherlock got the best of Pruett in their dual meet, 1-0.

The senior came out pushing the pace and never relented. It was a Brady Pruett that appeared to rise to a new level. The performance was that intense and impressive. When time expired, dominance was shown to the tune of a 9-2 score.

“I lost to him earlier in the season,” Pruett elaborated. “It was a 1-0 match. I’ve just been thinking about it ever since. I haven’t had the best opportunities this year because of everything going on and tournaments being cancelled. I really haven’t had many good matches to wrestle, so it was exciting to come out here and get a chance to wrestle him again. I know all the hard work I’ve been putting in the room definitely helped out there.”

The updated urgency Pruett displayed was a recent focus.

“Definitely, just in general too,” said Pruett. “Not just specific to him, but just in general, in my matches I tend to let guys get away from me a little bit and I’m not pushing the pace as much as I should. It was something my coaches have been drilling into me in the practice room.

“It feels really good. The works not done. We have states next week. National Preps in two weeks. So, it was good to win that but he’s going to be coming back harder than ever and I have to match that, or even surpass that.”

Teammate Sean Garretson (No. 2 at 106) joined Pruett atop the awards stand after pinning St. Joe’s Hudson in the first period, 1:42. Runner-ups for the Cavaliers were No. 2 Joe Fisk (152), Salazar and Purnell. No. 24 Charlie Gessford earned bronze at 138lbs. Finishing fourth were No. 25 Gordon Griffith (132) and No. 9 Andre Allen (145). No. 24 Dylan Briles was fifth at 113lbs.

The tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler was sadly participating in his first MIAA tournment. As a freshman, McDonogh’s Richard Fedalen placed fifth at 106lbs at the nation’s most prestigious high school tournament, The Walsh Ironman.

Injuries kept him from finishing that’s season and the subsequent year. His junior year was lost to COVID. The year kicked off with the senior back in action at the Ironman, taking second there. After placing fourth at another fierce tournament, The Beast of the East, Fedalen was again befallen by injury.

He battled back though, and made his highly anticipated MIAA tournament debut, which was a rematch of a 5-1 meeting with Spalding’s Fisk at the Beast. Fedalen wasn’t playing around by any means authoring a jaw dropping 15-0 blanking of the highly decorated Cavalier.

“I’m just happy I could end up wrestling in this tournament because I haven’t been able to with injuries and then the COVID year,” Fedalen explained. “I was out for a little bit this year. During that time, I was just thinking about trying to do everything right. Like eating right, sleeping right, so when I could get back, I wouldn’t miss a beat.

“I’m normally not super aggressive right off the whistle, but after getting a feel for him the last time we wrestled I knew if I just kept attacking it would eventually open up. Then once some points open up, then you keep tacking on more points, and then eventually get the pin or tech-fall.”

No. 2 Billy DeKraker indicated he played it close to the vest when he crossed paths with No. 1 Coleman Nogle in their dual meet and fell 1-0. The Eagle switched up his approach here, the result was more points and a 5-3 overtime victory.

“(I was thinking) just wrestle the way I want to wrestle, don’t let the anxiety get the best of me,” said DeKraker. “That was the main thing for me, just going out and wrestling free, try not to be worried. I felt like I gave up too many positions on my feet.

“And I also got to his legs a few times that I could have finished. That’s something I definitely want to improve on. The win feels nice, but I want to build off of it. I don’t want another overtime match. I just want to get better and figure out those positions and just keep working to improve.”

McDonogh’s third champ was No. 5 Gerard Johnson, who stuck St. Joe’s Knight with three seconds left in the second frame, 3:57.

Severn’s Ryan Money is the state’s top ranked 145lber. He fell behind Loyola’s Walsh, 2-0, early on, but used his takedown proficiency to mount a come back and post a 6-4 decision for his crown.

“I think it’s awesome,” Money said. “I put in a lot of work over the last few seasons to basically win. I knew it was going to be tough coming out and wrestling Matty because he’s No. 2. But I knew I could do it.

“I went down early but I really wasn’t worried, though. I know he’s good on his feet, but I knew I was better. If I kept pushing the pace, I knew I was going to get him. That’s my style honestly. That’s how I’ve trained growing up. Just push the pace as hard as I can. I just have a good gas tank, so I push the pace the whole time and work my takedowns.”

