After his decisive pin of Mount St. Joseph's Andy Sunderland with 26 seconds left in the second period, Archbishop Curley senior Pat Curran glared at the scoreboard in disbelief.
His victory had just given the top-ranked, unbeaten Friars an insurmountable 21-point lead with two bouts left, clinching his school's first victory over its Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association rival, 39-18.
"This doesn't seem real," said Curran, whose fall gave the Friars a 33-12 lead. "I still can't believe it."
Curran first pointed toward his parents, Dott and Bill Curran Jr., in the stands. Then he ran off the mat and leaped into the arms of what seemed a sea of teammates. All the while, Curran said he thought of his older brother, Bill III, a 1996 Curley graduate, and younger brother, Timm, a Curley freshman. And also of cousin Gene Curran, an All-Metro Wrestler of the Year at Curley in 1990.
"Thousands of people wrestled here, but none of them ever experienced this," Curran said. "I can say I was on the first Curley team to beat St. Joe."
The Friars (10-0 overall, 4-0 league), whose lineup featured eight state-ranked wrestlers, had lost the last two meetings to the No. 8 Gaels (10-4, 2-2) by a combined four points. Curley was heavily favored before last winter's 27-25 loss, but overtime victories by two St. Joe wrestlers avenged earlier losses in which they had been pinned by their Curley opponents.
Curley's Shawn Calhoun (140), a victim of an upset loss last season, exorcised last night a demon that had haunted him for the entire year.
With his team ahead 12-9, Calhoun decked Joe Selba in 3: 37, sparking a three-bout sweep that had the Friars up 27-9 with four bouts left.
The sweep included a 17-0 technical fall by P.J. Kirhagis (145), and a 13-5 decision by top-ranked Paul Boettcher (152) over Mike Moore. A 7-3 decision by Jake Keyes (160) over Curley's Matt Charvat brought the Gaels within 27-12. But Curran sealed the win, and teammate Isaac Byrd iced it with a heavyweight pin in 1: 08.
"We never forgot. I was determined to get my revenge," Calhoun said. "We knew they'd wrestle with a lot of pride. We just had to go harder."
The early tempo was established by second-ranked Darien Kess (103), whose ferocious pace -- he scored five takedowns while building an 11-3 lead on St. Joe's Devin Nash -- resulted in a pin with 46 seconds left.
But the Gaels took the next two bouts to tie the match at 6-all on decisions by Steve Winter (112) and Ryan Herwig (119).
Winter overcame a 3-0 deficit, nearly pinning Tim Williams in the second period of an eventual 7-6 victory over a wrestler who had pinned him earlier this year. Herwig blanked Richard Wemple, 4-0.
But Curley led, 12-6, after decisions by second-ranked Antwuan Lide (125) and top-ranked Brian Bricker (130), the latter by 8-2 over Alex Kocay.
Lide won a battle of state runners-up, 3-1, over Steve Lanciotti. Lide and Lanciotti have met several times: Lide won in December, 9-1, but also has been pinned.
A takedown with 41 seconds left secured a 3-1 victory for top-ranked Bryan McDermott (135) over Curley's Tom Boettcher, whom McDermott (31-0) hammered, 11-3, last weekend.
Said McDermott: "They got us. They finally got us."
Pub Date: 1/23/99