Wyatt Cook knew what was on the line for McDonogh's wrestling team, and he delivered.
The junior scored a 5-4 victory over St. Vincent Pallotti's Antonio Santoro in the final match of the day to give the host Eagles the four points they needed to defeat Good Counsel, 239.5-237, and win the Maryland Independent Schools Wrestling Tournament.
The Eagles had made winning a goal since they lost last year's championship to Good Counsel by a point and a half.
Cook said he knew what was on the line, and it made him a little tense at first.
"I tried not to think about it, but then I realized I was thinking too much," Cook said. "He got the early takedown, and I knew I had to respond. My teammate Cameron [Harrell] told me he wanted to wrestle the final match. He told me, 'No pressure, no diamonds.' In the end, it was me, and we got the diamonds."
The Eagles had five individual champions — TK Megonigal (113 pounds), Toby Hague (152), Myles Martin ( 170), Mike Smith (220), and Cook (285) — and needed wins by Smith (a 4-3 decision over DeMatha's Mac Meehan) and Cook in the final two matches to catch the Falcons.
"Nothing was given to us," McDonogh coach Pete Welch said. "I just told Wyatt to go out and wrestle his match. There were times I thought he was in real trouble, but he wrestled tough. He just kept coming. Once he got his first takedown, things started to open up."
The Eagles won the tournament for the fifth time; the last came in 2012.
Other local wrestlers did well in the tournament. Mount St. Joseph, which finished third in the tournament with 202 points, had multiple title winners. At 126 pounds, Jake Salvo defeated Bailey Thomas of Good Counsel, 5-3. His teammate, Dan Hawkins, won the 195-pound crown with a pin of Good Counsel's Kevin Snyder 3:16 into their match.
St. Paul's Daniel Planta scored a 3-2 decision over Severn's Michael Doestch at 103 pounds to give the Crusaders their lone win.
Logan Breitenbach (160 pounds) of Archbishop Spalding won his second MIS title, beating Mount St. Joseph's Sam Rowell, 17-5.
Hunter Ritter gave John Carroll a title, and his second consecutive MIS championship, with a win over Good Counsel's Nick Miller at 182 pounds.
The best match of the day featured Harrell and Bishop McNamara's Alfred Bannister. Bannister entered the match a three-time MIS champion, and Harrell — a junior who won two state championships at Broadneck before transferring to McDonogh — gave him all he could handle.
Harrell dived over top of Bannister in an attempted takedown. It didn't work, but it illustrated how fiercely the two battled. Bannister ended up winning the match, 5-3, to capture his fourth consecutive title. He also was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
"I couldn't wait to wrestle him," Harrell said. "He's one of the best wrestlers in the nation. I look at him as an example of how I want to wrestle. I have a lot of respect for him."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun