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2019-20 All-Metro wrestling Coach of the Year: Pete Welch, McDonogh

Peter Welch

McDonogh

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It’s hard to call a team that routinely battled for Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Maryland Independent Schools state tournament titles the past few years unlucky. But that’s exactly what McDonogh was — before this season.

The Eagles for the first time in several seasons stayed clear of major injuries throughout the lineup and relied on a senior-laden squad to finish with a 19-0 dual-meet record and win the MIAA tournament crown with six individual champions, ending Mount Saint Joseph’s three-year run.

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Though the Gaels won the MIS championship the following week, McDonogh ended the year by placing fourth at National Preps with three finalists, including a champion in Wrestler of the Year Cooper Flynn.

“Great athletes make great coaches and we certainly had that,” Welch said. “I without a doubt could not be considered Coach of the Year without considering my staff of coaches that have been with me for years and are equally passionate and sharing the workload. Without the group of guys I coach with none of this could happen.”

For a storied program such as McDonogh, it was noteworthy when it won the Virginia Duals in for the first time Jan. 10-11. The Eagles defeated St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.), 48-19, Smyrna (Del.), 48-22, Nazareth (Pa.), 35-30, and Erie Cathedral Prep (Pa.), 40-30, to finish the weekend in Hampton 4-0. Nazareth finished the season ranked No. 24 in the country by InterMat.

The Eagles also defeated Mount Saint Joseph, 41-25, on Jan. 31 for the first time since 2015 and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore Sun and No. 42 in the nation by InterMat.

Welch said winning the Virginia Duals was a “turning point” in their season.

“We started to jell as a team and realize these kids are buying into everything we’re saying,” Welch said. “They’re reaching out to each other and care about each other and support each other and want to win together.”

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