When last year’s Maryland Independent Schools State Tournament began, Mt. St. Joseph was playing second fiddle to St. Mary’s-Ryken due to Ryken finishing ahead of them at the East Coast Catholic Classic in Virginia. The Gaels went on to topple Ryken for their fifth consecutive state crown.

This weekend at Harford Community College, the roles were reversed. After St. Joe finished ahead of the Knights at the ECCC, they were the favorites. The Gaels made true on their No. 1 ranking, outpacing No. 2 Ryken, 317-254.

St. Joe did so on the strength of eight champions. The Gaels won all eight of their finals matches and had four other placers. All twelve will be going to next weekend’s National Prep Tournament at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The top six finishers at each weight advance to the Preps.

“It’s hard to believe actually,” St. Joe coach Harry Barnabae reflected about the sixth straight state title. “I feel most impressed with the team’s total accomplishment of finishing with eight individual State Champions. It’s just remarkable, beginning with Jake Tamai, Ben Smith, Nick Barnabae, Austin Lewis, and Big Gavin Bage’s first state titles. Followed by Carter and Coleman Nogle, and Bryce Phillips second state championship. They all have put in the time to finish on top and this weekend it paid off.”

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Senior Coleman Nogle (No. 1 in MD, No. 11 in the nation in Scorebook Live’s National Rankings) bookended his career with a second state championship. Nogle won his first title as a freshman, lost his sophomore year to COVID, then finished second last year.

Nogle pinned Spalding’s No. 5 Vincent Paolucci in the second period of last week’s MIAA Tournament finals, 3:35. This meeting would require six more seconds, but ended the same, with a second period fall, 3:41. Nogle won an award for most career points scored for a team.

Mount St. Joseph's Coleman Nagle (left) and Gavin Bage pose with their state championship awards at 126 and 285, respectively (Billy Buckheit)

“It was rewarding to be able to win it my senior year and finish my career as a two-time state champ,” remarked Nogle. “I tried to use last year’s result to fuel the fire to be on top again. Paolucci is a great opponent. And although I defeated him last week, my coaches made sure I didn’t overlook anyone and took it one match at a time. I stuck to the game plan and was fortunate to emerge victorious again.

“Every year the team’s goal is to finish on top of the podium. I knew coming into this year that this specific squad had a lot of potential, and it showed this weekend. I’m grateful to be a part of such a motivated group of wrestlers and coaches. Even though I’ll be moving on next year, I hope that this team will continue to succeed and build on its legacy.”

No. 2 Carter Nogle (120) won his second title too, but his have been back-to-back. Nogle needed overtime to claim last year’s title over a Ryken foe, Evan Boblits. This year’s encounter followed the same script with a Knight grappler, No. 5 Tyler Wood, who Nogle defeated in the 30 second overtime periods, 4-3. Nogle also defeated Wood at the ECCC in overtime, 15-13.

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“Prior to the match I was looking to take it one step at a time and score a lot of points,” Nogle continued. “I specifically remember last time saying that I would let it fly and that came with a lot of points for me but also giving up a lot of points. I wrestled more conservative than usual but sticking to my stuff allowed me to come out on top.

“I’m very glad to win my second straight title. I would love to make history as one of Maryland’s best to ever step on the mat and a part of that is winning states every year. Heading back into the room for one more week and hoping to finish on top of the podium at national preps.

“I was so happy that my brother got the win in his final year. He’s had a great season, dominating the field and deserves it more than anyone. Although I am happy for him, I know what he is capable of doing next week and can’t wait for him to show the country his true potential.”

No. 6 Jake Tamai captured the Gaels’ first state title of the slate when he authored a mild upset of No. 5 James Hanley (Landon), 8-2, at 113. The freshman pocketed this title after missing the first part of the season due to injury.

No. 3 Ben Smith (165) also put a slight upset win in the book with his 4-2 victory over No. 2 Mason Buckler (St. Mary’s-Ryken). Buckler was the defending state champion and was second as a freshman.

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No. 1 Nicolas Barnabae (165) reached the top of the podium after being third as a freshman last year. Barnabae’s third place win, 10-8, was over Ryken’s No. 4 Will Buckler. They faced each other again, but in the finals this time, with the match ending with a similar point total, 10-7.

