Mount St. Joe makes it 22 straight titles Five winners lead Gaels to MIAA crown again


February 16, 1997|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mount St. Joseph coach Paul Triplett wondered if his team felt more pressure in recent weeks as it prepared to go after a 22nd straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament championship.

After all, some cracks had appeared in the Gaels' shell this season. They lost several starters from last year, edged Archbishop Curley by only two points earlier this month and did not challenge DeMatha in the Maryland Independent Schools tournament two weeks ago.

But the host Gaels left little doubt about who the MIAA's top team is this season at the conference tournament yesterday. Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph captured five individual championships and went on to win its 22nd consecutive MIAA (or MSA) title.

Kyle Chiaverini (125, 29-4), Erik Schafer (140), Dan Mattson (145, 31-1), Mike Schaal (152, 28-6) and heavyweight Ben Dyer (23-2) won for the Gaels, whose 217.5 points easily outdistanced No. 4 Curley (162.5), No. 8 McDonogh (136) and No. 9 Calvert Hall (125.5).

Brett Gendron (112) finished runner-up for St. Joe, while Steve Lanciotti (103), Bryan McDermott (130) and Marc Hoffman (135) were third.

"It's an awful lot of pressure," said Triplett. "Everyone kind of expects us to win regardless of the year, and that adds more pressure."

And the St. Joe wrestlers certainly feel it.

"We don't want to be here when [the streak] finally falls," said Mattson, ranked No. 2 in the state.

Chiaverini (fifth in the state) got the team's first title with his 10-4 decision over Rob Arnold of Boys' Latin. Schafer, Mattson and Schall then won consecutive championships from 140 to 152.

Schafer (ranked No. 3) knocked off second-ranked Garry Colbert (Boys' Latin), 10-7. Mattson then rolled to a 17-5 decision over Calvert Hall's Mike Light, but Schaal needed an escape with 11 seconds left for a 3-2 victory over Mike Kernan from St. Paul's.

Dyer wrapped up the evening with his 21st pin out of 23 victories. He got Nick Alevrogiannis at 4: 22 to end the match in style for the Gaels.

Curley took second, despite not having an individual champion. Tony Diem (119), Paul Boettcher (130), Mike Boettcher (135) and Sal Aquia (160) all suffered one- or two-point losses in the finals.

"I thought we had a chance," said Curley coach Alan Gebhart. FTC "We had 10 place-winners, they had 12. Their place-winners finished higher than ours."

Tony Russo (41-7) of Calvert Hall edged Diem, 2-1, in their match. Cardinals teammate Rob Johns (45-2, No. 3 in state) scored the final four points to nip Paul Boettcher, 6-4.

Joe Smith (31-2, No. 3) of McDonogh got a takedown 19 seconds into overtime for a 3-1 decision over second-ranked Mike Boettcher. But Aquia, ranked No. 1 in the state, may have had the toughest defeat of all, falling to Jason Leneau of Boys' Latin, 3-1.

Leneau barely held off Aquia's takedown attempts with 30 and three seconds left for the victory. Aquia had won the pair's other two meetings in the past two weeks.

"The last 30 seconds were very important," said Leneau, named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. "I knew he'd come with everything he had."

Calvert Hall finished with three champions overall. In addition to Russo and Johns, Chris Hanlon (112, 41-6) won in what may have been the most dramatic ending. Hanlon trailed Gendron, 3-2, with about 30 seconds left, but scored 10 points in that time for a 12-3 victory.

Will Filbert of McDonogh (33-0) showed why he's the top-ranked wrestler at 103 with his 15-0 technical fall over Henry Friskey of Boys' Latin.

St. Mary's won the other two matches. Josh White (171, 27-1, second in state) edged third-ranked Damian Davis of Gilman, 7-5. Teammate Ernie Listman (189, 16-4) used a takedown 23 seconds into overtime to top McDonogh's Phil Rosenbaum, 8- 6.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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