McDonogh tops MSJ for MIAA Wrestling Tournament title

by Lem Satterfield

McDonogh freshman Clayton Gabrielson (132) was one of six Eagles to win individual titles at the MIAA Wrestling Tournament.

McDonogh senior Jack Wimmer had grown weary of one thing over his three previous seasons of wrestling for the Eagles: Losing to Mount St. Joseph.

“For the seniors, we just wanted to beat them,” said Wimmer, a Duke-bound, 195-pound grappler. “We felt that it was time to band together and to get that goal accomplished.”

Wimmer helped the Eagles (279 points) to overcome the runner-up Gaels (254) for the second time in eight days at 2020 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament at Gilman on Feb. 7-8, being among the winners’ six champions and 11 wrestlers who finished within the top four of their weight classes. The Eagles also had the honor of receiving the 100th LeHigh Cup which was initially awarded to the champion of the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) and continued when the MIAA was formed.

Wimmer was joined on the victory podium by seniors Dominic Solis (182), Jackson Bonitz (220) and Garrett Kappes (285), as well as freshman Clayton Gabrielson (132) and junior Cooper Flynn (120).

Freshmen Joel Brown (113) and Connor Bollinger (126) were second, juniors Matthew Lawrence (145) and Harrison Trahan (160), third, and senior Mohammed Ndiaye (138), fourth as the Eagles ended the Gaels’ attempt at a fourth straight league crown with their first since 2016.

The victory follows the previous weekend’s 41-25 dual meet triumph over the Gaels, which ended the program’s quest for a fourth straight crown in that format as well as an 0-4 winless streak for many of the Eagles’ seniors.

A returning state runner-up who had placed third twice and second once at MIAAs, Wimmer pinned twice prior to scoring a 6-1 decision over Mount St. Joseph senior Patrick Warner, whom he defeated, 5-2, in the dual meet.

“To be a part of the team that breaks that MSJ streak is awesome,” said Wimmer of the Gaels, who will pursue their fourth straight Maryland Independent Schools state crown next weekend.

“It’s been the goal for all 14 of us since the end of last season and from the very start of this one, and now, we’ve done it for the second time. But every time it has felt better, so we’re just planning on continuing that for the next couple of weeks.”

MSJ’s Connor Strong with the Edward T. Russell Cup for scoring the most team points in the tournament.

The University of Maryland-bound Solis registered falls in 27, 46 and 55 seconds, the latter against Loyola sophomore Jeremiah Aybar for his third straight MIAA crown as a potential precursor for also capturing his third MIS State tournament title.

Bonitz (12-2) pinned three opponents, including Gilman junior Mattheus Carroll at 3:45 of their title bout, and Kappes (27-2) used a first-period pin and a forfeit to reach the finals, where he planted Archbishop Curley junior Judah Conaway in 77 seconds.

Flynn (37-2) registered respective pins in 33, 80 and 63 seconds before overwhelming Loyola sophomore Matty Walsh, 18-5, in the finals.

“I thought I could get the pin in the finals, but lately, especially in these past few weeks, guys have been a lot more worried about balling up and trying to keep it close than actually wrestling, so in the moment, I realize that, which can make it difficult,” said Flynn.

“Winning my second title was definitely a goal, but I’m trying to transfer this into the ultimate goal, which is a state title next weekend, and then, a National Preps championship. This is the foundation and part of the building block toward obtaining that.”

Gabrielson starched his first couple of opponents in 41 and 13 seconds before scoring his 5-1 championship victory over University of Maryland-bound Nathan Porter (132), the latter of whom has placed second once and third twice at private school states.

Porter fell for the third time to Gabrielson, having lost, 6-4, in an earlier dual meet, and, 4-2, at The Beast Of The East Tournament.

“Last week, my conditioning was there as much as this week, but I really worked on that and this time,” said Gabrielson before referring to a scramble that stretched his third-period lead from 3-1 to 5-1.

“It’s hard to beat someone three times because they can make adjustments. So when he tried to get a double-leg takedown late in the match, I was able to counter and turn it into a takedown of my own.”

