Defending champion and No. 2-ranked Mount St. Joseph led Loyola by 74 points after yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association tournament semifinals, and appears on the verge of wrapping up its 17th crown.
The Gaels racked up 240 points, advancing seven wrestlers into today's 3:30 p.m. championship finals at Gilman. Loyola, in second with 166 points, had three finalists, as did third-place Gilman (145).
"In the first round, we had 12 pins out of 13," said Mount St. Joseph coach Paul Triplett. "When you get a start like that, it's contagious. We wanted a big jump and we got it."
The finals will feature several promising matchups and a few rematches, such as Calvert Hall's Greg Knox (112, 20-1) facing Gilman's Gerard Harrison (28-4). Harrison beat Knox, 4-2, during the regular season.
"I got sloppy against him the first time," said Knox, who defeated St. Paul's Steve Truit, 3-1, to reach the title bout. "As long as I
don't do that again, I'll have a good shot."
Also earning rematches were Mount St. Joseph's Shane McCarthy (135, 25-6) and teammate Chad Votta (140, 28-3, 23 pins). McCarthy will meet Gilman's top-ranked John Kim (30-0), who edged him, 3-1, earlier this season. Kim is ranked first by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, and McCarthy is ranked sixth.
Votta faces Curley's Gary Mryncza (25-0), who pinned Votta earlier this season.
The Gaels' Kevin Neville (29-2) pinned his three opponents in a combined 2 minutes, 38 seconds. Neville is ranked No. 1 at 152 pounds by the MSWA. He'll tackle Southwestern's Joe Gamble (38-1), whom he defeated earlier, 8-4.
Loyola's Tim Spielman (119, 13 pins) used two pins and a technical fall to improve his record to 24-3. His 125-pound teammate, Ian Robbins (28-1, 21 pins) decked all three of his opponents.
St. Mary's Phil MacWilliams (130, 25-2) has a chance to become his school's second-ever champ, but he'll have to get past the Gaels' Joe Aiosa.
Friends' Tod Helman (145, 29-0) will have his hands full with Gaels freshman Danny DeVivo (30-4). Another key matchup will be at 189 pounds, where Loyola's Dave Daniecki (15 pins) takes on John Carroll's Jake Hollin (15-4), who scored a 4-3 semifinal upset over Carver's Ed Overton (16-1).
"I think Dave's in good shape: He's beaten his guy three times," said Loyola coach Dennis Frazier. "And both Spielman and Robbins are wrestling very well right now, so I expect them to win."
The 103-pound final pits Mount St. Joseph's top-seeded freshman David Inkman (26-7) against Dunbar freshman Bruce Pendles (17-0).