For St. Joe, the goal is a fifth straight state championship. Next weekend at Harford Community College will give them a chance to even the score with No. 1 St. Mary’s-Ryken who edged the Gaels for second at the East Coast Catholic Classic in January.

“We get back to work on Monday and focus on making improvements from this weekend’s tournament,” Barnabae said. “Since the start of the season the team’s goal is to win another MIS State Championship. As it stands right now St. Mary’s-Ryken has the edge. We are going to need another weekend of strong performances from all of our wrestlers to finish on top”

Team Scores:
1-Mt. St. Joe 303.5
2-Loyola 240
3-Archbishop Spalding 180
4-Gilman 176.5
5-McDonogh 169
6-Calvert Hall 107
7-Severn 99
8-Boys’ Latin 89
9-Gerstell Academy 47
10-Archbishop Curley 43
11-John Carroll 41
12-St. Mary’s 36.5
13-Friends School of Baltimore 34
14-Our Lady of Mt. Carmel 29
Tie-Pallotti 29
16-St. Paul’s 24
17-Glenelg Country School 6
18-St. John’s Catholic Prep 0

1st Place Match
Sean Garretson (Archbishop Spalding) 22-3, Fr. over William Hudson (Mount Saint Joseph) 17-5, Fr. (Fall 1:42)
3rd Place Match
Cayden Farver (Loyola-Blakefield) 21-10, Fr. over Nicky Melfi (Severn School) 16-3, Fr. (Fall 1:40)
5th Place Match
Colin Moon (Friends of Baltimore) 12-6, So. over Sawyer Enright (Gilman School) 8-7, Fr. (Dec 7-4)

1st Place Match
Carter Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) 37-3, So. over Zach Glory (Gilman School) 11-5, Fr. (TF-1.5 5:48 (17-2))
3rd Place Match
Griffin Stewart (Calvert Hall College) 28-5, Fr. over Logan Kisner (Loyola-Blakefield) 21-10, Jr. (Dec 7-0)
5th Place Match
Dylan Briles (Archbishop Spalding) 9-8, Fr. over Jack Bruffey (Gerstell Academy) 20-5, Fr. (Dec 4-0)

1st Place Match
Billy Dekraker (McDonogh School) 4-0, So. over Coleman Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) 37-4, Jr. (SV-1 5-3)
3rd Place Match
Emmitt Sherlock (Gilman School) 18-4, Fr. over Brandyn Fish (Loyola-Blakefield) 23-8, So. (For.)
5th Place Match
Michael Greenstreet (Severn School) 16-3, So. over Christian Kalb (Archbishop Curley) 17-8, Sr. (Fall 3:54)

1st Place Match
Brady Pruett (Archbishop Spalding) 22-5, Sr. over Tyson Sherlock (Gilman School) 19-2, So. (Dec 9-2)
3rd Place Match
Jimmy Douglas (Loyola-Blakefield) 31-7, Sr. over Christopher Clayton (Mount Saint Joseph) 10-9, Sr. (Fall 0:37)
5th Place Match
Michael Banks (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel) 24-8, Fr. over Glen Roe (Boys` Latin School) 12-10, Jr. (Dec 3-2)

1st Place Match
Jacob Wright (Mount Saint Joseph) 31-5, Sr. over Enzo Bell (McDonogh School) 2-1, Jr. (Dec 4-0)
3rd Place Match
Cedric Tyson (Boys` Latin School) 10-3, Sr. over Gordon Griffith (Archbishop Spalding) 10-7, Fr. (Fall 0:57)
5th Place Match
Matthew Lombardo (Calvert Hall College) 16-10, Jr. over Buck Franklin (Gilman School) 9-11, So. (Dec 2-1)

1st Place Match
Judah Aybar (Loyola-Blakefield) 29-3, So. over Cameron Cannaday (Mount Saint Joseph) 12-4, Fr. (Fall 3:53)
3rd Place Match
Charlie Gessford (Archbishop Spalding) 13-10, So. over Connor Bollinger (McDonogh School) 3-2, Jr. (Dec 5-0)
5th Place Match
Teddy Davies (Boys` Latin School) 15-6, Sr. over William Bressner (Gilman School) 11-8, Sr. (Dec 3-1)

