New coach, same result.
For the 20th time in 21 years, Loyola Blakefield stands alone atop the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference after rolling to a 505-375 triumph over runner-up and host McDonogh at the championship meet Saturday evening.
Only this time it was new coach Matt McDonough who guided the Dons to a title. He succeeded Keith Schertle, who completed a two-decade tenure at the Loyola helm after last year's championship.
The Dons started strong and kept up the torrid pace, claiming victories in the 200-yard medley relay behind talented senior Ben Brown, sophomore Ben Shropshire and freshmen Will Pelton and Matt Clark to jump ahead early.
Brown followed with a win in the 200 freestyle over junior teammate Michael Pierce and Archbishop Spalding's Matt Anderson before Pelton edged Calvert Hall's Josh Walker and McDonogh's Derek Nguyen in the 200 individual medley.
The trend continued in the 50 free, with Loyola senior Sammy Logue touching the wall before senior Matt McGoey of McDonogh and Calvert Hall senior Zach Potter, and 100 butterfly behind Shropshire's win over Calvert Hall's Zac Metzler and Loyola's Jack Sinton.
Logue then followed up his win in the 50 free with one in the 100 free, finishing in front of junior teammate Teddy Turrall and Calvert Hall sophomore Jonathan Brooks.
By that time, if not earlier, it was clear that McDonough's inaugural season at Loyola would be as successful as Schertle's final one, especially after Brown and Pierce finished one-two in the 500 free ahead of third-place Anderson.
"Before the season, we thought we might end up third this year," said Brown, who intends to swim at Washington and Lee. "But we had a lot of sophomores and freshmen really come through for us, like Shropshire and Pelton. As the year went along, we just got better and better."
The Eagles finally snapped Loyola's win streak by taking the 200 free relay behind McGoey, junior James Shiels and sophomores Ben Selnick and Nguyen.
However, Loyola answered with a victory in the 100 backstroke when Pelton topped McGoey and Walker before Potter prevailed in the 100 breaststroke over Gilman senior Tze-Z Zan and Nguyen to snap Loyola's grip on individual titles.
The Dons wrapped things up with a win in the 400 free relay with Logue, Turrall, Brown and Clark doing the honors.
"I didn't know what to expect when I came to Loyola," said McDonough, who was an assistant at McDonogh before taking over the Dons. "I am l;icky to be able to build on what Keith and the school have done."
Loyola Blakefield 505
Calvert Hall 346
Mt. St. Joseph 214.50
Archbishop Spalding 165
200 medley relay-1. LB (Brown, Shropshire, Pelton Clark), 2. CHC (Walker, Potter, Metzler, Brooks) 3. McD (McGoey, Nguyen, Selnick, Shiels)
200 freestyle-1. Brown (LB), 2. Pierce (LB), 3. Anderson (AS)
200 individual medley-1. Pelton (LB), 2. Potter (CHC), 3. Nguyen (McD)
50 freestyle-1. Logue (LB), 2. McGoey (McD), 3. Potter (CHC)
100 butterfly- 1. Shropshire (LB), 2. Metzler (CHC), 3. Sinton (LB)
100 freestyle-1. Logue (LB), 2. Turrall (LB), 3. Brooks (CHC)
500 freestyle-1. Brown (LB), 2. Pierce (LB), 3. Anderson (AS)
200 freestyle relay-1. McD (Shiels, Nguyen, Selnick McGoey) 2. LB (Pelton, Elfert, Turrall, Logue), 3. CHC (Brown, Martin, Capuccio, Metzler)
100 backstroke-1. Pelton (LB), 2. McGoey (McD), 3. Walker (CHC)
100 breaststroke-1. Potter (CHC), 2. Tan (Gil), 3. Nguyen (McD)
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400 freestyle relay-1. LB (Logue, Turrall, Clark, Brown), 2. CHC (Brooks, Potter, Walker, Brown) 3. McD (Merz, Bitz, Zuga, Donahue)