McDonogh 125-pounder Chet Naylor thought for sure he would face Chesapeake-Anne Arundel's two-time state champ Matt Eveleth in the finals of yesterday's seventh annual Hammond Invitational.
Afterall, Eveleth was a senior three-time state finalist who hadn't lost since his freshman year, a span of 83 bouts entering his semifinal against DeMatha's National Prep champ Rudy Rueda.
But Rueda derailed Naylor's expectations, his 3-0 victory relegating the University of Pennsylvania-bound Eveleth to the consolation bracket of a high school tournament for the first time in his career.
But the victory was no less sweet for Naylor (30-1), who earned The Golden Bear Award for a 6-4 decision over Rueda that led No. 2 McDonogh to a third-place finish behind champion St. Mark's of Delaware and No. 1 Curley.
"I was thinking I'd see Eveleth in the finals, but it didn't work out that way," said Naylor, who was joined in victory by teammates Zak Johns (140) and Geoff Miller (171), with Ricky Tippett (135) and Travis Holmes (145) finishing second.
"It was an adjustment, wrestling Rueda," said Naylor, a senior. "But you take them how you can get them."
Eveleth, who has 85 career pins, finished third. He is headed for the University of Pennsylvania, where his brother, Brian, an assistant at Chesapeake, wrestled before graduating in 1996, and where his brother, Jeff, is a sophomore.
Top-ranked Curley had no individual champs, but showed impressive depth as Mark Frey (119), Mike Wood (130) and Eric Oppel (189) finished second, and Ben Sills (103), Brad Kahl (135) and Tom Boettcher (152) were third. St. Mark's crowned Bobby Shaw (119), Joe Ferrera (145), Andrew Donofrio (152) and Brian Willis (189).
"We'd already beat St. Mark's, and it would have been nice to beat them again," said Frey, whose team lost to Mount Hebron at the Arundel Tournament. "Our main goal was to beat Mount Hebron. We proved we're the best in Maryland."
Johns (28-2, 20 pins) was sensational, being unscored upon in four bouts. He pinned three opponents and beat a fourth, 13-0, raising his career mark to a school-record 137-19 with 84 pins.
"I was fourth here last year, so I felt like I had something to prove," Johns said. "I came out to wrestle hard and got after everybody."
Winning titles for No. 10 Mount St. Joseph (fifth) were Bruce Dulski (103), Aaron Herwig (130) and Sam Lewnes (160).
Dulski (22-3) won a rematch of last year's private schools state title, 5-3, over Sills, then edged DeMatha's Mike Rowe, 2-1, on a takedown with 22 seconds left. Rowe is ranked No. 1 in the state and had beaten Dulski, 3-1, earlier this year.
"I wasn't ranked in the newspaper. I wanted to be ranked again and I wanted revenge," said Dulski, wearing a new white singlets given to Gaels wrestlers who make tournament finals. "I'm the first one to wear it, and the first one to win in it."
Herwig (20-5) scored his second win of the season over Wood, 6-3. Wood (22-4) was coming off a 6-4 overtime win over St. Mark's Pat Atkinson, a Delaware state champ who defeated Franklin's Matt Schuster for the title here two years ago.
"I wasn't really concerned about Wood. I controlled him by beating him on his feet," said Herwig, who beat Hammond's Russell Tebeleff, 5-1, in the semifinals.
Mount Hebron freshman Justin Neal (heavyweight) and Boys' Latin's Jerome Featherstone (152) were second. Featherstone beat Boettcher for the second time this year, 7-5, in the semifinals, but lost his title bout, 9-4, to Donofrio, a three-time winner of the tournament.
DeMatha's Cam Watkins (22-3) edged Chesapeake's No. 1 Corey Bowers (21-1) in their 112-pound title match, 2-1. It was an intriguing bout since Watkins lost, 3-2, earlier this year to Eastern Tech's state champ Trent Dixon, whom Bowers already had beaten.