Gaels crown five champs, Centennial’s Kraisser and Curley’s Laubach win titles

by Billy Loverocket
There was not much drama in the team title race at the 14th annual Mount Mat Madness wrestling tournament hosted by Mount St. Joseph this weekend. The host school ended the first day of competition with a 59-point lead. That lead grew to 114 at the conclusion of Saturday’s semifinal round. When the final whistle blew the Gaels were ahead of runner-up East Fairmont (WV) by 136 points (298-162).
“The month of December is always such a grind, particularly for freshman,” said St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae. “The team competes in the Lake Norman Duals in North Carolina, the Beast of the East Tournament, and then culminates with Mount Mat Madness. MMM, directed by Neil Adleberg, is the most prestigious tournament held in Maryland. I was very pleased with the team’s performance this year.”

Chris Barnabee accepts the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler trophy from tournament director Neil Adleberg.

That performance paced all the teams as the Gaels crowned a tournament high five champions, Chris Barnabae (113), Justin Henry (170), David Schultz (182), Keagan Rill (220) and Isaac Righter (285).
Barnabae’s stellar performance, in which he pinned all five of his opponents, led to him being named the Outstanding Wrestler. The sophomore planted Delaware’s Zach Spence (Salesianum) 26 seconds into the second period of their finals matchup. The pin was the 50th of Barnabae’s short career.
“I think it’s outstanding,” Barnabae said. “It’s kinda surprising. But I did wrestle hard, so I think I deserve it. I wrestled the kids as hard as I could. I don’t believe in any seeding or rankings.”
Henry, who was making his season debut, edged Salesianum’s Logan Montgomery, 5-1 in overtime, to win his first MMM title. Henry defeated Montgomery in last year’s semifinals, 1-0.
“(I just wanted to) shoot that high crotch,” added Henry. “I saw it open the whole match; I just didn’t do it. The first day I felt real good. This is my first tournament back. Today, I didn’t feel too good. I gotta open up more. I let them tie me up and slow me down. I just have to work on moving my feet more. Last year I took second. Freshman year I got fourth. It was good to comeback with the win.”
Schultz won a close bout of his own over Sam Fisher (Fauquier, VA), 8-6, to win the title after being second last year. Schultz built an early lead, then held off a flurry at the end of the match by Fisher.
“I need to get my conditioning up,” Schultz continued. “I need to stay after practice a little longer and work on that. That was my biggest fault. My technique was perfectly fine. I just didn’t have the gas to do it sometimes. It’s always match by match, take it match by match, that’s how I took it.”
Dropping title bouts for St. Joe were Nathan Porter (126), Connor Strong (132) and Austin Stith (195). Clement Woods (120), Seth Fillers (138) and Jonathan Short (160) were fifth. Ethan Stern (145) placed sixth and Zach Phillips (152) was eighth.
East Fairmont’s showing was powered by two champions, Cole Laya (120) and Brock Whorton (126). Laya, a two-time state champion, won an exciting bout, 2-0, over Archbishop Spalding’s PJ Truntich. Whorton, also a two-time state champ, edged the Gaels’ Porter in his finals bout, 5-3.
St. Joseph’s Academy (158 points) took two champs home to Pennsylvania along with the third-place trophy, Amonn Ohl (106) and Caleb Dowling (138).
Spalding ended the first day in fifth place and ended the tournament there as well with 137.5 points. Truntich was the Cavaliers only finalist. Rick Couch (132) and Ryan Garretson (145) were third. Garrett Fisk (152) and Tyler Savage (160) finished fourth. Mitch Garretson (113) was sixth and Dean Laumann (126) was seventh.
Centennial’s Jason Kraisser (145) has a love/hate relationship with MMM. The junior loves the competition, but this is also where he has suffered all four of his career losses. Kraisser was sixth as a freshman and third last year. There would be no losses added to the ledger this year with four falls paving the road to the finals where the title was won with a 4-2 decision over Chase McCollum (Haverford, PA).
“It feels awesome,” Kraisser remarked. “This is my third time here and I came up short both years. Being able to actually win this tournament, it means a lot to me. It shows how far I’ve come since freshman year. I think I wrestled better this year. One thing that kinda stuck out to me is I felt more excited to be here this year. I mean, last year, I was still excited to wrestle, but this year I really wanted to compete. I think I wrestled well. I had a confident attitude, not over confident, but just saying, hey, I’m a competitor, I’m gonna give it my all every match.”
