Talent and depth proved to be the difference for the Mount Saint Joseph wrestling teams as they captured the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament team championship.
The host Gaels crowned three champions, after putting nine wrestlers in the finals and 14 in the semifinals, and they finished with 286 points.
Second-place McDonogh (273) also produced three champions and third-place St. Paul’s (243.5) captured six titles.
“We’ve got a lot more to do,” Mount St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae said. “We still have the state tournament next weekend and we are not finished yet.”
Freshman Connor Strong (113 pounds) won his first MIAA title and seniors Shawn Orem (132) and Cornelius Schuster (160) won their second straight for the Gaels.
“They did an outstanding job,” Barnabae said.
Orem defeated McDonogh’s Caden Moreno, 7-5, on a takedown with 28 seconds left in overtime.
“I knew he was going to try and come after me pretty hard and can I keep my ground and keep my edge and keep wrestling,” Orem said. “In the end, we are all wrestling for the team.”
Schuster earned an escape in the second period and held on for a 1-0 victory over McDonogh’s Dominic Solis.
“I didn’t expect it to be that tight,” Schuster confessed. “I know he’s a really strong kid. I had majored [decision] him two times before, so I’m not incredibly happy with my performance, but I pulled it out.”
“Neil [Cornelius] wrestled him very well,” Barnabae said. “He’s never happy with his performance, but he has to be proud of the way he’s wrestled the entire season.”
Other finalists for the Gaels included Chris Barnabae (106), Nathan Porter (126), Justin Henry (170), David Schultz (182), Austin Stith (195) and Keagan Rill (220).
Matthew Jun (fourth, 120), Seth Fillers (fifth, 138), Chris Roybal (fourth, 145), Zach Phillips (third, 152) and Paul Warner (fourth, 285) also scored for the Gaels.
Having 14 in the semifinals impressed Barnabae the most.
“That is unbelievable,” he said.
McDonogh’s Quinn Devaney, a Catonsville resident, made his final homecoming a success as he captured a third straight MIAA championship.
Devaney, who will wrestle at the University of Maryland next year, won a 12-1 major decision over Dylan Blau, of St. Paul’s.
“I was just basically trying to dominate kids,” said Devaney, who had pins in his first three matches. “I’m just to get to my stuff, my offense. I’m not trying to think about what they want to do, I trying to think about what am I going to do and be able to execute that.”
His last visit down Frederick Rd. was a victory, but his season is not over as he prepares for the upcoming Maryland State Independent School and National Prep tournaments.
“It’s always great to come to MSJ and do what I’ve been doing,” Devaney said. “I want to win both of those. I think I’m definitely capable of doing both. I think it’s a matter of me doing what I need to do in order to be a state champ and a National Prep champ.”
Joining him at the top of the podium from McDonogh were teammates Ray Kable (126) and P.J. Mustipher (285).
Kurt McHenry (106) was the first of six champions for St. Paul’s.
He defeated Barnabae, 12-5, to stay undefeated (50-0).
“I forced him to shoot and every time I forced him to shoot I scored and every time I attacked I scored,” McHenry said. “I had to limit my offense a little bit because I tore my meniscus so it was a little tougher on me.”
St. Paul’s coach Rob Eiter has been impressed with the sophomore 106-pounder.
“I’ve been wrestling for 30-some years and coaching for 20-some years and his feel for the sport is unbelievable,” Eiter said. “He just has that edge to him that he will do whatever it takes to win. I tried to calm him down a little bit.”
Imran Heard (138), Dale Tiongson (170), Jack Parr (182), Noah Kalishman (195) and John Urban (220) also won titles for the Crusaders.
Urban defeated St. Joe’s Keagan Rill, 3-1 in overtime, for the second year in a row.
The Crusaders were without three-time MIAA tournament champion Daniel Planta, who ruptured a bursa sac and had an infection two weeks ago.
Planta, who will wrestle at Penn University next year, was first at 126 pounds in the Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings.
“The way that our guys responded with the loss of Daniel was very special,” Eiter said.
Archbishop Spalding’s Paul Truntich (120) was the only finalist who won with a pin as he decked McDonogh’s Ryan Leventhal in 1:46.
A year after having surgery for a torn meniscus and not placing in the MIAA tournament, Loyola Blakefield’s Dominick Reyes won the title at 152 pounds with a 7-5 decision over Archbishop Curley’s Josh Laubach.
Reyes, who lost to Raubach in overtime last week, broke a 5-5 tie with a reversal with 24 seconds left in the third period.
“It feels awesome to get a little revenge and win in the finals,” Reyes said.
Team (top 10)
MSJ 286, McD 273, SP 243.5, AS 162, Loy 129, Gil 109, AC 90.5, JC 79, Sev 59, SM 47.
106-McHenry (SP) dec. Barnabae (MSJ), 12-5
113-Strong (MSJ) dec. Scott (McD), 7-2
120-Truntich (AS) fall Leventhal (McD), 1:46
126-Kable (McD) dec. Porter (MSJ), 5-3.
132-Orem (MSJ) dec. Mareno (McD), 7-5 OT
138-Heard (SP) dec. Gorvett (McD), 12-5
145-Devaney (McD) maj. dec. Blau (SP), 12-1
152-Reyes (Loy) dec. Laubach (AC), 7-5
160-Schuster (MSJ) dec. Solis (McD), 1-0
170-Tiongson (SP) maj. dec. Henry (MSJ), 19-5
182-Parr (SP) dec. Schultz (MSJ), 6-2
195-Kalishman (SP) maj. dec. Stith (MSJ), 9-0
220-Urban (SP) dec. Rill (MSJ), 3-1 OT
285-Mustipher (McD) dec Shaffer (AC), 3-1 OT