Spalding's Gallagher advances to MIS wrestling semifinals

February 18, 2011|By Todd Karpovich, Special to The Baltimore Sun

The wrestling season has taken a toll on Cole Gallagher's 5-foot-6, 112-pound frame.

In addition to the ever-present bumps and bruises, the senior for top-ranked Archbishop Spalding has battled through an ankle injury he suffered at the War at the Shore in December.

But Gallagher now feels fully healed and is ready to defend his title at this weekend's Maryland Independent Schools State Tournament at McDonogh. Gallagher is on track after advancing to Saturday's semifinals with an 8-0 victory over Devin Davis of John Carroll.

"I'm feeling great. I'm a lot better conditioned than earlier in the year," Gallagher said. "I'm not even wearing a brace today. We've never done this well before in Spalding history."

The tournament consists of teams in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the Interstate Athletic Conference. Wrestlers who place in the top six qualify for the National Prep Wrestling Championships in Bethlehem, Pa., Thursday through next Saturday.

Overall, Spalding leads with 137.5 points, just ahead of McDonogh (136), St. Paul's (117), Georgetown Prep (103) and Archbishop Curley (100).

Eric Friedman of St. Paul's advanced by pinning Erik Simmons of Good Counsel in 4:45 at 119. Despite being a two-time defending champion, Friedman said he doesn't feel like he has a bull's-eye on his back because of the caliber of wrestlers in the tournament.

"Everyone wants to wrestle their best and it's a new year. You always know it's going to be tough," Friedman said. "Our whole lineup is wrestling well. It's been a strong bond. With each loss, we've gotten better. Each victory for one of us has been a victory for all of us. Hopefully, we can come back and win the tournament tomorrow."

Curley's Brett Przywara has already placed three times at National Preps and is poised to make another run at 135. He's also on track to win his second MIS championship with a 5-0 victory over Chris Fegan of Georgetown Prep.

"I'm a tough kid and I have to go out there and wrestle tough," Przywara said. "I just put it in my head that every kid is going to come out there and try to beat me because he wants to be where I am."

McDonogh freshman Jack Clark, a seven-time junior state champion in his native New Jersey, advanced to the semifinals at 130 where he will wrestle Spalding's Cole Graves.

Mathew Miller of John Carroll, a two-time All-American, is also on track to defend his title. Miller advanced with a bye and two consecutive pins Friday.

Agate

Maryland Independent School State Tournament Team results through quarterfinals 1Archbishop Spalding, 137.5; 2. McDonogh School, 136.0; 3. Saint Paul`s, 117.0; 4. Georgetown Prep, 103.0; 5. Archbishop Curley, 100; 6. Good Counsel, 93.5; 7. DeMatha Catholic, 92.5; 8. Mount Saint Joseph, 89.0; 9. John Carroll, 80.5; 10. Pallotti, 80

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