Another first-time champion was Josh Laubach (Archbishop Curley). The senior was seeded third and used that as motivation on his trip to the top of the podium. Laubach downed Spalding’s Fisk in overtime, 6-4, in the semifinals, then picked off top-seeded Josh Paige (Middletown), 3-1, in the finals. Fisk had defeated the No. 2 seed, Matt Mitchler (Mountain View, VA), 9-4, in the quarterfinals.
“I felt great,” Laubach said. “I had a lot of support today. I had teammates and past teammates come out, friends, cousins, my mom and my sister were here. I want to thank my dad, my coaches, everyone that’s ever helped me get this far. I just got to keep up the work and push my conditioning more. I love being the underdog. Underdog me every time I’m gonna come up and get better. I’m good when the pressure’s on. Put that pressure on me and I’m gonna score.”
Middletown was eighth with 104 points. Paige and Sean Hermann (220) were second for the Knights. Noah Grossnickle (132) and Cam Farrow (195) placed seventh.
Fellow Frederick County squad Urbana was ninth (98.5 points). Defending 4A/3A state champion Jake Nielson’s third place finish at 160lbs was the Hawks’ highest placer. Kevin Makosy (195) landed in the fifth spot. Shane Acton (152) and Mason Newton (170) were sixth, Anthony Schifano (285) was seventh.
Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown’s 88.5 points was good for the 11th spot. Alexander Green (3rd, 195), 4A/3A state champion Sean Vosburgh (4th, 120), John Podsednik (152, 5th), Clayton Morris (220, 7th), Garrett Lee (8th, 113), Brian Bieshelt (8th, 126) and Trevor Crowley (160, 8th) were the Raider’s place-winners.
Loyola (13th with 82 points) was the last Maryland team in the top 15. The Dons placed four grapplers. Finishing in fourth place was Josh Aybar (145), taking fifth was Jason Litvak (182), heavyweight Bennett Traurig was sixth, and Taylor Randolph (170) seventh. Gilman had two award winners, Andy Weinstein (106, 7th) and Cage Crites (285, 8th). Calvert Hall and Severn had one placer each, Jarrell Mayo (195, 8th) and Jacob Jarosz (170, 8th).
Only two other Marylanders made it to the podium, Georgetown Prep’s Kyonte Hamilton was third at 182 and Landon’s Axel Giron placed seventh at 120.
The other event titlists were all from Virginia teams, Kyle Budd (132, Fauquier), Christos Avgeros (160, Benedictine Prep), and Chris Vasquez (Mountain View, 195).
Reflecting on his Gaels team Barnabae added.
“Captains, and seniors, David Schultz, Austin Stith, and Keagan Rill provide the leadership for the team and are the cornerstone of this year’s success. All three had extremely tough opponents in the finals and rose to the challenge. One of our surprises this year is our 285 pounder Isaac Righter. A sophomore, who finished fourth at the Beast of the East Tournament last week, pinned three of his four opponents on his way to winning a gold. Isaac has a great work ethic and is eager to learn. I fully expect him to improve as his goal is to win a Maryland state and National Prep title.
“This part of the season sets the tone for the remainder of the season as we attempt to peak for the state and National Prep tournaments. The entire team has been working very hard and improving as we move towards our showdown against the McDonogh School on January 6th.”
Team Scores (top 15):
1-Mount St. Joseph 298
2-East Fairmont, WV 162
3-St. Joseph’s Academy, PA 158
4-Benedictine Prep, VA 150.5
5-Archbishop Spalding 137.5
6-Salesianum, DE 115.5
7-Fauquier, VA 110
8-Middletown 104
9-Urbana 98.5
10-Liberty, VA 89
11-Leonardtown 88.5
12-Mountain View, VA 88
13-Loyola 82
14-Westmont Hilltop, PA 71
15-Brentsville District, VA 67
106 LBS
1st Amonn Ohl (St Josephs Acad) F Brenden Barnes (Benedictine Pre), 5:22
3rd Jake Shaifer (Haverford) DEC Geno Casuccio (East Fairmont H), 5-2
5th Mason Barrett (Liberty) DEC David Bragg (Oscar Smith), 7-3
7th Andy Weinstein (Gilman) DEC Jack Engelmann (Salesianum), 7-5
113 LBS
1st Chris Barnabae (Mt St Joseph) F Zach Spence (Salesianum), 2:26
3rd Blake Whorton (East Fairmont H) DEC Daniel Sennott (Liberty), 9-4
5th Ethan Kauffman (St Josephs Acad) F Mitch Garretson (Archbishop Spal), 3:47
7th Zane Blackburn (Westmont Hillto) DEC Garrett Lee (Leonardtown), 6-4