Junior Austin Lewis (No. 3 at 175) was fifth in the state last year. Lewis jumped out to a 4-0 lead in his title bout with Calvert Hall’s No. 6 Duncan Kammar. The Cardinal suffered an ankle injury, tried to gut it out, but eventually had to default 28 seconds into the second frame.

“It feels great to win my first state title and also for our team to win our sixth consecutive title,” Lewis said. “I felt good before he got hurt. He is a tough opponent so I knew it would be tough wrestling in that match. It sucks that he had to default. I feel my tournament performance was good. I went out and handled business to help our team reach the state title.”

No. 1 Bryce Phillips, who is No. 21 in the nation at 215, used a 12-2 major-decision of St. Frances Academy’s No. 2 Camren Wright to bring home his second consecutive state crown.

No. 1 Gavin Bage (285) was expecting the road to his first championship to go through Loyola’s No. 3 Luke Randazzo. But the Don was a scratch at Friday’s check-in due to illness.

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Bage destroyed the field in front of him, never lasting past the first period, picking up two 51 second pins and a 10 second pin en route to the finals where he decked No. 20 James Carrington (St. Frances Academy), 1:22 into the match. Bage won the award for most falls in the least amount of time.

No. 7 Cameron Cannaday was third at 150lbs. Placing fifth for St. Joe were No. 9 Joseph Cooper (106), No. 16 Maximus Conley (132), and No. 13 Jayden Diggs (138).

“There have been many great coaches and wrestlers to walk thru the halls of MSJ over the past four decades,” Barnabae added. “We are just trying to continue the tradition. MSJ High School provides the framework of high academic standards and a tremendous amount of support for all the students, which enables them to excel.

“I have to give a great deal of credit to our coaching staff Matt Hicks, Chris Combs, Shane Lowman, Kevin Johnson, Alan Smith and Adam Whitesell for developing every wrestler in the room. Finally, the commitment of the team to work hard and continue to improve each and every week is the foundation of the team’s success. I feel that this is the wrestlers time, they are creating their own legacy, striving to get their name on the “Wall of Champions”.”

No. 8 St. Frances paced the rest of the Baltimore Area teams with their fourth place showing (170) points. In fact, the Panthers were just 1.5 points away from a top three finish. No. 15 Landon was third with 171.5 points. Placing that high in the state and carrying a state ranking as a first-year program is unprecedented in the wrestling world.

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“We brought 11 and were able to get 10 on the podium,” St. Frances coach Doug McClain offered. “That’s big for some new guys, lol. We had ups and downs all week, but look, we were 1.5 points out of the top three. The school, the athletic department, our parents, coaches, and supporters all won tonight.”

St. Frances will be taking eight wrestlers to the National Prep tournament. Wright and Carrington were second. To reach the finals, Carrington pulled off two upsets. The first was a big one as he pinned No. 8 Jordan Williams (DeMatha), 4:31, in the quarters.

The second was the third meeting in a budding rivalry with Calvert Hall’s No. 19 Maxwell Ohamua. Carrington, a freshman, won the SnOverlea Tournament crown with a 5-2 win over Ohamua. The Cardinal won the bronze medal match at the MIAA Tournament, 6-1. The semi-final showdown at states was ended quickly by Carrington with a 32 second fall.

Placing fourth for the Panthers were No. 17 Jayson Wright (138) and No. 22 Chase Carpintieri (150). Landing in the fifth spot were No. 12 LaDaynean Simpson (144) and Derrick Grant (165, Honorable Mention in state rankings). Finishing sixth were No. 19 Christian Wright (113) and No. 22 Noah Shird (126). As seventh place finishers, Kamren Griffin (120, HM) and Douglas Johnson (190, HM) did not earn births to the National Preps.

No. 4 Gilman placed fifth with 168 points. The Sherlock brothers picked up their first state titles, with No. 1 Tyson (132) being the first and ending the Greyhounds 18-year run without a state champion. Tyson blanked Ryken’s No. 7 Josh Strong, 3-0.

“It was awesome that both my brother and I won this weekend,” said Sherlock. “We were the first state champions in 18 years for Gilman. Our wins and the rest of the team’s performance this season is going to help Gilman get some recognition and build the wrestling spirt around our school.”

No. 3 Emmitt also pitched a shutout, but put more points on the board than his kin, rolling to a 10-0 major-decision of No. 8 Connor Bollinger (McDonogh).

