The match completes the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association regular season for both teams, with McDonogh retaining the top spot with an 8-0 A Conference record and a 19-3 mark overall. Spalding, last season's champion, finishes 7-1 in the conference and 20-6 overall.
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Archbishop Spalding High School, 8080 New Cut Rd, Severn, MD 21144-2399, USA
It wasn't until the second-to-last match, when senior Kevin Marvel (195) pinned his opponent with 1:45 left in the third period, that McDonogh got back on top, 36-33. Then freshman Wyatt Cook, knowing he could wind up the goat if he got pinned, charged to the finish of the first period, earning his own pin just as the clock struck zero.
"I knew our team wasn't going to give up [when we were behind]," Cook said. "We pinned out. I was in a situation once in Virginia this year, where I had to win for the team to take first. But it was nothing like this. This was huge."
After McDonogh heavyweight Roman Braglio started the match with a pin in just 39 seconds in, Spalding's Joey Eberhard (106) and Mike Still (113) each pinned their opponents, and Wolfie Bradley (120) got a forfeit to put Spalding ahead 18-6.
From there, the Cavaliers won enough to maintain an edge through the 182-pound match. One of the most exciting was at 152, where McDonogh's freshman Myles Martin held a 5-2 lead with 9 seconds to go. But Spalding sophomore Logan Breitenbach found a burst of energy and went from losing 5-4 with five seconds left, to winning by pin.
"I was really worried," said McDonogh coach Pete Welch, whose team trailed 30-21 after Breitenbach's win. "It came down to the last two weight classes in a match with a lot of emotion that can drain your energy. They're a good team, but we managed to get it done. There's a lot of parity in our league, and at this time of the year everyone is tired, hurt and beat up."
Spalding was without state champion Will Switzer, who has had neck surgery to repair chips in his neck that were pressing on a nerve and compressing his spinal cord. The senior, who will wrestle at Lehigh next year, is out for the season.
"It was tough to watch," Switzer said. "Our young guys were working so hard. I really wanted to be out there helping. Instead, I'm sitting and watching."
Laidley said Switzer's absence could have meant a nine point swing and a different outcome, but then he shrugged.
"Everyone here would have loved to have seen him go against Jack Clark at 145," Laidley said. "But every year, injuries impact someone. I'm just glad we were able to come out and compete with them."
No. 1 McDonogh 42, No. 2 Archbishop Spalding 33
106 — Eberhard (AS) p Kline (M), 1:43
113 — Still (AS) p Fitzhugh (M), :38
120 — Bradley (AS) wbf
126 — Miester (M) d. Pente (AS), 7-3
132 — Ramos (M) p. Chidebe (AS), 4:51