The Mount Mat Madness wrestling tournament is one of the toughest in the state, but No. 2 John Carroll made winning it look easy.
The Patriots put on a dominating team performance Monday and Tuesday, leading the 11th annual tournament from start to finish and scoring 204.5 points, 41 more than runner-up Fauquier (Va.).
"It's all about the team. It takes a lot of horses to pull the wagon," John Carroll coach Keith Watson said. "We had nine guys place, and with a kid out, that's pretty strong."
No. 3 Mount Saint Joseph, the tournament host, finished third with 143.5 points, while No. 11 Glenelg (12th, 80), No. 4 Loyola Blakefield (13th, 80) and St. Vincent Pallotti (14th, 75) ended in the top 15 of the 31-team tournament.
"You always hope you could do better, but John Carroll had a great tournament," Gaels coach Harry Barnabae said. "This gives us motivation for the rest of the season."
The Patriots had a tournament-high four wrestlers in the finals, but Austin Ross fell to Seldon Wright of Oscar Smith (Va.), 15-8, in the 160-pound championship, and Chris Almony lost to Mount Saint Joseph's Sam Rowell, 4-0, in the 170-pound final.
"I thought we would have done better in the finals," Watson said. "Obviously you want to win them all, but that last round — this is pretty tough when you get to the high end and last round, it's stiff."
The Patriots' Hunter Ritter, who is nationally ranked and placed third at the prestigious Beast of the East tournament last weekend, knew he had to pick up the slack and get his team at least one champion.
Ritter didn't wrestle his best match, but it was enough to win a 3-2 decision over Jeff Velez of Queen of Peace (N.J.) in the 195-pound championship. Ritter beat Velez at the Beast of the East tournament last weekend as well.
"I just wrestled solid," Ritter said. "I didn't score as many points as I wanted to, but worked my offense enough to win the match."
John Carroll's Christian Scott, who placed fourth at this tournament last season, pinned Glenelg's Jamie Cooch in 2 minutes, 52 seconds to earn a tournament title at heavyweight, putting a stamp on a dominating performance by Scott and his team.
In one of only two championship matches that featured two local wrestlers, Severn's Michael Doetsch beat Mount Saint Joseph's Kyle Trybus, 2-1, to earn his first Mount Mat Madness title after finishing second last season.
"It means a lot [to win this tournament]," said Doetsch, who placed seventh at National Preps last season to earn All-American status. "I've been working at this since freshman year. ... I'm really pumped, but I feel like I could have done a lot more out there."
In the matchup of the day, Rowell came out on top against his rival Almony. It is the fifth time the two have wrestled each other since the start of last season and, with the victory, Rowell has now won three.
Rowell, who was wrestling in his first tournament after suffering a slight hamstring pull earlier this season, earned his first Mount Mat Madness championship after losing to Almony at the event last year and finishing fourth.
"After the first takedown, I knew exactly what I was doing," Rowell said. "I kind of controlled him the whole match ... It's exactly how I wanted it to go."
Rowell learned from his previous matches with Almony that, in order to beat him, he had to hold Almony down and not let him on his feet, where he is dangerous with throws. Rowell was on top for nearly 5 1/2 minutes of the 6-minute bout.
"Sam wrestled a great match, Chris Almony is a competitor," Barnabae said. "Every time they go at it, it's a close match."
Pallotti's Justin Chenault spent the summer focusing on lacrosse, but his lack of mat time didn't show as he cruised to a 5-1 win over Ethan Krause of Georgetown Prep in the 132-pound final.
"I finished second last year, so it feels great to win it," he said.
Chenault, who finished fifth at the private schools state tournament in each of the last three seasons and second in the MIAA tournament twice, said this win gives him confidence that he can win both tournaments this year.
Mount Saint Joseph's Cody Trybus improved on his third-place Mount Mat Madness tournament finish last season by getting second, falling to Victor Echevarria of Centreville (Va.) in a close 2-1 match in the 113-pound championship.
Boys Latin's Rocco Bruno upset a second-seeded Virginia wrestler to reach the finals, but he fell to Virginia 6A state champion Codie Bowers of CD Hylton, 10-2, in the 182-pound final, while top-seeded Jake Nordhausen lost, 6-3, to Paul Triandafilou of Georgetown Prep in the 220-pound championship.
John Carroll's CJ Skokowski (120) and Steven Jernigan (145), Loyola Blakefield's Nick Moreno (160) and Archbishop Spalding's Jacob Parker (220) all overcame semifinal losses to finish third.