When the area’s two best wrestling teams finally met on the mat, each brought a different dynamic. South Carroll brought its enthusiasm, Mount Saint Joseph its depth. Score one for depth.
The top-ranked Gaels (9-0) rallied from a 10-point deficit with four matches to go to defeat host and No. 2 South Carroll (26-1), 36-25, before a huge crowd Thursday night.
The comeback was highlighted by 195-pounder Brandon Beall. Wrestling his first varsity match, Beall found himself in an uncomfortable spot when he was asked to take on South Carroll’s Jenaro Marchany with the Gaels trailing 25-18.
Beall led the match 2-0 after the first period, with only a takedown to show for his efforts. Needing points, he flipped Marchany and was able to pin him just 23 seconds into the second period. The Gaels’ bench erupted, with Beall giving his team six much-needed points to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 25-24 with two matches left.
“[Beall] came out there under a lot of pressure and poured it on,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Harry Barnabae said. “Brandon’s been working with the program for the last two years. We’ve been grooming him for situations just like this. When we needed him, he really stepped forward.”
The Gaels, who have nationally ranked wrestlers in the higher weights, got forfeits at 220 and 285 to account for the final margin.
Perhaps the most exciting match of the night came at 160 pounds, where South Carroll’s AJ Rodrigues, a defending state champion, beat Mount Saint Joseph’s Ben Smith, 2-1, in triple overtime. Rodrigues executed an escape about 25 seconds into the third extra period to secure the win.
“I wrestled a great wrestler in Ben Smith,” Rodrigues said. “He’s really well known around the country, and I just had a little more in the gas tank. It was a great match.”
In the next match, South Carroll’s Rylan Moose, a state runner-up last year, defeated the Gaels’ Nicolas Barnabae, 5-4. Moose, a senior, leaned on his experience against the younger Barnabae and held on for the victory. Barnabae entered the third period trailing 5-3 but could only record an escape before time ran out.
Another great match was between South Carroll freshman Jojo Gigliotti and the Gaels’ Carter Nogle at 120. Gigliotti gave Nogle fits right from the beginning, extending a 2-1 first-period lead to 5-1 after the second. He seemed to tire the junior out as the match went on.
Nogle’s brother Coleman, a senior, did must better in his 132-pound match. The senior built up a 15-5 lead in the second period before finally pinning Angelo Marchany at the 4:55 mark.
After that, the Cavaliers got wins by Michael Pizzuto (138), Anthony Rodrigues (145) and Gage Owen at (152) to set the stage for AJ Rodrigues and Moose. After that, the Gaels found themselves trailing 25-15 with four matches remaining.
“It’s been a while [since we trailed like that]. We knew coming in here there would be a couple of swing matches that could go either way. They came out on top in some of those matches,” Coach Barnabae said. “I have to give credit to AJ Rodrigues, [Jojo Gigliotti] at 120 pounds and Moose came out on top. We expected them to be tough.”
South Carroll interim coach Anthony Winfield — who took over this week after first-year coach Jay Braunstein stepped down and was placed on paid administrative leave — said that even though the Cavaliers lost, the whole night was just a great experience for his program and the South Carroll community.
“We had our chances to win, but we came out and wrestled against the best team in the state, and we held our own. They came out and wrestled and gave everything they had,” Winfield said. “I’m extremely proud of the effort. We’ll use this as motivation going forward.”
Mount Saint Joseph 36, South Carroll 25
106: Cooper (MSJ) d Barnhill, 5-0; 113: E. Owen (SC) d Tamai, 2-0; 120: Gigliotti (SC) d Ca. Nogle, 9-3; 126: Conley (MSJ) p Hobbs, 1:15; 132: Co, Nogle (MSJ) p A Marchany, 4:55; 138: Pizzuto (SC) p Diggs, 4:59; A Rodrigues (SC) d Procopio, 3-0; 152: G Owen (SC) d Cannaday, 11-2; 160: AJ Rodrigues (SC) d Smith, 2-1 (3OT); 170: Moose (SC) d Barnabae, 5-4; 182: Lewis (MSJ) d M. Rodrigues, 9-4; 195: Beall (MSJ) p J. Marchany, 2:37; 220: Phillips (MSJ) won by forfeit; 285: Bage (MSJ) won by forfeit.