1st Place Match
Ryan Money (Severn School) 20-2, Sr. over Matty Walsh (Loyola-Blakefield) 28-4, Sr. (Dec 6-4)
3rd Place Match
Ian Moccia (John Carroll) 17-2, Jr. over Andre Allen (Archbishop Spalding) 20-6, Sr. (MD 19-5)
5th Place Match
Bradley Lintz (Archbishop Curley) 19-5, Sr. over Colin Krause (Mount Saint Joseph) 13-13, Sr. (TB-1 4-0)

1st Place Match
Richard Fedalen (McDonogh School) 4-0, Sr. over Joe Fisk (Archbishop Spalding) 22-4, Sr. (TF-1.5 4:53 (15-0))
3rd Place Match
Nicolas Barnabae (Mount Saint Joseph) 26-10, Fr. over Dallas Mattheu (Loyola-Blakefield) 22-9, So. (Dec 8-4)
5th Place Match
Landon Bell (Gerstell Academy) 22-4, So. over Dylan Kamenetz (Gilman School) 12-9, Sr. (Dec 7-4)

1st Place Match
Jeremiah Aybar (Loyola-Blakefield) 27-3, Sr. over Drew Salazar (Archbishop Spalding) 13-4, Sr. (Dec 15-8)
3rd Place Match
Gabriel Smith (Gilman School) 8-3, Fr. over Austin Lewis (Mount Saint Joseph) 26-8, So. (Dec 6-1)
5th Place Match
Joel Nagy (Calvert Hall College) 10-8, So. over Andrew White (Saint Paul`s School) 7-4, Sr. (Fall 0:27)

1st Place Match
Cole Myers (Loyola-Blakefield) 25-5, Sr. over Noah Onkst (McDonogh School) 2-1, So. (Dec 4-0)
3rd Place Match
Reid Gills (Severn School) 12-1, So. over Jesse Rappazzo (Mount Saint Joseph) 21-11, So. (Fall 1:47)
5th Place Match
Duncan Kammar (Calvert Hall College) 18-8, Jr. over Jack Nuermberger (Gilman School) 13-11, Sr. (For.)

1st Place Match
Bryce Phillips (Mount Saint Joseph) 37-3, So. over Carson Mingo (Gilman School) 12-8, So. (Fall 1:54)
3rd Place Match
Gavin Proutt (Boys` Latin School) 13-4, Sr. over Matthew Liszewski (Saint Mary`s) 13-5, Sr. (MD 15-5)
5th Place Match
Aiden Shenck (Severn School) 15-7, So. over Hudson Holmes (Friends of Baltimore) 16-4, So. (Dec 7-1)

1st Place Match
Gerard Johnson (McDonogh School) 3-0, Sr. over Ashton Knight (Mount Saint Joseph) 12-4, Sr. (Fall 3:57)
3rd Place Match
Riley McClure (Boys` Latin School) 14-5, Sr. over Matthew Conroy (Calvert Hall College) 16-6, Sr. (Dec 9-4)
5th Place Match
Naji Saleh (Archbishop Curley) 17-7, Sr. over Gary Exum (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel) 18-6, Sr. (Dec 6-2)

1st Place Match
Spencer Toth (Mount Saint Joseph) 14-4, Sr. over Alex Fichter (Loyola-Blakefield) 21-4, Sr. (Dec 4-1)
3rd Place Match
Ben Gunsior (McDonogh School) 4-1, Sr. over George Fritz (John Carroll) 6-9, Jr. (Fall 1:59)
5th Place Match
Brandon Lewis (Archbishop Curley) 17-9, So. over Jack Hayman (Severn School) 7-11, So. (Fall 3:36)

1st Place Match
Gavin Bage (Mount Saint Joseph) 13-2, Jr. over Bryce Purnell (Archbishop Spalding) 10-4, Sr. (Dec 4-3)
3rd Place Match
Luke Randazzo (Loyola-Blakefield) 27-4, Fr. over Maxwell Ohamuo (Calvert Hall College) 21-10, Fr. (Fall 1:22)
5th Place Match
Ahmir Crawley (Gilman School) 12-7, Jr. over RJ Thornburg (St. Vincent Pallotti) 16-7, Sr. (Fall 3:39)

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