McDonogh wrestlers Wyatt Cook and Myles Martin both have said that winning the Maryland Independent Schools Tournament is a priority for the Eagles after falling to Good Counsel by half a point last season.
If that's the case, then the host and top-ranked Eagles have their work cut out for them.
The Falcons finished the first day of the tournament with a commanding 14-point lead over the Eagles after the quarterfinal round. Good Counsel still has eight wrestlers alive for an individual crown entering the semifinals, while McDonogh has seven.
Wrestling will resume on Sunday at 1 p.m. at McDonogh.
"We've been training for this tournament all year," said Cook, a 285-pound junior who didn't wrestle last year due to an injury. "It's been pretty clear that we were headed for a showdown with them. We are wrestling well, so we'll see what happens."
Martin, also a junior, remembers clearly what it was like to lose to the Falcons last season. He said he doesn't want to see a repeat this year.
"We really need this tournament," said Martin, 170 pounds, who — along with Cook — won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association title this month. "This is big for our seniors. They all remember last year. Bonus points are big for us right now, and we need to get as many as we can."
The early rounds have been very predictable, but there have been a few upsets.
At 120 pounds, Mount St. Joseph's Malik Woody upset fourth-seeded Austin Smith from John Carroll to earn a spot in the semifinals with a 7-5 win. Woody will wrestle top-seeded Steven Simpson of St. Mary's Ryken in his semifinal.
No. 13 Archbishop Curley's Corey Huntley upset McDonogh's Sam Martino, 3-2, at 138 pounds. Martino was seeded fourth in his bracket. Huntley will wrestle top-seed Michael Sprague from Georgetown Prep in the semifinals.
Good Counsel's Paul Hutton upset fourth-seeded Austin Seivold of Calvert Hall, 12-7, at 145 pounds. He faces top-seed Alfred Bannister of Bishop McNamara in the semis.
At 152 pounds, third-seeded Austin Ross of No. 3 John Carroll was pinned by Blake Matthews, an unattached wrestler, in the first round. That opened the door for Good Counsel's Garrett Neff, and he wrestled his way into the semifinals. He'll face No. 9 Loyola's Walter Johnson on Sunday.
In a 195 pound semifinal, Jake Nordhausen of Loyola, who won the 220-pound championship at last week's MIAA tournament, will face top-seeded Dan Hawkins of Mount St. Joseph. Hawkins finished second at 195 pounds in the MIAA Tournament to Hunter Ritter of John Carroll.
Ritter is still alive at 182 pounds, and he'll be wrestling Logan Rill of No. 2 Mount St. Joseph in his semifinal.
As for Martin and Cook, they will both be prohibitive favorites in their weight classes. The only question is whether the Eagles can accumulate enough points to catch Good Counsel.
Cook is optimistic about their chances.
"We've trained all year for this," Cook said. "Nothing's gonna deny us this time."
Maryland Independent Schools Tournament
Team scores: 1. Good Counsel, 137; 2. McDonogh, 123; 3. Mount St. Joseph, 118.5; 4. John Carroll, 98; 5. DeMatha, 93.5; 6. St. Paul’s, 80; 7. Georgetown Prep, 77.5; 8. Arch. Spalding, 76; 9. Arch. Curley, 75; 10. Loyola, 70; 11. Gilman, 55; 12. Boys’ Latin, 48; 13. Calvert Hall, 39; 14. Pallotti, 38.5: 15. Bullis, 37; 16. Landon, 33.
Team scores: 1. St. Mary’s Ryken and Severn, 44; 3. St. Mary’s and St. James, 28; 5. Glenelg Country School, 27.5; 6. The Heights, 25; 7. Bishop McNamara, 20; 8. Silver Oak Academy, 17; 9. Friends and St. Andrews, 14; 11. Annapolis Area Christian, 12; 12. Covenant Life, 9; 13. Mt. Carmel, 8; 14. MD School for the Deaf, 4.
Individual results: 106: Planta (SP) d McCord (GP), 11-1; Goray (AS) p McCabe, 2:40; Lee-Lermer (BL) p Oneto (MSJ), 1:37; Doestch (SEV) md Perpall (DM), 10-2. 113: Whitesell (GC) p Callahan (LOY), 1:43; Rill (MSJ) p Skokowski (JC), 5:02; Krause (GP) d Wilson (DM), 5-1; Megonigal (McD) tf over Malinowski (BL), 15-0. 120: Simpson (SMR) p Tiongson (GC), 5:37; Woody (MSJ) d Smith (JC), 7-5; Hong (GP) p Reyes (LOY), 1:44; Friedman (SP) md Alevizatos (GIL), 11-3. 126: Salvo (MSJ) p Brown (SM), 3:45; Dwyer (JC) d Chenault (PAL), 6-2; Devaney (McD) d Cotsoradis (BL), 4-1; Thomas (GC) p Brown (SP), 3:56. 132: Mutchnik (SP) d Van Scoyoc (AS), 6-2; Kowalski (GP) d Wilson (DM), 10-5; Willims (AC) p Brown (UN), 2:55; Budock (GC) p Smist (LOY), :38. 138: Sprague (GP) tf over Moses (LOY), 18-1; Huntley (AC) d Martino (McD), 3-2; Pente (AS) md Wagner (CH0, 9-1; Kelly (GC), p Malinowski (BL), 1:05. 145: Bannister (BMc) tf over Schuster (MSJ), 25-8; Hutton (GC) d Seivold (CH), 12-7; Riggs (DM) d Pearson (AS), 3-1; Harrell (McD) md Jernigan (JC), 14-4. 152: Hague (McD) p Medcalf (SEV), 5:04: Lucier (SP) d Koski (CH), 7-5; Neff (GC) d Lopez (DM), 5-2; Johnson (LOY) d Lee (AC), 13-6. 160- Breitenbach (AS) tf over Bruno (BL), 20-5; Witzal (LAN) p Twigg (McD), 2:58. Almony (JC) p Pank (SJ), 2:44; Rowell (MSJ) md over Moreno (LOY), 9-0. 170: Martin (McD) p Lucente (AS), 2:22; Scott (JC) d McColgan (AC), 4-0; Wagh (SP) p Dohler (BL), :43; Llopez (SMR) p McAfee (GC), 2:29. 182: Ritter (JC) p Amaral (LOY), 3:06; Rill (MSJ) d Parker (AS), 2-1; Miller (GC) p Shure (McD), 1:00; Pappas (SM) p Van Houten (SMR), 3:02. 195: Hawkins (MSJ) p Perreten (SEV), 1:04; Nordhausen (LOY) d Triandafilou (GP), 3-3 (TB): Pfeifer (GIL) p Hunter (DM), 1:01; Snyder (GC) p Bushyager (AC), 1:02. 220: Smith (McD) p Boyce (SP), 2:29; Abdul-Malik (PAL) p Rweininger (JC), 5:24; Stewart (GP) p Desroches (LAN), 3:50; Meehan (DM) p Hurdle (LOY), 1:52. 285: Cook (McD) p Dingle (GC), 1:12; Sigwart (AC) d Kreczmer (AS), 3-2; Santoro (PAL) d Destefano (SEV), 5-3; Lowman (MSJ) p Johnston (LAN), 1:01.