Austin Kraisser of Centennial captures Mount Mat Madness wrestling tournament title

Mount Mat Madness tournament director Neil Adelberg talks about the 12th annual wrestling tournament hosted by Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore on Dec. 29. (Tim Schwartz/Baltimore Sun video)

Centennial senior Austin Kraisser didn't know going into his Mount Mat Madness 160-pound championship match what he was up against.

As it would turn out, his opponent – Fauquier senior Garrett Tingen – is a two-time Virginia state champion, and certainly proved to be a worthy adversary.


"I was a little bit surprised," Kraisser admitted. "I didn't know much about him going into the match."

After a scoreless first period, both grapplers traded escapes in the second and third to force an overtime period tied at 1-1.


In the extra period, though, Kraisser rebounded after a close call to win the scramble and earn the takedown and the 3-1 win at Mount Saint Joseph's Smith Center on Tuesday afternoon.

"I didn't really wrestle my best. I should've scored in a bunch of different places and didn't. Not exactly where you want to be after a win, but a win is a win and I pushed through and had to fight for it," said Kraisser, who was also named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. "He's good. I'm glad I won it. I'm proud to have all the other coaches think that I was one of the best wrestlers here."

Kraisser was one of five local wrestlers to pull out tournament victories, with Archbishop Spalding freshman PJ Truntich (106 pounds) Mount Saint Joseph senior Cody Trybus (126), Loyola Blakefield senior Nick Moreno (170) and Pallotti senior Mansur Abdul-Malik (heavyweight) being the others.

The Gaels, meanwhile, won the team title with 187.5 points, outpacing Spring Grove of Pennsylvania (166 points). It's only the third time they have won their own tournament in 12 years and the first since 2013.

Wrestlers and coaches of the Mount Saint Joseph wrestling team pose for a picture with the Mount Mat Madness championship trophy on Dec. 29.
Wrestlers and coaches of the Mount Saint Joseph wrestling team pose for a picture with the Mount Mat Madness championship trophy on Dec. 29. (Staff photo by Tim Schwartz)

"We're really excited to finish number one this year. The competition is really, really steep," said Mount Saint Joseph coach Harry Barnabae. "You had weight classes that were eight deep and any one of them could have won their weight class. For our kids to rise up – we trailed Spring Grove the entire tournament going into the semis, and they rose up and put four in the finals. I'm really proud of our senior leadership. We work hard as a team, and the first priority is to win as a team and that was our goal today and we did it."

While Kraisser had perhaps the most exciting championship match, Trybus may have been the most meaningful. He squared off with Victor Echeverria of Centreville (Va.) in a rematch of last year's 113-pound title bout that Echeverria won, 3-1.

This time, Trybus simply wasn't going to be denied in his final attempt at the tournament title. After scrambling out of several Echeverria takedown attempts in the first period, Trybus scored an escape and a takedown in the second period and another takedown in the third to shutout his opponent, 5-0. In fact, Trybus didn't allow a single point the entire tournament.

"I really wanted to get that match back, especially because this was probably my last chance to wrestle him," Trybus said. "It was tough last year losing in my home gym, so I just came out here and got the job done, won by a big margin and I'm really happy with it."

Led by Truntich's title, Spalding was the next highest-placing local team in eighth place with 129 points. Like Trybus, Truntich battled through a scoreless first period but faced a 1-0 deficit when his opponent, Clay Baker of Spring Grove, earned an escape early in the second period.

The young freshman battled back, though, and notched a takedown to take a 2-1 lead going into the third, and he added a reversal to win the 106-pound championship, 4-1.

"It's a great feeling to be the best kid in my bracket. It feels great to be a champion," Truntich said. "My coaches have conditioned me a lot. ... I knew once I got that stall call (in the third period) that I needed to move because I didn't want to go into overtime. Once I got that reversal I knew I was in control."

Loyola Blakefield finished right behind Spalding in a tie for ninth place (120 points) and moved two into the finals, and Moreno helped the team score by being just one of three grapplers to notch pins in the championship match.

He battled William Sorey of Oscar Smith (Va.), and in the second period came out on top of a scramble and put Sorey on his back in the double grapes position.