The Gaels crowned seniors Matthew Jun (145), Chris Roybal (152) and Connor Strong (160) as well as freshman freshman Coleman Nogle (106), with Strong four pins earning the Edward T. Russell Cup for scoring the most individual team points for his squad.

The Gaels were without Lehigh University-bound senior Chris Barnabae (126), who is suffering from an illness. The son of coach Harry Barnabae, Chris is a defending private schools state champion and three-time finalist whose goal is to win a National Preps Tournament crown after having placed third twice.

A returning MIAA and state runner-up, Jun registered falls in 27- and 60-seconds to reach his semifinal, where his overtime fall avenged a 9-5 dual meet loss to McDonogh junior Matt Lawrence. In the title bout, Jun out-lasted Severn senior Brad LaBella, 14-10, after the latter had advanced on three first-period pins.

Roybal also improved on last year’s runner-up finish, pinning his first three opponents before handling Loyola senior Josh Aybar, 5-1, in their title bout. A third-place finisher at states last year, Roybal’s season includes an earlier 11-5 victory over two-time public schools state champ Phil Smith of Owings Mills.

Strong followed with pins in the second, first, second and second, respectively, the last in 2:26 over Loyola freshman Damon Nelson for his third MIAA crown and to improve to 20-4. A four-time MIAA finalist, Strong will pursue his fourth state finals berth and third crown in that event.

Outstanding Wrestler Joe Fisk of Archbishop Spalding.

Nogle took just 64 seconds to nail down his 26th fall of the year against Gilman sophomore William Bressner, having reached the finals by following pins in 47 and 52 seconds with an 18-2 technical fall.

“I go into every tournament planning to dominate, and to get that done was the goal, so this feels good,” said Nogle, the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler in Billy B’s ratings. “The challenge is to put all of the pressure behind, ignore it and to just put it behind me, which is what I’ve been doing best at.”

Sophomore champions Brady Pruett (113) and Joe Fisk (138) paced fourth place Archbishop Spalding (169.5 points), with Fisk being the recipient of the Charles R. Gamper Outstanding Wrestler Award for his come-from-behind, 6-5 title bout triumph over Mount St. Joseph junior Clement Woods.

Fisk (23-1) was an MIAA and state runner-up last year when he twice defeated Wood, who rebounded to deck Fisk at 2:49 of their title bout of January’s Mount Mat Madness Tournament.

“When I was behind in the match, I knew I had to maintain my composure, set up my shots and go after him. My thoughts after winning that match were that I just pushed through it,” said Fisk, whose semifinal injury default victory followed falls in 34 and 83 seconds.

“I was surprised to get Outstanding Wrestler because there are so many great wrestlers there, but that was the icing on the cake, knowing that all of the coaches thought my performance was maybe the match of the night. But [Woods] is a tough opponent, and I’ll probably see him again.”

Pruett (22-3) was equally dominant before blanking Brown, 5-0, in the finals, having advanced on a pair of pins and an 18-3 technical fall.

“My top three goals this year were to become an MIAA champ, state champ, and, potentially, National Preps champ,” said Pruett, an MIAA and state runner-up last season. “Last year, I lost to the same kid three times, so it felt good to get this win. This was the second time I’ve wrestled [Brown,] and I feel as if I was more dominant, not giving up any points. I was able to control him a lot more in this match.”

Gilman senior Andy Weinstein (126) took advantage Barnabae’s absence as well as that of McDonogh sophomore Richard Fedalen, the latter of whom pinned Weinstein earlier this season.

“I was happy with my wrestling on my feet and the fact that I didn’t give up any points,” said Weinstein, who pinned twice before receiving a semifinal forfeit and then handling Bollinger, 6-0, in their title bout. “Being able to win a title is one thing, but to be able to do it in my home gym makes it really special.”

Injury-plagued senior CJ Polesovsky (170) of John Carroll made his initial MIAA appearance since placing sixth as a freshman, and he made it count. Polesovsky followed a pair of pins with a 6-2 championship decision over Mount St. Joseph senior Anthony Zancan, improving his record on the year to 25-1.

