Mount St. Joseph senior Jake Hulsey looked at the scoreboard before he took the mat in the final match last night. On the line was not only victory against rival and No. 1 McDonogh, but also the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title.
"I dreamed of being in this position," Hulsey said after earning an 11-6 decision over McDonogh's Matt Shinsky at 135 pounds that gave host and No. 2 Mount St. Joseph a 27-22 victory. "There was a lot of pressure, but I've always had the dream. The final match, the title on the line. My adrenaline was pumping. It was awesome. There was no doubt in my mind that I could [win]."
McDonogh coach Pete Welch said the fact that Mount St. Joseph put its best wrestlers against the Eagles' best and that McDonogh could not scratch out a win in those bouts made the difference.
"It was a close match," Welch said. "Weights 215, 103 and 152 could have gone either way."
At 215 pounds, a physical match between Austin Bohn and Roman Braglio excited the crowd and went to Mount St. Joseph's Bohn, 1-0. At 103, the Gaels' Kevin Johnson won, 3-2. And at 152, Danny Orem won, 6-3, for Mount St. Joseph.
The win gives the Gaels a 7-1 conference record, the same as McDonogh. Each team has one match left, but barring an upset by John Carroll, Mount St. Joseph would claim the conference crown based on its victory over the Eagles.
"We're back," Gaels coach Kirk Salvo said. "It will be our first conference title since 2005."
And it would end McDonogh's three-year reign.