The smile on John Carroll coach Keith Watson's face was apparent. He had plenty of reason for wearing it, too.
Watson's third-ranked Patriots used a dominant effort in the middle weights and five pins to defeat host Archbishop Spalding in the finals and win the Spalding Cavalier Duals. The Patriots went 5-0 in the tournament to take the crown.
South River finished third in the tournament, defeating Loudon County High School from Northern Virginia, 52-9, in the third-place match. Arundel finished fifth, tying Mount St. Joseph 33-33, but winning on criterion points. The Wildcats defeated Mount St. Joseph earlier in the tournament. Other local teams that participated were Loyola (seventh), Old Mill (eighth), and Western Tech (11th).
"It's the first time we've beaten these guys in forever," Watson said. "It's been a long time coming for us, and it really feels good. We were hoping to win, but beating them by 21 just puts an exclamation point on a great day for us."
Watson credited his middle weights for the victory.
"That's where our horses are," Watson said. "From about 116 to 170, we are really, really tough. I think that makes us maybe the toughest team in the area in those weights. At least it really seems that way."
The Patriots have a powerful team, but Watson says the victory over a quality opponent like Spalding was the victory that had eluded the team.
"We wrestled [top-ranked] McDonogh and lost by 10, so that said a little bit about us," Watson said. "Still, we hadn't beaten a really quality opponent. We needed to do that."
To cap off the day, John Carroll's Scott Strappelli (132 pounds) was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
The Patriots got pins from Hunter Ritter (170Chad Skokowski (106), Austin Smith (113), Stephen Jernigan (138), and Christian Almony (152) en route to the victory.
"There were a couple swing matches that didn't go our way, and I think that was the difference," said Spalding assistant coach Eric DeCosmo. "Today just wasn't our day. John Carroll wrestled great, so congratulations to them. I'm sure we'll see them again later in the season."
South River also turned in an impressive effort, routing a good team from Loudon County, 52-9, to take home third place.
Spalding Cavalier Duals
(at Archbishop Spalding)
John Carroll 45, Archbishop Spalding 25
106 – Skokowski (JC) p. LaMore, :48; 113 – Smith (JC) p. Ja. Eberhard, :55; 120 Bradley (SP) d. Dwyer, 4-1; 126 – Davis (JC) d Pearson, 10-4; 132- Strappelli (JC) d Pente, 7-2; 138- Jurnigan (JC) p Jo. Eberhardt, 145 – Weber (JC) d Graves, 6-0; 152 – Almany (JC) p Malone, :52; 160 – Britenbauch (SP) p Scott, :53; 170 – Ritter (JC) p . Lucette, 1:29; 182 – Parker (SP) p. Edkins, 5:24; 195 – Abey (SP) d Kleble, 15-5; 220 – Reinenger (JC) p Shugars, 2:17; 285 – Gowl (SP) wbf.
South River 52, Loudon County 9
106 – Owens (SR) p Young, :39; 113 – Wells (SR) wbf; 120 – Coyle (SR) d Monroy, 8-4; 126 – Orme (SR) p Pustreia, 1:10; 132- A. Alley (SR) p Rodriguez, 2:56; 138 – Magic (LC) d C. Alley, 3-1; 145 – J. Peters (SR) d Rihn, 5-3; 152 - Norris (SR) p Rivera, :32; 160 – Baruch (SR) p Mills, :14; 170 – Walker (SR) d Stevens, 4-2; 182 – Hoover (SR) d Schultz, 15-1 ; 195 – Rossi (SR) d Reader, 5-4; 220 – Dickey (LC) d Raines, 10-3; Schlue (LC) d Russo, 1-0.
Arundel 33, Mount St. Joseph 33
(Arundel wins on Criterion points)