When Mount St. Joseph's Frankie Goodwin wrestles, he usually wins. That's what he did at the Mount Mat Madness tournament last year. And that's what he continued to do yesterday in the madhouse atmosphere of CCBC-Catonsville's fieldhouse.
With six matches going on at once and fans packing the stands on all sides, Goodwin worked methodically on his plan to repeat as the 119-pound champion today and help his team win its own tournament for only the second time in the event's six-year history.
Yesterday, he pinned Old Mill's Felipe Aleman in 35 seconds and then pinned Richie Reed of Hodson (Del.) in 1:52 to move into this morning's quarterfinals and help the Gaelsfinish the first day of competition in first place - something of a surprise, given that this 29-team tournament includes two ranked in the top 10 nationally.
"I'm just trying to get us as many points as I can to help our team," said Goodwin, who has been sidelined by injury off and on over this season and last.
Last season, he overcame a fractured jaw and finished second at the national preps. Last spring, he pulled a muscle off his hip bone but made it back to the mats this season. But Dec. 29, at the PowerAde Tournament, he felt something wrong in his hip again. He couldn't finish that tournament and was still out in early January when then-No. 1 Mount St. Joseph was upset by Archbishop Spalding.
"But it seems fine now," he said.
Yesterday, the No. 2 Gaels seemed fine, too, as eight wrestlers advanced to today's quarterfinals.
They'll need every one of them. Entering today's quarterfinals, Mount St. Joseph leads with 70.5 points. Robinson (Va.) is second with 63, followed by St. Mark's (Del.) with 61 and Spring Grove (Pa.) with 55. Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) is fifth with 54.
Wyoming Seminary and St. Mark's are ranked seventh and ninth nationally, respectively, by Amateur Wrestling News. St. Mark's also has eight wrestlers in the quarters, and Wyoming has nine.
"[Today] is separation day," Wyoming coach John Gordon said. "We'll see if Mount St. Joe's depth represents the quality to stay at the front. We're down five starters, but we trained to win this tournament."
Goodwin and his teammates didn't appear to flinch.
"We're just going to try to win as many bouts as we can," Goodwin said.
Said Mount St. Joseph captain Graceson Pastirik: "It's the big day. Upsets happen."
No. 1 St. Frances 95, McDonogh 64: : Terrell Vinson scored a game-high 31 points to power the Panthers (17-2) past the Eagles.
St. John's 69, No. 7 Mount St. Joseph 64: : The Vikings jumped out to a 12-point halftime lead en route to their win over the visiting Gaels (16-5).
No. 8 Milford Mill 75, Patapsco 57:: The Millers (9-3) jumped out to an early lead and cruised to victory over the host Patriots (10-4).
No. 14 Arundel 73, South River 51: : Dererick Rhodes and Auraum Nuiriankh each scored 15 points to power the host Wildcats (12-1) past the Seahawks.
Marriotts Ridge 40, River Hill 39, OT:: Nick Doolin's basket with 1.2 seconds left in overtime gave the Mustangs (4-7) the win over the visiting Hawks.
Atholton 58, Glenelg 57:: Matt Robinson's basket with six seconds left completed a comeback from 10 points as the Raiders (11-2) defeated the host Gladiators (3-10).
No. 5 Arundel 66, South River 38: : Simone Egwu had a game-high 23 points to power the host Wildcats (9-3) past the Seahawks.
St. Paul's 54, No. 12 Severn 46: : The host Gators (18-0) put together a balanced scoring attack to upset the Admirals (11-2).
Northeast 65, No. 13 Old Mill 63:: Iesha Butler's layup as time expired gave the Eagles (5-6) the upset over the host Patriots (9-4.)
No. 14 Mount Hebron 61, Hammond 36: : Brittany Bowen had a game-high 20 points to lead the Vikings (11-1) past the host Golden Bears (4-6).