Mercersburg's depth beats Calvert Hall

Defending champ finishes distant second in Peery


High Schools

December 21, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Calvert Hall hoped to repeat as the Ed Peery Invitational Tournament champion, but coach Keith Norris said he knew that Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy would be tough to beat.

Mercersburg proved Norris right and nearly had the tournament title clinched before the final round began. The Blue Storm won three individual titles, put 12 of 14 wrestlers in the top four and breezed to the team championship over No. 10 Calvert Hall yesterday at the Annapolis Area Christian School.

Mercersburg put six wrestlers in the finals and had a 23-point lead before the round began. Calvert Hall had five in the championship round, and each would have had to win by pin to give the Cardinals a shot.

"We thought they'd be the toughest competition here," Norris said. "But it was a good showing for us."

The Blue Storm simply had too much depth - and it was missing two key wrestlers with injuries. Sam Carrasco (112), Brad Nielson (160) and Brett Gallaway (171) each scored impressive pins to win their titles as Mercersburg won with 209.5 points. Calvert Hall took second with 176.5, and Spalding was third (146).

"We have a solid lineup and a few outstanding wrestlers," Mercersburg coach Rick Hendrickson said. "But the depth carries us."

The Cardinals, who finished third at last weekend's Ray Oliver tournament at McDonogh, came away with only one individual crown. Colin Goldsmith (130, 7-2) pinned Archbishop Spalding's Matt Love at 3:55 to give Calvert Hall its lone title.

Lou Ruland (119) of St. Mary's won the Outstanding Wrestler honor. Ruland got two pins to earn a spot in the finals against Calvert Hall's Nick Barone.

Barone controlled the match early and jumped to a 7-2 lead. But Ruland rallied and took leads of 8-7 and 10-8 before Barone tied the match on a reversal as time ran out in the third period. Ruland (9-0) then scored a takedown with eight seconds left in the overtime period for a 12-10 victory.

"I just said I'm not going to let him take me down no matter what," Ruland said.

Annapolis teammates Ben Graham (140) and Andrew Smith (145) repeated as individual champions. Geoff Clark-Ames (125) from Northeast and Spalding's Mike Laidley (152) were the other repeat winners.

Graham (6-0) became the tournament's second four-time winner. The senior won at 119 as a freshman, 125 as a sophomore and 135 last year. He pinned Calvert Hall's Brendon Smith at 4:43 for this championship.

"It's nice here," Graham said. "I live right up the street, and this is a good tournament to start the season with."

Smith (5-0) scored a 9-5 decision over Mercersburg's Ryan Reid. Laidley (6-0) got the night's fastest pin, taking down John Shartle from Mercersburg in 55 seconds.

Clark-Ames (5-0) got one of the championship round's more impressive wins, a 13-3 victory over Spalding's Justin Mulinex.

The host Eagles came away with two championships. Freshman Adam Palumbo - younger brother of coach Jake Palumbo - scored a 5-3 decision over Chris Laidley of Spalding in the 103-pound final. Palumbo (11-1) had to rally from a slow start against the quick Laidley.

T.J. McMahon (135, 11-1) pinned Calvert Hall's Matt Cunningham at 5:11 for AACS' second title. Tim Jennings (189) and Gavin Gourley (215) gave Pallotti its two individual titles. Heavyweight John Hickcox won Southern's title.

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