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John Carroll wrestling enduring rough but needed season

John Carroll wrestler Joe Laubach makes a move as he battles his McDonogh School opponent Gerard Johnson during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
John Carroll wrestler Joe Laubach makes a move as he battles his McDonogh School opponent Gerard Johnson during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The John Carroll wrestling team, like the school’s other winter sports programs, is dealing with a short season.

Short, however, was also the time span of Wednesday’s dual meet with visiting McDonogh. There were only six matches, all won by the visitors, and all but one was decided by pin.

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For scoring purposes, McDonogh won the meet, 33-0. The Patriots only other meet action came last Friday at Mt. St. Joe. Again, no official scoring or weight classes and the Patriots won two-of-five matches.

“Tough day, we started no excuses, they didn’t wrestle well, period,” Patriots head coach Keith Runk said. “You can’t go out and not wrestle, you’ve got to move, you’ve got to put the work in and that’s not the work ethic they displayed in the practice room.”

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The matches were wrestled without actual weight classes, but wrestlers were matched up with very similar weights. And all wrestlers wore masks.

Trevyn Suskowicz, who wrestled twice on the day, was the first Patriot grappler on the mat. Opponent Clayton Gabrielson made quick work of Suskowicz, racking up eight points before pinning in 1:02.

John Carroll wrestler Trevyn Suskowicz tries to keep his grip as his McDonogh School opponent Connor Bollinger tries to escape the grasp during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll.
John Carroll wrestler Trevyn Suskowicz tries to keep his grip as his McDonogh School opponent Connor Bollinger tries to escape the grasp during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Lucas Hall was next for the Patriots and he was taken down and pinned in just 30 seconds.

“I’m not satisfied with the effort that we put fourth, I can tell you that,” Runk said. “I don’t care if they go out and lose, but there’s no effort. They just wrestled flat, totally. No excuses, they lost to a better team.”

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John Carroll’s Joe Laubach was pinned in 1:45 by Gerard Johnson, while teammate Mike Cox took his match into the second period.

Cox scored the Patriots’ first point with an escape against Harrison Trahan, but Trahan — who led 7-1 after one period — needed just 59 seconds in the second period to score the fall.

George Fritz followed for the Patriots, but he was taken down and pinned in 55 seconds by McDonogh’s Ben Gunsior.

Suskowicz then came back for his second match and it went better. He didn’t win, but he did wrestle the entire six minutes against Connor Bollinger. Suskowicz scored an escape point in the first period, but that was it in a 6-1 loss.

John Carroll wrestling head coach Keith Runk watches as his wrestler makes his way back to the center of the mat during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll on Wednesday.
John Carroll wrestling head coach Keith Runk watches as his wrestler makes his way back to the center of the mat during Wednesday's wrestling meet at John Carroll on Wednesday. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The Patriots roster is somewhere between 7 and 10 wrestlers, depending on the day, according to Runk.

The two seniors, Julianne Moccia and Cameron Gibson, both sat and watched Wednesday’s action. Moccia had no one to wrestle and Gibson has a shoulder injury that is keeping him off the mat.

“I’m just grateful that we’ve been given the opportunity to have the season. For a couple months it was really unclear and we didn’t think we were going to have one, so just to be given the opportunity, we’re all grateful for that,” Gibson said.

The Patriots are scheduled for another match this week and two next week, but Gibson says he wont wrestle.

Moccia is nearing the 100-win mark against high school competition, so with three meets scheduled, she might reach it. Had this been a typical year, Moccia could have easily reached the milestone.

“The season is different, but I’m still wrestling, so that hasn’t changed,” Moccia said. “I’ve only stopped wrestling for two, maybe three months. That’s really the only difference I’ve had.”

Moccia had been to plenty of club practices, especially not knowing whether there would be a high school season.

”I’ve been able to go to other practices, before this happened. I’ve been able to go to tournaments for girls and guys and recently I wrestled at like a state tournament and I got third there,” Moccia said.

For Moccia, wrestling with a mask has been difficult. “I don’t like it, because I wear a hair cap, so then I have a hair cap, a mask and the head gear,” she said. “I’ve been trying to wear my mask everyday at practice to make sure I’m not tired when I’m in my real wrestling match.”

Moccia is undecided on a college, but plans to wrestle at whichever school she picks. She’s also undecided on a major.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity, because really it was week-to-week,” Runk said. “It’s good for us as coaches to get into it and it’s good for the kids to be able to get out there and do stuff. The good thing is at least I’ve got Julianne and Cam who can kind of experience a senior [season], they don’t get totally washed out. And that’s important.”

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