Few wrestling programs in Maryland have has much tradition as Mount Saint Joseph, which makes its 2018-19 season even more remarkable.
The Gaels, coached by alumnus Harry Barnabae, ran the table in dual meets, finishing with a perfect 14-0 record, and won tournament titles at Ocean Lakes (Va.), Mount Mat Madness, War on the Shore, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Maryland Independent Schools. They also took third at Beast of the East in Delaware, ahead of several nationally ranked squads.
Individually, all 14 Mount Saint Joseph varsity wrestlers placed in the top three at the MIAA and MIS tournaments to send the entire team to National Preps, where they had 10 placers — including its first champion since 2014 in junior heavyweight Isaac Righter — to finish third behind Blair Academy (N.J.) and Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), the nation’s two top-ranked teams.
“You don’t think about it until it’s over, but it’s pretty crazy,” Barnabae said of the MIAA and MIS tournaments. “It just showed the resilience of our guys coming back and placing third. It was just amazing. They’re real competitive tournaments, so I was excited about it and I know everybody on the team really worked together to win for the team and I think it showed.”
Barnabae said the Gaels, who went wire-to-wire as The Baltimore Sun’s No. 1 ranked team and finished the year ranked No. 23 in the county by InterMat and No. 20 by USA Today, accomplished each of their goals as a team.
“On the surface we hit all our goals this year as a team. Naturally there are some individual performances you always look back on and say you need to improve here and there are some things to work on, but I think overall the kids were happy with how they finished, they were healthy for the most part and they peaked at the right time,” said Barnabae, who has led his alma mater the last eight seasons.
“The years from 2014 to 2018, there were some real successful teams there. But without question this was the most outstanding team I’ve had.”