St. Vincent Pallotti's Chris Halkos wants to become an All-American and will accomplish that lofty goal if he places among the top-eight performers in the National Preps on Feb. 25 at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
The 113-pound senior standout finished one spot away from reaching All-American status last year, and figures his chances for success at National Preps are greater this winter.
Halkos boasts a 41-3 record and has won two tournaments, including the Battle By the Bay in St. Michael's and Battle at the Base in Fort Meade.
Two other postseason events Halkos is entering will serve as an excellent tuneup for National Preps.
Halkos will be gunning for top honors in the Maryland Independent Schools State Tournament at McDonogh School in Owings Mills on Feb. 18 after placing second in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament at Mount St. Joseph on Feb. 11.
Halkos, the top seed, scored a 13-3 decision over Boys' Latin's Hunter Cotsoradis in a quarterfinal, pinned Gilman's Jack King in a semifinal in 3:52 before losing to Archbishop Curley's Corey Huntley in the final, 4-1.
Huntley took a 2-0 with 1:16 remaining in the first period on a takedown. Halkos made it 2-1 on an escape late in the period.
Huntley finished the scoring on a reversal late in the second period.
"I think he can beat that kid," Pallotti coach Tom Owens said, noting Halkos has a career 112-9 record. "He didn't wrestle his match. He wasn't on the offensive with takedowns. He was on the defensive pretty much the whole match."
Halkos and Huntley could meet again in the championship of the Independent Schools State Tournament.
"You live and learn," Owens said. "If he is more on the offensive, he will be a lot better off."
Pallotti freshman Justin Chenault (106, 47-10) also finished second in the MIAAs, recording a first-period pin of Gilman's Alex Puthumana in a quarterfinal, topping John Carroll's Zach Dwyer, 5-2, in a semfinal before getting pinned with one second left in the second period by St. Paul's Ryan Friedman in the championship.
Chenault's semifinal win was especially impressive. Dwyer had pinned the Panther during the regular season.
"He's had a fantastic year," Owens said. "We expected him to be a decent wrestler. He has been quite a surprise."
Nick Finnblade (5th, 132), Antonio Santoro (4th, 285) and Griffin McWilliams (6th, 120) also posted top finishes in the MIAAs for Pallotti.