Although the disappointment of losing in the 126-pound championship match at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference wrestling tournament was fresh on his mind, McDonogh freshman Quinn Devaney was proud to represent well in his hometown.
“It feels pretty good,” said the Catonsville resident, who competed in the tournament on Frederick Rd. at Mount St. Joseph High.
Devaney also performed for an Eagle squad that captured the MIAA title for the third year in a row.
Devaney lost his championship bout to Mount St. Joseph senior Zeke Salvo, who won his first MIAA crown in his second year at the Irvington school.
Salvo, who transfered from Perry Hall after he won a Class 4A public school state title at Perry Hall, was well aware of Devaney’s ability.
In a dual meet at McDonogh on Jan. 31, Salvo narrowly pulled out a 6-5 victory on a takedown with one second left in the third period.
Both losses were tough, but Devaney said losing in the championship was tougher.
Salvo built a 4-1 lead after two periods and emerged with a 7-1 decision.
Salvo had a gut feeling he would match up with Devaney in the finals.
“I definitely individualized my workouts this week and had a few of my coaches help me dissect that last match,” Salvo said. “My coach really stressed being heavy on the head and I thought I did a good job of that.”
Devaney was well aware of that and hopes he can make adjustments should the duo tangle again this weekend at the Maryland Independent School State Championships at McDonogh.
“He was on my head a lot more and kept me out of position,” said Devaney, who began wrestling at Lansdowne High in its junior league program. “If I get there and wrestle Zeke again, then I definitely have to wrestle my match and get in a better position.”
He certainly wrestled his match in the semifinals when the third-seeded Devaney blanked second-seeded Justin Chenault, of St. Vincent Pallotti, 8-0.
“The Pallotti kid is definitely a good wrestler, but Quinn is a tremendous wrestler,” said Salvo, who will wrestle at Brown University next year. “We both had a tremendous tournament. We wrestled well.”
It was performances like that from Devaney which caught the attention of McDonogh coach Pete Welch even though his team produced five individual champions for the second year in a row.
“As a freshman, he battled some good kids and he wrestled really well,” Welch said. “He wanted it to be a little tighter in the finals, like it was last week, but Zeke’s a good wrestler and he figured some things out with Quinn, so we’ve got to go back to work and figure some things out on our side.”
Salvo’s title was the only one for the second-place Gaels, who finished with 194 points, compared McDonogh’s 245.5.
The Gaels did produce four other finalists in Owen Rill (113) Sam Rowell (160), Dan Hawkins (195) and Shane Lowman (285).
Lowman fell to McDonogh’s Wyatt Cook, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler for scoring the most team points (30).
But Lowman, a Baltimore HIghlands native, did have the satisfaction of avenging a tough loss from last year’s MIAA tournament.
In the semifinals, he defeated Pallotti’s Antonio Santoro, 2-1, in double overtime.
Last year, he lost to Santoro in sudden death after two overtimes.
“I was pretty excited,” Lowman said. “I beat him earlier this season and I felt like I started learning what he likes to do. I felt like I went out there and pushed the pace.”
When Cook pinned him in the first period of the finals, it was the second time in eight days he pinned Lowman.
“He’s a great athlete,” Lowman said. “I just need to improve in the room. He’s not that heavy, so I need to use my weight advantage against him. It’s a lot to improve on.”
Malik Woody (3rd, 120), Shane Orem (3rd, 132), Neil Schuster (6th, 145), Logan Rill (5th, 182) and Alex Barnabae (6th, 220) also placed in the top six for the Gaels.