Chris Barnabee goes for back points in his championship win over Salesianum’s Zach Spence.

120 LBS
1st Cole Laya (East Fairmont H) DEC Paul Truntich (Archbishop Spal), 2-0
3rd Zach Witmer (St Josephs Acad) MD Sean Vosburgh (Leonardtown), 11-2
5th Clement Woods (Mt St Joseph) DEC John Carayiannis (Brentsville Dis), 11-8
7th Axel Giron (Landon) DEC Derrick Christie (Westmont Hillto), 3-1

Spalding’s PJ Truntich (right) could not solve East Fairmont’s Cole Laya in the 120 finale.

126 LBS
1st Brock Whorton (East Fairmont H) DEC Nathan Porter (Mt St Joseph), 5-3
3rd Malachi Duvall (St Josephs Acad) F Dan Rankin (St Georges), 2:30
5th Elijah White (Mountain View) DEC Conner Polacek (Westmont Hillto), 3-2
7th Dean Laumann (Archbishop Spal) DEC Brian Bieshelt (Leonardtown), 4-3

St. Joe’s Nathan Porter came up two points short in his 126 final with East Fairmont’s Brock Whorton.

132 LBS
1st Kyle Budd (Fauquier) DEC Connor Strong (Mt St Joseph), 6-4
3rd Rick Couch (Archbishop Spal) F Lane Flint (East Fairmont H), 2:37
5th Jacob Powers (St Josephs Acad) FOR Josh Yost (Benedictine Pre)
7th Noah Grossnickle (Middletown) F Michael Clymer (Haverford), 4:35

Fauquier’s Kyle Budd (right) edged St. Joe’s Connor Strong to win the 132 MMM crown.

138 LBS
1st Caleb Dowling (St Josephs Acad) DEC Nick Novarnik (St Georges), 3-0
3rd Aidan Rocha (St Johns) DEC Riley Vaughan (Benedictine Pre), 5-2
5th Seth Fillers (Mt St Joseph) F Harry Latch (Salesianum), 4:23
7th Jaden Deristel (CD Hylton) DEC Khaleb Fazenbaker (East Fairmont H), 4-2

St. Joe’s Seth Fellers (top) placed fifth at 138.

145 LBS
1st Jason Kraisser (Centennial) DEC Chase Mccollum (Haverford), 4-2
3rd Ryan Garretson (Archbishop Spal) DEC Josh Aybar (Loyola), 8-4
5th Joe Del gallo (Fauquier) DEC Ethan Stern (Mt St Joseph), 5-1
7th Yuri Smaltz (Brentsville Dis) DEC Odysseus Avgeros (Benedictine Pre), 5-2

After two years of frustration at Mount Mat Madness, Centennial’s Jason Kraisser (left) finally reached the top of the podium, defeating Haverford’s Chase McCollum in the final.

152 LBS
1st Joshua Laubach (Archbish Curley) DEC Josh Paige (Middletown), 3-1
3rd Luke Harasika (Salesianum) DEC Garrett Fisk (Archbishop Spal), 12-6
5th John Podsednik (Leonardtown) DEC Shane Acton (Urbana), 9-3
7th Matt Mitchler (Mountain View) FOR Zach Phillips (Mt St Joseph)

Archbishop Curley’s Josh Laubach (right) relished his role as an underdog, coming from the third seed to win the 152 championship, topping Middletown’s Josh Paige in the final.

160 LBS
1st Christos Avgeros (Benedictine Pre) DEC Jordan Florence (Liberty), 12-6
3rd Jake Nielson (Urbana) F Tyler Savage (Archbishop Spal), 1:58
5th Jonahan Short (Mt St Joseph) DEC Dylan Kincell (East Fairmont H), 4-2 SV
7th Zach Rosenberger (St Josephs Acad) FOR Trevor Crowley (Leonardtown)
170 LBS
1st Justin Henry (Mt St Joseph) DEC Logan Montgomery (Salesianum), 5-1 SV
3rd Nate Kotsko (East Fairmont H) DEC Seamus Selmi (St Johns), 8-4
5th Vinny Devaney (Nitro) MD Mason Newton (Urbana), 12-0
7th Taylor Randolph (Loyola) M FOR Jacob Jarosz (Severn)
182 LBS
1st David Schultz (Mt St Joseph) DEC Sam Fisher (Fauquier), 8-6
3rd Kyonte Hamitlon (Georgetown Prep) DEC Bailey Coates (Benedictine Pre), 11-8
5th Jason Litvak (Loyola) F Nick Lane (William Penn HS), 3:00
7th Brian Storey (Liberty) F Romeo Nathaniel (CD Hylton), 1:49

MSJ’s David Shultz powered his way to a title at 182.

195 LBS
1st Chris Vasquez (Mountain View) DEC Austin Stith (Mt St Joseph), 3-2
3rd Alex Green (Leonardtown) MD Paul Frampton (Nitro), 13-3
5th Kevin Makosy (Urbana) M FOR Franco Camarca (Fauquier)
7th Cam Farrow (Middletown) F Jarrell Mayo (Calvert Hall), 3:58
220 LBS
1st Keegan Rill (Mt St Joseph) F Sean Herrmann (Middletown), 1:52
3rd Tyler Raymond (Fauquier) DEC Danny Stradley (Salesianum), 4-3 TB2
5th Joel Garza (Mountain View) DEC Max Yonko (Westmont Hillto), 3-2
7th Clayton Morris (Leonardtown) F Sahil Ortiz (William Penn HS), 4:18

St. Joe’s Keegan Rill (right) grapples with Middletown’s Sean Mermann during his title match victory at 220.

285 LBS
1st Isaac Righter (Mt St Joseph) F Grant Abernethy (Brentsville Dis), 0:59
3rd Brian Daughtry (Benedictine Pre) DEC Jeremiah Ducre (Oscar Smith), 5-4
5th Stone Summers (Mountain View) FOR Bennet Traurig (Loyola)
7th Anthony Schifano (Urbana) DEC Gage Crites (Gilman), 10-8

The Gaels’ Isaac Rightner readies for championship win at 285, completing St. Joe’s domination of the upper weights. St. Joe had three titles and one second in the final four weight classes.