Pictured above: McDonogh’s Cooper Flynn (right) ties up with Loyola’s Matty Walsh in the 120lbs. final, which Flynn took with an 18-5 major decision. (Photos and videos by Billy Loverocket)

Team Scores

1. McDonogh, 279
2. Mount Saint Joseph, 254
3. Loyola Blakefield, 242
4. Archbishop Spalding, 169.5
5. Archbishop Curley, 115.5
6. Gilman, 88
7. John Carroll, 77
8. Calvert Hall, 56
9. Boys’ Latin, 53.5
10. St. Paul’s, 17.

Individual Results & Championship Matches Videos
(Due to technical difficulties, videos are not available for the 106, 152 and 160 championship matches)

1st Place Match
Coleman Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) 34-7, Fr. over William Bressner (Gilman School) 28-7, So. (Fall 1:04)
3rd Place Match
Logan Kisner (Loyola-Blakefield) 19-10, Fr. over Julianne Moccia (John Carroll) 22-9, Jr. (Dec 6-2)
5th Place Match
Dylan Young (Archbishop Curley) 25-11, Fr. over Peter Zejmis (Friends of Baltimore) 18-19, So. (Fall 3:30)

1st Place Match
Brady Pruett (Archbishop Spalding) 22-3, So. over Joel Brown (McDonogh School) 22-7, Fr. (Dec 5-0)
3rd Place Match
Ryan Money (Severn School) 38-7, So. over Jimmy Douglas (Loyola-Blakefield) 19-11, So. (Dec 7-6)
5th Place Match
Greg Mechpaz (Gerstell Academy) 22-7, Jr. over Christian Kalb (Archbishop Curley) 25-14, So. (Dec 2-0)

1st Place Match
Cooper Flynn (McDonogh School) 37-2, Jr. over Matty Walsh (Loyola-Blakefield) 25-5, So. (MD 18-5)
3rd Place Match
Jacob Wright (Mount Saint Joseph) 37-12, So. over Will Gallagher (Saint Paul`s School) 19-11, Sr. (Fall 3:00)
5th Place Match
Cedric Tyson (Boys` Latin School) 12-8, So. over Cristian Rodriguez (Archbishop Spalding) 6-12, Jr. (Dec 3-2)

1st Place Match
Andy Weinstein (Gilman School) 26-10, Sr. over Connor Bollinger (McDonogh School) 3-1, Fr. (Dec 6-0)
3rd Place Match
Duncan Kammar (Calvert Hall College) 31-12, Fr. over Ryan Eby (Loyola-Blakefield) 13-6, Sr. (Dec 6-4)
5th Place Match
Garrett Conelly (Mount Saint Joseph) 1-2, Fr. over Jeremy Wright (St. Vincent Pallotti) 2-2, Sr. (DFF)

1st Place Match
Clayton Gabrielson (McDonogh School) 27-6, Fr. over Nathan Porter (Mount Saint Joseph) 28-7, Sr. (Dec 5-1)
3rd Place Match
Cole Jones (John Carroll) 25-7, Sr. over Drew Baublitz (Archbishop Spalding) 14-10, So. (Dec 1-0)
5th Place Match
Owen Dixon (Loyola-Blakefield) 20-12, Fr. over Earl Chambers (Saint Mary`s) 14-11, Jr. (Dec 8-5)

1st Place Match
Joe Fisk (Archbishop Spalding) 23-1, So. over Clement Woods (Mount Saint Joseph) 30-7, Jr. (Dec 6-5)
3rd Place Match
Kyree Day (Loyola-Blakefield) 4-1, Jr. over Mohammed Ndiaye (McDonogh School) 15-15, Sr. (Dec 2-0)
5th Place Match
Jack Nuermberger (Gilman School) 19-16, So. over Nick Kobrick (Archbishop Curley) 27-9, Sr. (For.)

