Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph crowned eight champions among nine finalists and placed 13 wrestlers within the top four of their respective weight classes to dominate the Ocean Lakes (John L Kelly) Invitational Tournament at Ocean Lakes High in Virginia Beach last weekend.
Seniors Coleman Nogle (126) and senior Gavin Bage (285), juniors Carter Nogle (120), Austin Lewis (175) and Bryce Phillips (215), sophomore Ben Smith (157) and freshmen JoJo Cooper (106) and Jake Tamai (113) all won titles, while sophomore Nicolas Barnabae (165) finished second as the Gaels (353.5 points) outpaced runner-up and Virginia-power Great Bridge (234).
Finishing third were freshman Jayden Diggs (138) and sophomore Cameron Cannaday (150), while junior Max “Prime” Conley 132 and sophomore Luca Brown (138) were fourth.
Smith pinned three of four opponents to earn his fifth tournament championship, and Diggs pinned five opponents on the way to earning his bronze medal.
“It’s very rewarding when you can walk away with every wrestler bringing home some hardware,” said coach Harry Barnabae, whose Gaels play host to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rival McDonogh on Wednesday at 4:30 pm and visit No. 3 South Carroll on Thursday at 6pm
“It does provide some momentum going into the last third of our season. This week adds some excitement to the year as we face powerhouse South Carroll. This match presents a great deal of bragging rights between both teams’ wrestlers as many of them are friends. I am sure that both teams are looking forward to the challenge and the fans will not be disappointed.”
Coleman Nogle’s fall in 3:50 of his championship match was his fourth pin in as many tournament bouts.
“Getting the fall in the finals was a great way to end the tournament. The name of the game is to pin your opponent, so it felt good that I was able to get that done in every match,” Coleman Nogle said. “Coach Barnabae always emphasizes how important bonus points are at team tournaments like this one. The team looked great and we can’t wait to compete again this week.”
Nogle’s younger brother, Carter, gained revenge with his 7-3 championship victory over Archbishop Spalding’s Sean Garretson, whom he lost to earlier this season.
Carter entered their bout ranked No. 2 behind Garretson.
“It felt good to avenge the loss to Garretson and to claim the title as a team. With the help of my coaches and teammates, I was able to make adjustments and fix some mistakes from the last time,” Carter Nogle said. “I’m really looking forward to the match on Thursday at South Carroll. Both teams have a lot of talent and we’re hoping to get the job done on the road and move on into the postseason.”
Previewing MSJ vs. South Carroll
South Carroll is a state power among public schools, having earned Class 2A-1A state tournament titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association ceased scoring the state tournament in 2018.
This year’s Cavaliers boast senior two-time Class 2A-1A state champions in Mike Pizzuto and Gage Owen, who have competed at weights between 138 and 152 pounds this season, as well as two-time state champion A.J. Rodrigues (170) and senior state runner-up Rylan Moose (182).
Owen, Pizzuto, Rodriguez and Moose are three-time returning county tournament champions from a county tournament title-winning squad that earned the program’s first-ever Class 2A state dual meet tournament crown. They are joined by freshman Joseph Gigliotti (120), a four-time junior league state champion.
“Our coaches are preparing us to go to South Carroll where I heard that the gym there has been sold out. This weekend’s performance was good preparation for us as we were rooted against by all the Virginia fans,” Phillips said. “This does give our team some additional confidence, so I do feel this weekend helped us. South Carroll poses a challenge, but we will be ready to wrestle our best.”
‘He’s always with me’
Catonsville junior Toby Eveleth (120) used three pins and a semifinal major decision to win last weekend’s SnOverlea Invitational and his first tournament crown of the season at Overlea High School in Baltimore County.
The 14th-ranked Eveleth improved to 26-2 with a title-bout fall in 1:58 over 23rd-ranked sophomore Kamren Griffin of eighth-ranked tournament champion St. Frances.
Toby is named after his late uncle, Matthew Tobey Eveleth, a four-time Class 4A-3A state finalist and three-time champion who graduated in 2002 from Chesapeake-Anne Arundel County.
The youngest of three siblings, all of whom were state title winners for the Cougars, Eveleth was 37 when he died of pancreatic cancer in July 2021 as the most accomplished wrestler in the history of Chesapeake High.
In victory over Griffin, Toby raised his right arm and pointed to a tattoo of his uncle’s initials, MTE, displayed on the inside of his right biceps.
“I got the tattoo so that he’s always with me,” said Toby Eveleth, a regional champion as a sophomore. “Being able to raise my bicep after my win was special, but it was a bitter-sweet victory.”
Toby is the son of the eldest Eveleth brother, Brian, 49, a one-time champion in 1991. Toby’s other uncle, Jeff, 40, was a two-time title winner, the latter being a senior teammate with Matt on the Cougars’ 2000 championship squad.
Matt earned three state titles in four championship berths, leading the Cougars to state tournament crowns as a sophomore and again as a senior.
Matthew coached Toby during his junior league career, one of which ended with a third place finish at states. Toby’s final victory that year came against Calvin Kraisser, who is currently a sophomore defending state champion at Centennial High.
Toby Eveleth and family members were present at Chesapeake High when the Cougars’ wrestling room was renamed in honor Matthew Tobey Eveleth on January 2.
“This win is dedicated to my uncle Matt because it’s moments like those last Saturday that he would have been in my corner coaching me,” Toby Eveleth said.
“I took some losses the other week, but It felt great to win my first tournament of the season. It’s all part of building momentum for the end of the year.”
Queens Of The Jungle
Although no team points were scored in last weekend’s inaugural all-girls’ Queen Of The Jungle Tournament at host Queen Anne’s High, the event featured 20 teams from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
Winning titles were the host Lions’ Ava Price (120) and Julia Reburn (135), Havana Gonzalez (105) and Lexy Pabon (125) of Crofton, Ugochi Anunobi (170) of Randallstown and Jordyn Brown (235) of Wicomico.
Brown finished with four pins and a forfeit, Price and Anunobi each nailed down four first-period pins, and Pabon had three pins and a technical fall.
A tiebreaker criteria was used to determine the winners at 105 and 135 pounds.
Reburn earned her crown by criteria based on having more pins than runner-up Lynden Conner of Northern-Calvert, according to Lions’ coach David Stricker.
Reburn went 4-1 with three pins, including a 70-second fall over an opponent who defeated Conner, 3-1. Although Conner went 4-1 with three pins and scored a 49-second defensive fall against Reburn, she edged only won, 2-1, over an opponent Reburn finished in 29 seconds.
Gonzalez earned her crown by criteria based on the “greatest number of match points scored,” according to Stricker.
That ruling was made within a weight class where Gonzalez was pinned in 1:48 by state champion Ally Conley of Queen Anne’s, who was decked in 2:20 by Oluadamilare Idowu of Randallstown, who was planted in 76 seconds by Gonzalez.
Oluadamilare finished second, and Conley, third.