“Winning this year was my goal ever since last year’s loss,” Sherlock added. “This year my goal was to be as dominant as I can and I believed it was displayed with three quick pins and a major in the finals. I want to shout out my Gilman coaches and the rest of the team for this year’s efforts and achievements. When I applied here in 7th grade Gilman was a bottom level team in the independent school’s scene. As of this year we’re a top five team in the state. I credit that to our coaching staff and our team commitment to this sport. Times are changing and I’m happy to be a part of that.”

Two Gilman grapplers were third, No. 7 Nick Haughey (175) and No. 4 Carson Mingo (190). No. 14 Allan Gushue was fourth at 157. No. 8 Zach Glory landed in fifth at 120. Rounding out the Greyhounds placers are No. 18 Wesley Seba (7th at 215), Anders Martin (8th at 106, HM), and Sawyer Enright (8th at 113, HM).

Landon’s Joel Brown won the toughest weight in the tournament, capturing the 144lb title with a 5-0 win over No. 4 Clayton Gabrielson. For Brown, now a two-time state champ who is No. 1 at 144, the performance earned him Outstanding Wrestler honors.

St. Mary’s-Ryken had two wrestlers reach the top spot, No. 1 Mekhi Neal, who is No. 15 nationally in SB Live’s Rankings, used a second period pin of No. 6 Sepanta Ahanj-Elias (Bullis), 2:20, to win his second title in a row.

No. 1 Gerard Johnson (190) was also a repeat champ, but not for the same team. Johnson’s championship last year came while wrestling at McDonogh. The seniors’ title this year came over a former teammate, who was also a state champion last year, No. 2 Noah Onkst. Johnson put a 10-5 win on the scoreboard.

The 106lb final featured another one versus two showdown. No. 1 Ellis Kirsch (Bullis) downed No. 2 Austin Wood (St. Mary’s-Ryken), 10-3, in that one.

“It’s a little too early to begin to think of next season as we prepare for the final leg of our journey which is the National Prep tournament this coming weekend at Showplace Arena,” offered Barnabae. “We have a number of our wrestlers in a position to win a National Prep Title. Carter and Coleman Nogle, Gavin Bage and Bryce Phillips are currently ranked high in the preps and the remainder of our team is right there in the top mix. We are hoping to peak at the right time.”

“All 14 wrestlers contributed to the number one finish this season. It was the team’s goal to finish on top since the start of the season and all 14 finished strong. Cooper, Cannaday, Conley, Diggs battling back in the placement rounds just exemplifies the teams fighting spirit.”

“As for our future, it does look bright. We have a strong talent pool within our JV program that also won a state team title this weekend. Reaching the top of the podium with individual Championships was Ryder Kolat (138), Ryan Beall (132) and Hayden Durst 150lbs.

Team Scores: (Top 15)

1-Mt. St. Joseph 317

2-St. Mary’s-Ryken 254

3-Landon 171.5

4-St. Frances Academy 170

5-Gilman 168

6-Calvert Hall 138

7-Loyola 126

8-Archbishop Spalsing 114

9-DeMatha 87

10-Bullis 85.5

11-McDonogh 69.5

12-Good Counsel 68

13-Gerstell Academy 50

13-John Carroll 50

15-The Heights School 38.5

106

1st Place Match

Ellis Kirsch (Bullis School) 40-0, So. over Austin Wood (St. Mary`s Ryken) 26-5, So. (Dec 10-3)

3rd Place Match

Jayden Jackson (Loyola-Blakefield) 21-2, Fr. over Eli Chesla (Archbishop Spalding) 2-2, Fr. (MD 12-1)

5th Place Match

Joseph Cooper (Mount Saint Joseph) 30-6, Fr. over Joe Papalia (Landon School) 27-15, Fr. (Dec 9-2)

7th Place Match

Luke Layden (Severn School) 2-2, Fr. over Anders Martin (Gilman School) 18-15, Fr. (Fall 2:46)

113

1st Place Match

Jake Tamai (Mount Saint Joseph) 25-3, Fr. over James Hanley (Landon School) 32-6, Jr. (Dec 8-2)

3rd Place Match

Cameron Jefferson (St. Mary`s Ryken) 26-6, Fr. over Henry Gessford (Archbishop Spalding) 4-2, So. (Dec 6-5)

5th Place Match

Cayden Farver (Loyola-Blakefield) 26-9, So. over Christian Wright (St. Frances Academy) 21-8, Fr. (TF-1.5 4:51 (19-2))

