Seniors Bailey Thomas (152), Brady Daniel (220) and Jalen Lea (285) won individual titles as Good Counsel won the team championship in last weekend’s 18-team Melee on The Metro at Gonzaga High in Washington.
Conor Lozupone (106) and Drew Brenowitz (182) were second, with Cord Richardson (120), Cole Robilotto (138) and Avery Miller (145) third, and Ryan Briggs (170) fourth as the Falcons (210 points) rebounded a week after being dethroned as perennial Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament champions by Saint John’s, which last month ended their conference dual meet winning streak at 55 matches.
Daniel pinned Michael Okaro of runner-up St. Benedict’s of New Jersey, and Lea did the same to Phillip Firehock of Gonzaga, with Thomas earning a technical fall over Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends. The trio added their crowns to last week’s individual WCAC titles, with Thomas earning Outstanding Wrestler honors last week.
“As a team, we had to regroup, so it was great to have a good, hard week of practice, get some guys to where they should be, come back and get that win,” said Daniel, who, like Thomas, will attempt to defend his private schools state title at McDonogh of Baltimore next weekend.
“After losing a lot of seniors, last year, this is something to build on, and it helps, coming off of last week, to get some confidence back. This weekend will really test what we can do, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of guys going to preps.”
Thomas and Daniel were among the Falcons’ six individual champions who guided their program to their second private schools states title. Daniel ended the year by placing a team-high third at the season-ending National Preps Tournament in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, an event that is two weeks away.
As a 182-pound sophomore at River Hill, Daniel beat four seniors on the way to winning the Class 4A-3A state title. Each of last year’s five private school place winners behind Daniel were seniors.
“I won states in the public schools my sophomore year, and then, last year, private schools, so there’s always a little pressure. But I don’t let it get to me,” said Daniel, who has chance to surpass the achievements of his older brother, Cory, a former two-time state champion who went undefeated over his final two seasons at River Hill.
“Training-wise, I know what I need to do to be able to peak and compete at the best of my abilities. I know what I’m up against, and it’s something that we’ve spoken about. I’m working a little harder and focusing more, mentally, on things I need to do to win states and compete at National Preps.”
For Landon (fifth), Patrick Kielb (106) pinned Lozupone to earn his title. The Bears had three runners-up as Lorenzo Lopez (120) lost, 5-0, to state champion King Sandoval of St. Mary’s Ryken, Brendon Gallager (138) fell, 6-4, to Gonzaga’s Nathan Thacker, whom Gallagher had beaten earlier this year, and Carter Johnson (195), by 8-7, to DeMatha’s Jason Robertson.
“As a second year wrestler, Carter continues to improve each week,” said coach Andy Katz. “He raises his expectations of himself.”
The Bears’ Jelani Machen (170) was third, his 6-3 decision over Briggs avenging last week’s loss in the finals of the WCAC tournament. Another second-year wrestler, Terrance Bridgers (285) also finished third for the Bears.
Bullis’ Aryemis Brown (160) continued his successful season, winning his crown, 10-0, over Davis Smith of Woodberry Forest to improve on last year’s runner-up finish. Bazin Sineshaw (106), Marcelo Motta (132) and Ethan Sypes (195) were all fourth for Bullis, which is also preparing for next week’s private schools state tournament.
“Momentum-wise, this tournament brought me down, last year, so heading into this finals match, there was a bit of extra motivation to do well,” said Brown, an Air Force-bound wrestler who placed third at last year’s private schools state tournament.
“I think I’m at a really good point in my season, knowing that with states next week and National Preps after, this is the time to pick it up. This was a very timely victory and the nod I needed to know that winning states is attainable. I’m leaving everything I have on the mat.”