Archbishop Spalding finishes perfect season with MIS title

Wrestling

Cavaliers' Lynch pins way to crown, as team caps a memorable season

February 20, 2011|By Sandra McKee | Baltimore Sun reporter

When Archbishop Spalding senior Charlie Lynch made his move to pin his opponent in the 145-pound class, some fans in the McDonogh gym couldn't believe what they were seeing.

"What the heck is that?" asked one, as he watched the senior finish a run of perfection for his second Maryland Independent School state wrestling crown.

Lynch, ranked No. 6 nationally by Wrestling USA, grinned when he later heard of the comment.

"It's a defensive pin," said Lynch, whose pin seemed to put an exclamation point on the season for the new MIS state champion Cavaliers. "I got in a low shot, and my opponent tried to go over the top. I was able to hold on, hook his leg, sit back and put him on his back. It's an exciting move, because if you miss it, you aren't going to get any points."

Lynch and his teammates missed little the past two days as they rolled up 268.5 points to outdistance second-place McDonogh (248.5), St. Paul's (213.0), Good Counsel (179.5) and Georgetown Prep (177.0) for the title -- their first ADivision state crown.

The pin was Lynch's fifth in a row, and he earned the tournament award for most falls in the shortest amount of time. His five pins came in a total of 9:52. It was just part of the amazing season-long performance by Spalding.

It was the year of the Cavalier. In a single season, Spalding went 33-0 in dual matches, won the War on the Shore and the Ray Oliver Tournaments, beat Archbishop Curley, Old Mill and McDonogh, won the MIAA championship and the state title -- all for the first time in team history.

"It has kept us busy," Spalding coach Mike Laidley said. "We'd won three B Division titles at states, but never an A Division title. It feels pretty good to get it done. I'm proud. A couple things happened in a couple matches I wasn't happy with. Cole Gallagher had every opportunity to win, but Meister did a great job. He knocked off the top three wrestlers to win. Overall, the team stuck together. I'm really happy for Will Switzer. He got a big win for us. And KK [Smith] got his first state championship. I'm excited for him."

Switzer, who lost the 140-pound weight class MIAA title to St. Paul's Pete Galli last week, earned this one with an 8-3 decision.

McDonogh sophomore Logan Meister, the No. 6 seed in the 112-pound class, was named the A Division's most outstanding wrestler. Meister defeated the No. 2 wrestler in his weight class, Vince Scarinzi of Archbishop Curley, with a pin in the semifinals and then Saturday, upset No. 1 seed Gallagher of Spalding, 8-6 in the championship match.

"He had a heck of a tournament," McDonogh coach Pete Welch said. "Nothing fazed him."

St. Paul's junior Eric Friedman won his third state title, keeping his dream alive to become just the fourth four-time title winner in tournament history. As it is, he is one of just 15 wrestlers to claim three state crowns.

"Hopefully, I'll find out if I can win a fourth," said Friedman, who won a major decision, 11-2, at 119. "But the great thing about this tournament is that each year you come back, nothing you've done before matters. It's always tough, and you know it is going to be hard. You just have to be ready to go."

Junior Brad Mutchnik (152) also won for St. Paul's, while his brother Jack lost a 3-2 decision to Loyola sophomore David Mohler at 103.

McDonogh's Jack Clark (130), Bishop McNamara's Alfred Bannister (125), who earned the BDivision outstanding wrestler award, and Good Counsel's Kyle Snyder (215) all won their first titles as freshmen. Mount St. Joseph junior Tyler Rill improved his second-place finish of last year to win at 160, while Spalding's Kvaunte Smith, who was wrestling in his fourth state tournament, got his first title as a senior.

Smith was one of five wrestlers to win as seniors -- John Carroll's pinning machine Mathew Miller, who pinned every wrestler he faced this year in his 171-pound class, got his second title; Good Counsel's Shane Arechiga (135) and Stephen Snyder (285, second title) and Lynch, were the others. Smith had finished second each of the previous two years and third as a freshman. Saturday he won his 189-pound class with a 14-5 major decision, but he had a momentary scare near the end. He accidentally dropped McDonogh's Kevin Marvel hard to the mat, a move that cost him a point, as officials called him for an illegal slam. It could have cost him the match if Marvel had been unable to continue.

"I was trying to get a shot in and I tried to bring him down soft, but he came down hard," said Smith, who scored more points for his team (28), than any other senior in this weekend's tournament. "This win feels great. I knew if I wrestled my match, wrestled hard, I could win it. But the team going undefeated this season and winning this championship feels equally good. We all wrestled as a team, and it shows in our scores. We wound up first in everything."

Laidley said his team was "a special group" this season and that it continued to demonstrate that Saturday. All 14 of his wrestlers placed in the top eight in their individual weight classes and 13 of them qualified for the National Prep Tournament this week. Wrestlers who finished in the top six places advance to the national event.

Bishop McNamara won the B Division crown 44.5 to 43.0 over St. Mary's Ryken. The Maryland School for the Deaf (40.0), St.Mary's (37.0) and Annapolis Area Christian School (28.0) rounded out the top five.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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