One day before top ranked Mount St. Joseph is scheduled to visit undefeated Carroll County wrestling power South Carroll, in what is one of the most highly anticipated public vs. private Baltimore area dual meets in many years, The Baltimore Banner has confirmed that South Carroll head coach Jay Braunstein has gone on a paid leave from his position with the team. He has departed “to focus on family matters” and has been replaced by former Cavaliers’ wrestler, Anthony Winfield, former head coach Bryan Hamper informed The Baltimore Banner on Wednesday morning.
“We’re unsure when he’ll return. He’s on personal leave, focusing on some family matters,” said Hamper, 39, a former Cavaliers’ head coach and wrestler who will assist Winfield. “Jay’s a fantastic coach, and he’s been a pivotal part of our success as a program.”
Braunstein, who also coached previously at Mount St. Joe and St. Paul’s, could not be reached for comment.
The third-ranked Cavaliers play host to No. 1 Mount St. Joseph on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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.
Bryan Hamper coached the Cavaliers to 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.
A 2001 graduate of South Carroll, Hamper was twice a state champion and twice a fourth-place finisher at states, going 32-1 as a junior to earn Carroll County Wrestler Of The Year honors. In 2000, Hamper decked six opponents over his final nine matches of the season, including three falls and a technical fall on the way to winning his first Class 4A-3A state title.