Gilman coach Bryn Holmes wasn't sure how effective senior Shane Cockerille would be when he returned to the lineup for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships on Feb. 8.
After all, the Anneslie resident missed six weeks and lost about 20 pounds because of mononucleosis and was finally cleared to practice a week before than the two-day tournament started.
Then Cockerille, the quarterback on the Greyhounds' MIAA A Conference football championship team, played in the International Bowl in Texas on Jan. 30, meaning he didn't rejoin the wrestling team until Feb. 7
Even with all that time off, the University of Maryland football recruit, was on his game by putting on arguably the most impressive performance in the final at Mount St. Joseph.
He dominated St. Vincent Pallotti's Yami Cristobal at 220 pounds, 12-2, for his second consecutive MIAA title.
Before that match, Cockerille recorded three first-period pins, decking Calvert Hall's Chris Stephens, St. Mary's Rex Kiteley and McDonogh's Travis Wood.
"I think what he did was awesome," Holmes said of Cockerille, who spent three days at nearby St. Joseph Medical Center in late December because of the illness. "He had one practice under his belt since he got sick. Then he wrestles in a tournament like this, and he wins it. It's something you don't think can happen. I would say he is 75, 80 percent."
Cockerille was more optimistic than his coach that he would return to his winning ways.
"I was kind of expecting to come back and win another MIAA title," Cockerille said. "And be a four-time conference champ. Twice at DeMatha and twice here at Gilman."
Cockerille transferred to Gilman after his sophomore year at DeMatha, winning two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles. He owns a four-year high school record of 155-27.
Now, Cockerille will be gunning for a Maryland Independent Schools state tournament title at McDonogh on Feb. 16 after finishing fifth last year.
Cockerille (9-0) will be headed into the event brimming with confidence after his showing at the MIAAs. He's also eyeing a strong effort at the National Preps at Lehigh University on Feb. 23.
"I think I am a little bit hungrier this year," Cockerille explained. "It's my last season I will be able to put on my wrestling shoes."
At the MIAA meet, Gilman's Jack King (4th, 113) and teammates Garrett Pfeifer (3rd, 170) and Sheldon Johnson (3rd, 285) and also placed.
Brothers Nick Malinowski (106, 3rd) and Nate Malinowski (6th, 126) and Hunter Cotsoradis (6th, 120) and Evan Dohler (4th, 170) had the best performances for Boys' Latin