McDonogh is finally 2nd to none

Eagles' MIAA win marks their first conference title since 1961

Curley second


February 10, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The second-ranked McDonogh wrestling team has been scratching at the door for some time. Yesterday afternoon, the Eagles finally burst through.

After taking second place the past three seasons, McDonogh won its first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association title in 41 years, as six Eagles claimed individual titles to lead the Owings Mills school past top-ranked Archbishop Curley, 207-191.5. Tournament host Mount St. Joseph finished in third place with 179 points.

"I'd say we were due," said McDonogh coach Pete Welch, whose team won the school's first conference wrestling championship since 1961 and avenged two losses to Curley this season. "I'm just really proud of our kids. We had several losses throughout the year, and got beat up on by some competition from out of state. But that gave us confidence. Our kids learned from those losses, came back and were really priming for the end-of-season tournaments."

Rob Willey (112 pounds), Chet Naylor (125), Rick Tippett (135), Zak Johns (140), Travis Holmes (145) and Geoff Miller (189) all won individual titles for McDonogh, which went 6-0 in championship bouts. Naylor, a senior, is a third generation McDonogh wrestling champion. Both his father, Scott, and grandfather Irvin attended McDonogh and won conference wrestling titles.

"Maybe there was a little bit of pressure, but mostly it was from myself," said Naylor, who pinned Daniel Jackson of Cardinal Gibbons in the final in 2 minutes, 37 seconds. "In my dad's senior year, he was MIAA champ, state champ and national prep champ, and that's what I'm hoping to achieve as well."

Elsewhere, Mount St. Joseph won three individual titles and Curley two. However, the Friars' wrestlers were beaten in five of seven title bouts. Mount St. Joseph took all of its titles over Curley wrestlers. At 103, second-ranked Bruce Dulski won his second conference crown with a 9-2 victory over Curley's Ben Sills. At 130, the Gaels' Aaron Herwig defeated Mike Wood, 4-3; and at 160, Sam Lewnes downed Curley's Rob Miller, 9-3.

In the 119-pound division, Curley's Mark Frey won his second conference title with a 9-0 victory over Henry Blue of Boys' Latin. And in the afternoon's most exciting bout, tournament outstanding wrestler Tom Boettcher of Curley outlasted Boys' Latin's Jerome Featherstone, 5-4, in double overtime in the final at 152.

Boettcher led 4-2 but was penalized a point for stalling with 12 seconds remaining and allowed Featherstone to escape as the buzzer sounded. In the first overtime, Featherstone lifted Boettcher completely off the mat. But Boettcher, who lost twice to Featherstone this season, held on to force double overtime and executed a quick escape eight seconds in.

"People tried to tell me a bunch of different things, but it was all mental," Boettcher said. "The bottom line is that [in the first two bouts] he wrestled the full six minutes, and I wrestled like two periods. Today, I wrestled a lot harder."

In the heavyweight division, Mike Dowling of Gilman pinned Paul Marchese of Boys' Latin in 4:53 for the Greyhounds' only title. And at 171, Pallotti won its first-ever individual championship when Steve Jennings pinned Tim Curran of Curley in 5:13.

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