For the St. Mary’s wrestlers, this match was the one that really mattered.
After losing a close decision to Annapolis on Tuesday, the Saints bounced back on Wednesday to down conference rival Pallotti, 51-30, and remain unbeaten in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference dual meets.
Pallotti (4-1) also entered the match undefeated in the league, but couldn’t repeat last year’s win over the Saints, who this season are the more experienced team.
“This was a big win for us, we really wanted to win tonight. We knew we could beat them if we wrestled the way we have been,” said senior Tom Kerner, who closed the night with a second-period pin of Pallotti’s Cameron Megginson in the 285-pound class.
As has been the case most of the season, the 218-pound Kerner gave away considerable weight to his opponent.
“Most of the guys I’ve wrestled have been much heavier than I am, most are 280 pounds or more,” said Kerner. “So I have become used to it.”
It took Kerner the first period to get to his opponent, but once he did the pin came quickly.
Kerner’s pin was the last of six for the Saints, who also won two matches by forfeit and another by decision. Pallotti won in five classes, four by pin and one by forfeit.
In addition to Kerner, St. Mary’s wrestlers winning by pin were Earl Chambers (113) in 1:13, Patrick Ruland (120) in 41 seconds, Sam Houghton (138) in 1:51, Will Gardner (152) in 46 seconds and Marcus Marshall (170) in 1:20. Sam Weisshaar’s 9-5 decision at 160 pounds was the only match not decided by pin or forfeit.
“The guys really wanted this one tonight. It was far more important to them than the Annapolis match,” St. Mary’s coach Brad Best said. “They wrestled really well and with a lot of emotion. (The loss to Annapolis) left them feeling they could have won, but I stressed to them to put it behind them.”
The Saints (4-0 in MIAA matches) have two league matches remaining.
“We match up pretty well against the other schools still on our schedule,” Best said. “This was the big one.”
Pallotti coach Tom Owens praised his team for wrestling hard, but added his squad lacked experience, despite winning its first three league matches and six of seven overall.
“I am proud of the way the team wrestled. I have a lot of first-year wrestlers,” he said of a lineup with three freshmen and two sophomores.
Newt Davis won by pin at 145 pounds, Blake Corum won by injury default at 182, Michael Morris won by pin at 195 and Maximus Grogans recorded a pin at 220 pounds for the Panthers.
Grogans’ pin was a hard-fought battle against Pasquale DiDonato. The two began the third period in a 2-2 deadlock, but Grogans put a quick move on DiDonato for a pin 14 seconds into the period.