7th Place Match

Michael Holmes (West Nottingham Academy) 38-10, Fr. over Sawyer Enright (Gilman School) 13-15, So. (Dec 8-2)

120

1st Place Match

Carter Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) 81-9, Jr. over Tyler Wood (St. Mary`s Ryken) 33-6, Jr. (TB-1 4-3)

3rd Place Match

Sean Garretson (Archbishop Spalding) 4-1, So. over Bryan Santangelo (Bullis School) 37-4, Jr. (Dec 5-0)

5th Place Match

Zach Glory (Gilman School) 31-15, So. over Tank Spelta (Georgetown Prep) 43-10, Sr. (Fall 3:46)

7th Place Match

Kamren Griffin (St. Frances Academy) 35-10, So. over Joshua Jackson (Calvert Hall College) 18-10, Fr. (SV-1 2-0)

126

1st Place Match

Coleman Nogle (Mount Saint Joseph) 126-8, Sr. over Vincent Paolucci (Archbishop Spalding) 3-1, Jr. (Fall 3:41)

3rd Place Match

Griffin Stewart (Calvert Hall College) 33-8, So. over Josh Hale (Loyola-Blakefield) 27-16, Fr. (Fall 2:55)

5th Place Match

Nick Melfi (Severn School) 26-5, So. over Noah Shird (St. Frances Academy) 34-13, So. (Dec 8-1)

7th Place Match

Charlie Spoales (Good Counsel) 20-9, Jr. over Glen Roe (Boys` Latin School) 22-23, Sr. (Dec 11-7)

132

1st Place Match

Tyson Sherlock (Gilman School) 39-4, Jr. over Josh Strong (St. Mary`s Ryken) 32-11, Jr. (Dec 3-0)

3rd Place Match

Zane Leitzel (Archbishop Spalding) 5-1, Fr. over Rhonin Swenson (Bishop McNamara) 38-7, So. (Dec 1-0)

5th Place Match

Maximus Conley (Mount Saint Joseph) 36-14, Jr. over Rohan (RJ) Bucknor (Bullis School) 11-5, So. (For.)

7th Place Match

Jack Bruffey (Gerstell Academy) 30-9, So. over EJ Hill (Boys` Latin School) 27-16, So. (Dec 5-3)

138

1st Place Match

Emmitt Sherlock (Gilman School) 40-6, So. over Connor Bollinger (McDonogh School) 13-7, Sr. (MD 10-0)

3rd Place Match

Carter Nix (DeMatha Catholic) 4-1, Sr. over Jason Wright (St. Frances Academy) 35-14, Jr. (Dec 12-5)

5th Place Match

Jayden Diggs (Mount Saint Joseph) 24-7, So. over Matt Lombardo (Calvert Hall College) 23-14, Sr. (Dec 8-4)

7th Place Match

Evan Williams (Loyola-Blakefield) 9-12, Jr. over Seve Lombardo (Boys` Latin School) 20-15, So. (Dec 5-1)

144

1st Place Match

Joel Brown (Landon School) 27-2, Sr. over Clayton Gabrielson (St. Mary`s Ryken) 25-5, Sr. (Dec 5-0)

3rd Place Match

Judah Aybar (Loyola-Blakefield) 42-4, Jr. over Charlie Gessford (Archbishop Spalding) 3-2, Jr. (Fall 0:46)

5th Place Match

LaDaynean Simpson (St. Frances Academy) 41-5, So. over Liam Kilner (The Heights School) 33-12, Fr. (Dec 5-2)

7th Place Match

Marquez Estrada (Bullis School) 20-8, Jr. over Rhys Edwards (Glenelg Country School) 22-11, Jr. (Dec 6-3)

150

1st Place Match

Mekhi Neal (St. Mary`s Ryken) 38-1, Jr. over Sepanta Ahanj-Elias (Bullis School) 46-7, So. (Fall 2:20)

3rd Place Match

Cameron Cannaday (Mount Saint Joseph) 53-15, So. over Chase Carpinteri (St. Frances Academy) 33-9, So. (Dec 8-3)

5th Place Match

Trevyn Suskowicz (John Carroll) 24-14, Sr. over Joe Kilner (The Heights School) 29-16, Jr. (Dec 3-2)