"Honestly, I just wasn't going to let him go," said Moreno, who locked up the fall in 3 minutes, 26 seconds. "We just kind of scrambled and I got him in the double grapes. It feels awesome. I never really expected it coming into the season, but I'm so excited right now."

Though Pallotti finished in 27th place with 44 points, most of those came thanks to the dominating performance by heavyweight Abdul-Malik, who has been perhaps the hottest wrestler in the state.

He placed fourth at the Walsh Ironman Tournament and won the Beast of the East Tournament – both of which are considered in the top-five toughest tournaments in the country – and cruised through his bracket with four pins in as many matches.

"I'm constantly improving. What I do to train and the things I do to be consistent in tournament and in practice really help me every day," said Abdul-Malik, whose final pin was in 1:16 over Riley Montgomery of Salesianum (De.). "What's different this year is I'm taking it one step at a time. Each match I try to improve. … My goal here was to dominate. Whether that is getting as many takedowns in a match as I could or if I pin everybody, I just wanted to dominate."

Other tournament finalists were Mount Saint Joseph's Kyle Trybus (126), who lost, 2-0 in overtime, to Malcolm Robinson of St. John's (D.C); Neil Schuster (152), who lost, 8-3, to Garrett Beam of Queen of Peace (N.J.); and Logan Rill (195), who lost, 3-1, to Tre'Shoun Rogers of Oscar Smith.

The Dons' Alex Caltrider fell, 5-1, to Middletown's Sean Mullican in the 220-pound championship, and the Cavaliers' Nick Goray lost, 5-0, to Ethan Krause of Georgetown Prep in the 138-pound final.

Championship bouts:

106: PJ Truntich (Spalding) dec. Clay Baker (Spring Grove), 4-1

113: Dalton Rohrbaugh (Spring Grove) tech fall Enrique Sanchez (Georgetown Prep), 18-2

120: Cody Trybus (Mount Saint Joseph) dec. Victor Echeverria (Centreville), 5-0

126: Malcolm Robinson (St. John's) dec. Kyle Trybus (Mount Saint Joseph), 2-0

132: Danny Bertoni (Middletown) dec. Caleb Garland (Hanover), 4-2

138: Ethan Krause (Georgetown Prep) dec. Nick Goray (Spalding), 5-0

145: Jake Makosy (Urbana) dec. Matt Mitchler, (Mountain View), 3-1

152: Garrett Beam (Queen of Peace) dec. Neil Schuster (Mt St Joseph), 8-3

160: Austin Kraisser (Centennial) dec. Garrett Tingen (Fauquier), 3-1

170: Nick Moreno (Loyola Blakefield) pinned William Sorey (Oscar Smith), 3:26

182: Joe Miller (Salesianum) pinned Brian Hennessy (St. John's), 3:40


195: Tre'Shoun Rogers (Oscar Smith) dec. Logan Rill (Mount Saint Joseph), 3-1


220: Sean Mullican (Middletown) dec. Alex Caltrider (Loyola Blakefield), 5-1

285: Mansur Abdul-Malik (Pallotti) pinned Riley Montgomery (Salesianum), 1:16

Team scores:

1. Mount Saint Joseph, 187.5 points
2. Spring Grove (Pa.), 166
t3. Middletown, 145
t3. Oscar Smith (Va.), 145
5. Mountain View (Va.), 144
6. Queen of Peace (N.J.), 141
7. Urbana, 138
8. Archbishop Spalding, 129
t9. Fauquier (Va.), 120
t9. Loyola Blakefield, 120
11. Brentsville (Va.), 116
12. St. John's (D.C.), 103
13. Glenelg, 100.5
14. Salesianum (De.), 89
15. Georgetown Prep, 79
16. John Carroll, 77
17. St. George's (De.), 71
18. Centennial, 64
19. Leonardtown, 62
20. Hanover (Pa.), 59
21. Gonzaga (D.C.), 56
t22. Gilman, 49
t22. Severn, 49
24. Herndon (Va.), 47
25. South County (Va.), 46
26. Boys' Latin, 45
t27. Centreville (Va.), 44
t27. Pallotti, 44
29. Digital Harbor, 24
30. Edison (Va.), 19

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