Two-time champion McDonogh holds a five-point lead after the quarterfinals of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association wrestling championship at Mount St. Joseph.
The No. 1 Eagles, who still have nine wrestlers alive for a championship, have accumulated 104 points. The tournament semifinals will begin Saturday at 9 a.m.
No. 2 Mount St. Joseph (99 points), No. 3 John Carroll (92.5), No. 12 Archbishop Spalding (73) and No. 8 Loyola (69.5) round out the top five.
McDonogh wrestling coach Pete Welch, while confident, says he's not thinking about team scores at this point in the tournament, as the Eagles seek a third straight title.
"It's too early to start thinking about placing at this point," Welch said. "We've had some kids who have done well so far. We'll see how it goes [in the semifinals]."
When asked if he thought the Eagles had a target on their backs after winning the MIAA dual meet title, Welch said that came with the territory.
"After the dual meets, I'm sure there are some guys who want another shot at us," he said. "We have to be ready for that. This tournament is a different game, because you can't move wrestlers around. We've just got to come out and get it done. The semifinals are always big in this tournament."
So far, it has gone the way of the seedings, with only a few upsets.
At 106, Loyola's Andrew Lala, seeded fifth, scored a 6-2 decision over Spalding's fourth-seeded Nick Goray. He will wrestle top seed Daniel Planta in the semifinals.
Calvert Hall's Noah Koski, seeded sixth, scored a 6-4 overtime win over fouth-seeded Daniel Medcalf, of Spalding, at 152 pounds. He will wrestle John Carroll's Austin Ross in his semifinal match.
At 195, Loyola's Neil Amaral, also a six seed, scored a 9-7 upset over Rex Kiteley of St. Mary's. He will oppose Mount St. Joseph's Dan Hawkins in his semifinal.
Several of the top-ranked wrestlers in the Maryland State Wrestling Association rankings started out their tournament with dominant wins.
Daniel Planta of Saint Paul's, ranked No. 1 in the state at 106 pounds, scored a quick victory in his only match of the day, pinning Calvert Hall's Nick Fink in just 51 seconds.
At 132 pounds, top-ranked Jack Mutchnik of St. Paul's won both of his matches, pinning Calvert Hall's Matt Lambdin in 1:34, then Matt Campbell of Glenelg Country School in :39 seconds.
Mutchnik is on course to meet third-ranked Tyshawn Williams, of No. 13 Archbishop Curley, in the finals. The two wrestled in an overtime thriller a week ago in which Mutchnik squeezed out a one-point win.
McDonogh's Toby Hague, top-ranked at 152 pounds, scored first-period pins in both of his matches, as did Spalding's Logan Breitenbach at 160 pounds.
The Eagles' Myles Martin, the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 170 pounds, pinned both of his opponents in less than two minutes. John Carroll's Hunter Ritter, who is No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds, did the same.
McDonogh's Wyatt Cook, the top-ranked heavyweight in the state, made easy work of his two opponents, with first period pins in each match.
MIAA Wrestling Tournament
(at Mount St. Joseph)
Team scores (thru quarterfinals): 1. McDonogh, 104; 2. Mount St. Joseph, 99; 3. John Carroll, 92.5; 4. Archbishop Spalding, 73; 5. Loyola, 69.5; 6. Archbishop Curley, 66; 7. Calvert Hall, 55; 8. St. Paul's, 54; 9. Boys' Latin, 51.5; 10. Pallotti, 35.5; 11. Severn, 33.5; 12. Gilman, 32; 13. St. Mary's, 27; 14. Glenelg Country, 18; 15. Friends, 8; 16. Annap. Area Christian and Mt. Carmel, 4.
Individual results (quarterfinals): 106 – Planta (StP) p Fink (CH), :51; Lala (LOY) d Goray (AS), 6-2; Lee-Lemer (BL) d McCabe (JC), 6-0; Doestch (SEV) tf over Oneto (MSJ), 18-3. 113 – Megonigal (McD) p Quick (AS), :11; Malinowski (BL) d Callahan (LOY), 4-2; Skokowski (JC) p King (AC), 3:12; Rill (MSJ) p Stephens (PAL), 2:14. 120 – Freiedman (StP) p Bradley (AAC), 1:08; Reyes (LOY) d Alevizatos (GIL), 5-4: Woody (MSJ) p Zimmerman (MtC), 1:56; Smith (JC) p Bothwell (GCS), 3:18; 126 – Salvo (MSJ) p Brown (StM), 1:33; Dwyer (JC) d Cotsoradis (BL), 2-1; Devaney (McD) p Brown (LOY), 2:37. Chenault (PAL) md over Siems (GIL), 10-2. 132 – Mutchnik (StP) p Campbell (GCS), :39; Van Scoyoc (AS) d Millner (JC), 5-0; Orem (MSJ) d Smist (LOY), 7-4: Williams (AC) p Bakewell (McD), 2:19. 138 – Pente (AS) p Runner (PAL), 1:50; Wagner (CH) p Vaughters (StM), 1:07; Martino (McD) md over Moses (LOY), 15-6; Huntley (AC) p Malinowski (BL), 1:43. 145 – Harrell (McD) p Howlette (GCS), :32: Pearson (AS) d Jernigan (JC), 3-1; Wyler (BL) p Eibner (AC), 3:01; Seivold (CH) tf over Schuster (MSJ), 19-3. 152 – Hague (McD) p Labonte-Clark (BL), 1:50; Lucier (StP) p Lee (AC), 3:04; Koski (CH) d Medcalf (SEV), 6-4: Ross (JC) tf over McHale (AS), 17-4. 160 – Breitenbach (AS) p Spawn (FND), :34; Twigg (McD) p Moreno (LOY), :12; Rowell (MSJ) p Johnson (AC), 4:13; Almony (JC) p Bruno (BL), 1:00; 170 – Martin (McD) p Wancowicz (GIL), 1:00; Crum (CH) tf over Cauley (SEV), 17-0; Dohler (BL) p Lucente (AS), 3:22; Wagh (StP) p Hersey (GCS), :59. 182 – Pappas (StM) p Caltrider (LOY), :24; Scott (JC) d Rill (MSJ), 6-5; Pfeifer (GIL) d McColgan (AC), 5-1; Parker (AS) p Nelligan (SEV), 2:27. 195 – Ritter (JC) p Bhatti (GCS), 1:30; Bushyager (AC) d Pearl (SP), 10-3; Amaral (LOY) d Kiteley (StM), 9-7; Hawkins (MSJ) p Gonya (FND), :58. 220 – Smith (McD) p Boyce (StP), :12; Adbul-Malik (PAL) p Geer (AC), 5:57; Reininger (JC) d Barnabee (MSJ), 3-0; Nordhausen (LOY) p Perreten (SEV), :48; 285 – Cook (McD) p McMillon (MtC), 1:34; Swiger (AC) d Destfano (SEV), 4-2; Santoro (PAL) d Jackson (GIL), 4-0; Lowman (MSJ) p. Kreczmer (AS), 1:40.