7th Place Match

Adam Malinowski (Calvert Hall College) 25-11, Sr. over Conrad Brady (Landon School) 15-9, Sr. (Dec 8-6)

157

1st Place Match

Benjamin Smith (Mount Saint Joseph) 40-3, So. over Mason Buckler (St. Mary`s Ryken) 12-1, Sr. (Dec 4-2)

3rd Place Match

Ian Moccia (John Carroll) 25-6, Sr. over Allan Gushue (Gilman School) 29-16, Sr. (Fall 4:05)

5th Place Match

Michael Binder (Gerstell Academy) 32-5, Sr. over Hayden Myers (Saint Paul`s School) 36-10, Fr. (Dec 4-2)

7th Place Match

Xavier Escobar (The Heights School) 24-11, Sr. over Jaidyn Fox (Bishop McNamara) 24-24, Jr. (Dec 4-1)

165

1st Place Match

Nicolas Barnabae (Mount Saint Joseph) 59-15, So. over Will Buckler (St. Mary`s Ryken) 39-6, So. (Dec 10-7)

3rd Place Match

Nate Furgeson (Landon School) 35-13, Jr. over Byron Baldwin (Calvert Hall College) 19-6, So. (MD 11-3)

5th Place Match

Derrick Grant (St. Frances Academy) 31-13, So. over JJ DiMonte (McDonogh School) 17-13, Fr. (Fall 1:14)

7th Place Match

Joseph Lagman (DeMatha Catholic) 3-2, So. over Noah Brannon (Loyola-Blakefield) 12-15, So. (Inj. 2:19)

175

1st Place Match

Austin Lewis (Mount Saint Joseph) 69-16, Jr. over Duncan Kammar (Calvert Hall College) 29-9, Sr. (Inj. 2:29)

3rd Place Match

Nick Haughey (Gilman School) 24-15, Jr. over Dilin Jones (Good Counsel) 27-14, Jr. (Dec 14-11)

5th Place Match

Gabe Moltumyr (St. Mary`s Ryken) 34-10, Sr. over Anthony Savoy (Landon School) 20-6, Sr. (For.)

7th Place Match

Aaron Moccia (John Carroll) 27-11, Fr. over Yitzchak Ingram (DeMatha Catholic) 2-3, So. (Dec 7-4)

190

1st Place Match

Gerard Johnson (St. Mary`s Ryken) 29-3, Sr. over Noah Onkst (McDonogh School) 19-8, Jr. (Dec 10-5)

3rd Place Match

Carson Mingo (Gilman School) 29-14, Jr. over David LaPrade (Landon School) 20-6, Sr. (Dec 7-4)

5th Place Match

Howard Otto (Calvert Hall College) 22-10, Jr. over Aiden Bird (Loyola-Blakefield) 24-18, Jr. (Dec 6-4)

7th Place Match

Douglas Johnson (St. Frances Academy) 33-12, So. over Hudson Holmes (Friends of Baltimore) 18-7, Jr. (Fall 4:01)

215

1st Place Match

Bryce Phillips (Mount Saint Joseph) 91-6, Jr. over Camren Wright (St. Frances Academy) 34-4, Jr. (MD 12-2)

3rd Place Match

William Applegarth (Good Counsel) 29-12, Sr. over Tiller Smith (Landon School) 34-9, So. (Dec 9-5)

5th Place Match

Maxwell Garland (Calvert Hall College) 26-14, So. over Anthony Oquindo (St. Mary`s Ryken) 19-14, Sr. (SV-1 3-1)

7th Place Match

Wesley Seba (Gilman School) 23-13, Sr. over Steven Ramirez (DeMatha Catholic) 2-3, Jr. (Fall 1:23)

285

1st Place Match

Gavin Bage (Mount Saint Joseph) 65-7, Sr. over James Carrington (St. Frances Academy) 39-8, Fr. (Fall 1:22)

3rd Place Match

Quincy Long (Georgetown Prep) 29-7, Sr. over Jordan Williams (DeMatha Catholic) 4-2, Jr. (TB-1 4-3)

5th Place Match

Maxwell Ohamuo (Calvert Hall College) 27-8, So. over Ty Reyes (Landon School) 28-10, Sr. (Dec 6-1)

7th Place Match

Sean Jewett (St. Mary`s Ryken) 27-16, So. over Alex Fletcher (St. James School) 18-11, So. (Fall 4:16)