Host Mount Saint Joseph scored 319 points to win the 15th annual Mount Mat Madness wrestling tournament Saturday afternoon for the second straight year.
The Gaels crowned four champions — Chris Barnabae (120 pounds), Clement Woods (126), Nathan Porter (132) and Isaac Righter (285) — and Centennial senior Jason Kraisser (152) won for the second consecutive year and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.
Buford (206 points), the two-time defending Georgia state champions, Pennsylvania’s Westmont Hilltop (173), Loyola Blakefield (146) and Virginia’s Liberty (141) rounded out the top five teams.
Mount Saint Joseph coach Harry Barnabae said he was concerned about a letdown following the team’s breakthrough performance last weekend at the notorious Beast of the East tournament in Delaware, where the Gaels placed fourth, “but it didn’t happen.”
“They were focused even with a couple kids out,” Harry Barnabae said. “Everybody on the team placed. The effort overall from the team after going through the grind is really important.”
Kraisser’s victory was the headlining event of the tournament and the final match of the day. The three-time Maryland state champion squared off against Charlie Darracott, a two-time Georgia state champion and a NHSCA junior All-American, and the match lived up to the hype.
Darracott earned the first takedown and held a 2-1 lead going into the second period, but Kraisser tied the score at two with an escape in the second and then picked up two more takedowns in the period to hold a 6-3 lead entering the final period. A reversal for Darracott cut Kraisser’s lead to one, but another escape and a takedown gave Kraisser a 9-5 victory.
Kraisser, a Campbell commit whose only four losses in his high school career came at Mount Mat Madness during his freshman and sophomore seasons, said he was chomping at the bit to face another high-level competitor after Centennial was barred from attending the Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament earlier this month.
“I was excited. I went in thinking this was a good challenge for me,” said Kraisser, who reached the final with three pins and remains undefeated on the season. “Not being able to go to Ironman this year was really upsetting but having a good competitor here almost made up for it.”
Kraisser joins his older brothers Nathan and Austin as winners of the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler award.
Chris Barnabae, who was last year’s most outstanding wrestler at the tournament, won his second Mount Mat Madness title as well. He turned a close match into a comfortable lead with a commanding and physical finish and beat St. Mary’s Ryken freshman Evan Eldridge, 10-3.
“When it was tight, I was thinking about my dad coaching me and telling me to do my best. He wants me to go all out and leave nothing on the mat. You have six minutes to go all out,” said Chris Barnabae, who earned a No. 14 national ranking by FloWrestling after beating the Blair Academy’s Trevor Mastrogiovanni in the quarterfinals at the Beast of the East and placing fifth. “My dad always says when we’re practicing that you’ve got to be mean.”
Righter, who also jumped into the national rankings and is ninth by FloWrestling after winning Beast of the East, also repeated and dominated his bracket with ease. He won his four matches by fall in 14, 18, 10 and 34 seconds, the latter against MIAA rival Loyola Blakefield’s Bennett Traurig in the final.
Woods defeated St. Mary’s Ryken Blake Jury, who won the 113-pound 4A-3A state title at Huntingtown last season, in the finals by a score of 8-7. Woods rode Jury the entire third period to hold on for the one-point win and capture his first-ever varsity tournament title.
Porter was a runner-up a year ago but left no doubt this time around. He shut out Fauquier’s Gino Camarca to earn an 8-0 major decision in the final but was equally excited about the dominating team display for the second straight season.
“I got it done,” Porter said. “It means a ton to all of us because we’re at home, this is our gym and our mats, so we need to dominate and I think our team did a good job of doing that.”
The Gaels’ Jonathan Short finished runner-up at 170 pounds, losing to 2017 4A-3A state champion John Podnednik of Leonardtown, while Parker Warner lost by fall to Buford’s Evan DiMaggio in the 220-pound final.
106: Mason Barrett (Liberty) dec. Nick Corday (Buford), 2-0
113: Logan Ashton (Buford) dec. Luke Kowalski (St. John’s), 3-2 (UTB)
120: Chris Barnabae (MSJ) dec. Evan Eldridge (St. Mary’s Ryken), 10-3
126: Clement Woods (MSJ) dec. Blake Jury (St. Mary’s Ryken), 8-7
132: Nathan Porter (MSJ) major dec. Gino Camarca (Fauquier), 8-0
138: Ethan Kelly (W. Hilltop) dec. Alex Smith (Kettle Run), 5-2
145: Nick Stonecheck (Buford) pinned Aidan Rocha (St. John’s), 4:00
152: Jason Kraisser (Centennial) dec. Charlie Darracott (Buford), 9-5
160: Blaine Bergey (Buford) dec. TJ Stewart (St. John’s), 5-4
170: John Podsednik (Leonardtown) dec. Jonathan Short (MSJ), 13-9
182: Sam Fisher (Fauquier) pinned Jelani Machen (Landon), 4:31
195: Nathan Dugan (Buford) major dec. Kevin Maoksy (Urbana), 13-5
220: Evan DiMaggio (Buford) pinned Parker Warner (MSJ), 5:57
285: Isaac Righter (MSJ) pinned Bennett Traurig (Loyola), 0:34
TEAM SCORES (TOP 20):
1. Mount Saint Joseph, 319 points
2. Buford (Ga.), 206
3. Westmont Hilltop (Pa.), 173
4. Loyola Blakefield, 146
5. Liberty (Va.), 141
6. St. John’s, 135
7. St. Mary’s Ryken, 99
8. Salesianum (De.), 96.5
9. Leonardtown, 96
10. Fauquier (Va.), 91.5
11. Lake Norman (N.C.), 81
12. St. George’s (De.), 68
12. William Penn (De.), 68
14. Middletown, 66
15. Fairfax (Va.), 62
16. Kettle Run (Va.), 56.5
17. Landon, 51
18. Urbana, 50
19. Centennial, 49
20. Gilman, 46.5