Entering last night's dual meet with fifth-ranked Boys' Latin, top-ranked Mount St. Joseph had been dismissing rivals as casually as one might flick lint off one's clothing.
But the visiting Lakers gave the Gaels all they could handle before succumbing in a 36-21 loss in their Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association opener.
"We were kind of sloppy, but they were definitely a lot tougher than we thought," said two-time state champion Sam Lewnes (171 pounds), who gave the Gaels a 16-6 lead after six bouts with a 48-second fall. "We might have taken them lightly, but they're good. This shows we're not untouchable."
The Lakers (5-2 overall, 3-1 league) won three straight for an 18-16 lead, getting a 2-0 victory by Elliott Freed (189) over Jason Lanciotti, a 9-4 overtime decision by Colin Kahoe (215) over Demitri Demetriou and a forfeit to heavyweight Paul Marchese.
But the Gaels (4-0, 1-0) finished by winning four of the last five bouts, with an 11-0 rout by Louis Rounevar over Michael Corso giving his team a 32-18 lead with one bout left. The run included a pin by Andrew Gold (103), a 10-0 win by Tim Bohlman (130) and a forfeit to Bruce Dulski (112).
Boys' Latin got wins from Lance Wilson (125), Brian Saval (140) and Jerome Featherstone (152). Wilson edged Alex Ward, 4-1, and Saval beat Bobby Kinsella, 8-3. Featherstone built a 7-1 first-period lead - including three near-fall points - in a 10-3 win over highly touted freshman Mack Lewnes.
"I was going for the technical fall or the pin," said Featherstone, who dropped from 160, where he is 14-0. "I'm wrestling 160 for the rest of the year. I'm going to stay there and wait for big Sam [Lewnes] to come down, or maybe bump up to see him."
The Gaels also got wins from David Dulski, Brian Propst and K.C. Samuelson.
Dulski (135) broke a 3-3 tie with an escape late in the second period, then scored three near-fall points in the third period of his 7-3 win over Alex Emmer. Samuelson (160), a sophomore, won only his third match in nine starts, handing Josh Jacobs his fourth loss, 9-0.
Propst (145), who dropped from 160 and had come off a shoulder injury suffered against Featherstone, led 2-1 when his five-point throw in the final eight seconds earned a 7-1 victory over Marc DiPasquale.
"That little throw at the end, I really needed that because my legs were dying until the end when I got some blood flowing to them," said Propst. "I knew my match, and maybe Samuelson's, were two of the biggest tonight."