1st Place Match
Mathew Jun (Mount Saint Joseph) 25-8, Sr. over Brad LaBella (Severn School) 34-6, Sr. (Dec 14-10)
3rd Place Match
Matt Lawrence (McDonogh School) 26-8, Jr. over Cole Myers (Loyola-Blakefield) 24-7, So. (Dec 2-0)
5th Place Match
Matthew Mitrega (John Carroll) 18-9, Sr. over Andre Allen (Archbishop Spalding) 8-6, So. (Dec 7-0)

1st Place Match
Chris Roybal (Mount Saint Joseph) 31-6, Sr. over Josh Aybar (Loyola-Blakefield) 27-5, Sr. (Dec 5-1)
3rd Place Match
Mitch Garretson (Archbishop Spalding) 24-10, Sr. over Rami Tadros (Gerstell Academy) 21-4, Sr. (Dec 11-10)
5th Place Match
William Riley (Archbishop Curley) 31-9, Sr. over Tripp Stone (McDonogh School) 13-19, So. (SV-1 11-9)

1st Place Match
Connor Strong (Mount Saint Joseph) 20-4, Sr. over Damon Nelson (Loyola-Blakefield) 19-6, Fr. (Fall 2:26)
3rd Place Match
Harrison Trahan (McDonogh School) 29-6, Jr. over Drew Salazar (Archbishop Spalding) 6-6, So. (Fall 3:48)
5th Place Match
Rocco Ruppert (Gerstell Academy) 19-8, So. over Gavin Proutt (Boys` Latin School) 18-18, So. (Fall 2:21)

1st Place Match
CJ Polesovsky (John Carroll) 25-1, Sr. over Anthony Zancan (Mount Saint Joseph) 23-11, Sr. (Dec 6-2)
3rd Place Match
James Conway (Loyola-Blakefield) 27-6, Jr. over Liam Kammar (Calvert Hall College) 35-10, Jr. (Dec 5-4)
5th Place Match
Riley McClure (Boys` Latin School) 20-13, So. over Grant Abbott (Gerstell Academy) 19-8, Sr. (Fall 2:32)

1st Place Match
Dominic Solis (McDonogh School) 34-6, Sr. over Jeremiah Aybar (Loyola-Blakefield) 22-6, So. (Fall 0:55)
3rd Place Match
Trevor Lintz (Archbishop Curley) 30-11, Sr. over Matt Parker (Archbishop Spalding) 20-13, Sr. (Dec 6-5)
5th Place Match
Quentin Day (Severn School) 37-9, Jr. over Declan Budnitz (Friends of Baltimore) 10-4, Sr. (MD 14-2)

1st Place Match
Jack Wimmer (McDonogh School) 33-5, Sr. over Parker Warner (Mount Saint Joseph) 30-11, Sr. (Dec 6-1)
3rd Place Match
Dustin Radford (Archbishop Spalding) 24-7, Sr. over Robbie Franklin (Loyola-Blakefield) 9-9, Sr. (MD 9-1)
5th Place Match
Sam Koyfman (Gerstell Academy) 16-10, Sr. over Matthew Stroh (Calvert Hall College) 9-19, Jr. (TF-1.5 5:00 (20-3)

1st Place Match
Jackson Bonitz (McDonogh School) 12-2, Sr. over Mattheus Carroll (Gilman School) 21-7, Jr. (Fall 3:45)
3rd Place Match
Jeremiah Trotman (Archbishop Curley) 35-8, Sr. over Jylah Bah (Glenelg Country School) 30-6, Jr. (Fall 2:48)
5th Place Match
Bailey Brunner (Loyola-Blakefield) 16-8, Sr. over Brandon Avila (Archbishop Spalding) 6-7, So. (Dec 1-0)

1st Place Match
Garrett P. Kappes (McDonogh School) 27-2, Sr. over Judah Conaway (Archbishop Curley) 22-14, Jr. (Fall 1:17)
3rd Place Match
Gavin Bage (Mount Saint Joseph) 15-6, Fr. over Robert Thornburg (St. Vincent Pallotti) 2-2, So. (Fall 0:55)
5th Place Match
Brody Brunner (Loyola-Blakefield) 8-11, Fr. over Xander O`Malley (Boys` Latin School) 11-11, Jr. (For.)