The wrestlers for 10th-ranked Archbishop Curley were optimistic entering the season, ready to topple some of the traditional powers in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
The Friars returned five state place winners, and their confidence got a boost with success in early-season tournaments. In Wednesday night's MIAA opener against No. 2 McDonogh, the Friars took another step by beating the Eagles for the first time in seven years, 37-26.
"We have some dedicated guys this year, and I think that is what's going to help this team," Curley coach Gregg Kessler said. "We have some guys who placed in states, but more importantly, we have some guys who love the sport. In our minds this week, we knew we could do this."
The Eagles got off to a quick start at 189 pounds when Kevin Marvel pinned Mike Moore in 1 minute, 3 seconds. Curley answered when Leo Johnson controlled Roman Braglio for a 7-3 victory at 215 and the Eagles forfeited at 285.
Vince Scarinzi then extended the Friars' lead to 13-6 with a 10-1 victory over Logan Meister at 103. Scarinzi has been one of the most dominant wrestlers in the early part of the season, winning the Ray Oliver Tournament over the weekend by pinning all four of his opponents.
McDonogh got back the lead, 14-13, on a technical fall by Xavi Ramos over Greg Robinson at 112 and Theo Duncan's 7-1 decision over Jordan Brigman at 119. The seesaw battle continued as Curley got victories from Joe Nelson at 125 and Brett Przywara at 130 to take a 22-14 advantage.
"We knew coming in if we could split seven bouts with them, we'd be OK," McDonogh coach Pete Welch said. "But they got eight, and we got six. It came down to bonus points, and they were good enough to beat us."
The Eagles cut the lead to 22-20 on victories by Josh Hengen (135) and Tyler Patrick (140). Curley's Brett Brigman ended the momentum with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mitch Bode at 145. Chuckie Blankenship gave the Friars a 31-20 lead with a pin over Travis Wood in 51 seconds at 152.
A pin by Avery Williams at 160 over Nick Phillips in 2:38 sealed the victory for Curley.
"I had lost last year [against] McDonogh, so I needed to avenge my loss. I just needed to go out there and help my team get a win," Williams said. "All of the fans, man, they drove me harder and harder. The team gave 100 percent."
103-Scarinzi (C) d. Meister (M), 10-1
112-Ramos (M) tf. Robinson (C), 5:03
119-Duncan (M) d. J.Brigman (C), 7-1
125-Nelson (C) d. Pagnotta (M), 5-0
130-Przywara (C) p. Sataloff (M), 1:28
135-Hengen (M) d. Meyer (C), 8-3
140-Patrick (M) d. Bieschke (C), 5-0
145-B.Brigman (C) d. Bode (M), 1-0
152-Blankenship (C) p. Wood (M), :51
160-Av. Williams (C) p. Phillips (M), 2:38
171-Patrick (M) p. Luna (C), :51
189-Marvel (M) p. Moore (C), 1:03
215-Johnson (C) d. Braglio (M), 7-3
Hwt-Maddox (C), fft