The top four seeds in nine of the 14 weight classes all advanced to the semifinals after the first day of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association wrestling tournament at Mount St. Joseph.
The semifinals, which begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, will feature a team-high 10 grapplers from defending champion and no. 1 McDonogh, who was in second place (93 points) behind leader John Carroll (102).
The Patriots placed eight wrestlers in the semifinals, while third-place Spalding (84) and fourth-place Loyola Blakefield (76.5) put six each in the semifinals.
McDonogh, the defending tournament champion, is gunning for its sixth MIAA crown since 2002.
Five top-seeded Eagles advanced, including TK Megonigal (106), Xavi Ramos (138), Jack Clark (145), Myles Martin (160) and Tyler Patrick (182).
Clark, who pinned both of his opponents, is gunning for his third straight MIAA championship.
Ramos and second-seeded Toby Hague (152), who also advanced to the semifinals, are shooting for their second straight titles.
McDonogh's other semifinaists included Sam Martino (126), Logan Meester (132), Mike Smith (195) and Travis Wood (220).
Nine other top seeds advanced to the semifinals, including two-time champion Jack Mutchnik (126) and defending champion Ryan Friedman (113), both of St. Paul’s; Archbishop Spalding’s Wolfie Bradley (120) and Logan Breitenbach (152); John Carroll’s Scott Strappelli (132); Loyola Blakefield’s Conan Schuster (170); Mount St. Joe’s Dan Hawkins (195), Gilman’s Shane Cockerille (220) and Pallotti’s Antonio Santoro (285).
Loyola’s Schuster and second-seeded David Mohler (138) made history with their two victories on Friday evening.
Mohler became the school’s all-time career win leader with his 140th victory, surpassing 2002 graduate Danny Natterman’s mark of 139.
Schuster tied Natterman’s mark with his 139th triumph.
“David and Conan are both going neck and neck,” Loyola coach Steve Truitt said. “It’s a cool little competition.”
To stay ahead his teammate, Mohler will have to get past Gabe Pastirik, of St. Mary’s, in the semis and possibly top-seeded Ramos, of McDonogh, in the finals.
Mohler lost a 3-2 decision to Ramos during the regular season.
If the seeds hold true at 170, Schuster could be pitted against second-seeded Hunter Rittter, of John Carroll.
The two didn’t face off during the regular season because Schuster was sick.
“Ritter is a tough kid,” Truitt said. “That’s a match we’ve all been hoping for.”
Another highlight match could unfold at 145 between McDonogh’s Clark and John Carroll’s George Weber.
Weber was beaten twice in the finals by Clark in the past two MIAA tournaments.
Loyola also placed fourth seeds Walter Johnson (145) and Jake Nordhausen (182), third-seeded Sam Roberts (220) and fifth-seeded Neil Amaral (195) in the final four.
Boys' Latin's Nick Malinowski (106), a third seed, reached the semifinals along with Gilman's third seed Garrett Pfeifer (170) and fourth seed Jack King (113).
Although host Mount St. Joe had only one top seed (Hawkins), they placed four in the semifinals, including Malik Woody (120), Zeke Salvo (126) and Shane Lowman (285).
In addition to Freidman and Mutchnik, St. Paul's placed Billy Krop (132) in the semifinals.