After top-ranked Curley snagged its emotional, first-ever dual meet victory over Mount St. Joseph last Friday, Friars senior Paul Boettcher feared an emotional let-down against sixth-ranked league rival McDonogh.
But about halfway through the Friars' 43-18 blowout of their visiting Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association rivals last night, Boettcher knew his fears were groundless.
Inspired by a 103-pound, 3-1 overtime victory by No. 2 Darien Kess over McDonogh's sixth-ranked Zak Johns, Curley (11-0, 5-0) won the first nine bouts for a 43-0 lead, capped by Boettcher's pin after leading his bout, 13-1.
McDonogh (11-5, 5-2) closed with pins by Kellen Williams (189) and Jameel Day (Hwt.), a 21-7 technical fall by Andy Seal (160) and a 14-7 decision by Joe Rosenbaum (171). However, a 16-2 rout by Curley's P. J. Kirhagis (145) already had clinched the match, 37-0.
"After peaking against St. Joe, we could have taken these guys for granted, but we showed the power to crush them," Boettcher said.
The Friars got pins from Antwuan Lide (125), Brian Bricker (130) and Tom Boettcher (135), in addition to an 8-0 decision by Tim Williams (112) and a 19-2 technical fall by Brian Kirhagis (119) -- who scored nine near-fall points -- and a 5-3 win by Shawn Calhoun (140) over Geoff Miller.
But the Kess-Johns bout was among the state's most anticipated, as Kess avenged a 3-0 loss of three years ago with his single-season school record 123rd takedown.
A buzzer-beating escape had Kess ahead, 1-0, entering the third period but Johns, a freshman, tied the bout with 1: 20 left in regulation. Kess had countered deep double-leg takedown shots twice in the first period and once in the third.
A sophomore, Kess has split victories with Annapolis Area Christian's No. 1-ranked Luke Palumbo, and has twice beaten Loyola's No. 4 Danny Natterman.
"I thought my match gave us a boost," Kess said. "It was every bit as tough as I thought."
Rosenbaum (24-0, 17 pins) won a battle of wrestlers tied for the No. 2 ranking, overcoming a 4-2 second-period for a 14-7 win over Pat Curran that included six near-fall points. Curran was third at states at 160 last year, and Rosenbaum was third at 171.
"They had strength on us and were able to horse us around a bit," Rosenbaum said. "I tell you what, if they didn't wrestle their best tonight, I don't want to see it."
Pub Date: 1/27/99