The McDonogh wrestlers like to feed off one another, and when one of them dominates an opponent, it can have a snowball effect for the rest of the team.
The top-ranked Eagles used that momentum yesterday to win the Mount Mat Madness championship at CCBC-Catonsville for the second consecutive year. McDonogh was in first place throughout the tournament and finished with 236 points, ahead of second-place Wyoming Seminary, which finished with 204.
"We are real tight as a team. Half of the team boards at McDonogh, so we are like a family," said McDonogh sophomore Nick Schenk, who edged Simon Kitzis of Wyoming Seminary, 3-1, to win the 119-pound title. "We just feed off each other. This was big for our team."
For the second straight year, the tournament championship was a two-team race between McDonogh and Wyoming Seminary. The Eagles placed six wrestlers in the finals, the Blue Knights five. The teams directly faced off at 119, 130 and 135 pounds.
Top-seeded Nicky Gordon (130) of Wyoming Seminary beat No. 2 seed Ben Levin of McDonogh, 5-3, to even the school's head-to-head championship matches after Schenk's victory. Josh Fitch (135), however, avenged that loss in the ensuing match when he beat Cullen Isenberg, 5-2. Fitch, a three-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champion, picked up his first Mount Mat Madness title after falling short the three previous years.
Lane Clelland (285) also won a title for McDonogh.
Josh Asper (171) of No. 6 Hereford, a three-time Maryland public schools state champion, defeated Brock Budesheim of Sussex Central, 3-0, to capture a title in the Bulls' first appearance in the tournament.
No. 3 Glenelg placed eighth overall with 105 points as Brian Marcoux (125) and Tim Chase (152) reached the finals. Marcoux lost to Codey Combs of Delaware's Sussex Central, 15-3. Chase, a No. 5 seed, defeated Mike Brant of Westmont-Hilltop, 10-4, after also knocking off top seed Shane Milam of McDonogh in the semifinals.
"I was bit nervous going into the first match because this is Mount Mat Madness," Chase said. "Once I got through the first match, I knew I had to keep it going. In the semis, it was a real tough match against Milam."
Sophomore Frank Goodwin of No. 5 Mount St. Joseph defeated Kyle Johnson of Wyoming Seminary, 5-0, to win the 112-pound championship. The Gaels finished in sixth place with 112.5.