The St. Joe’s Marauders won their fifth straight Msgr. Martin All-Catholic team title on Sunday outpacing archrival St. Francis 323 to 312 points in the team scoring.
“Our expectation coming in here was to win,” said ‘Joe’s head coach Pete Kennedy on his team’s mindset going into Sunday. “It’s been our expectation walking into every gym since the New Year…we expected to win everything.”
St. Joe’s may not have won the Msgr. Martin regular season dual meet title, but the Marauders crowned six individual champions at the 53rd Annual Msgr. Martin All-Catholic Wrestling Championships in winning the team title. Ten total Marauders advanced to the tournament finals.
Ben Parish avenged a 2017-2018 All-Catholic finals loss by toughing out a 6-3 decision win over St. Francis’s Slade Merck in the 138-pound final. It was one of the tournament’s marquee matches featuring two defending CHSAA tournament place winners.
In another rematch of last season’s All-Catholic final, St. Joe’s Caleb Lesswing was a 5-2 decision winner over St. Francis’s Eric Schon to defend his league title at 285-pounds. Fellow Marauder Ronnie Jones earned a critical pin in the 145-pound final in a back and forth match with St. Francis’s Jack Gordon. Jones was able to defend his league championship from 2017-2018 and also contribute to the Marauders’ team score with the extra points for the pin.
St. Joe’s Sullivan Walsh gutted out a 2-0 win over the Red Raiders’ Ben Jacobs to win the 170-pound All-Catholic title. Also winning for ‘Joe’s were Luke Sheehan at 99-pounds by way of a 5-4 decision win and Matt Werts at 195-pounds who received a medical forfeit from teammate Alex Rizun. Dalas Jackson (120) and Louis Perreault (182) were also runners-up for the Marauders.
Winning the All-Catholic tournament title is a goal for any of the five MMHSAA teams. A heart-breaking loss with the league title on the line at home to St. Francis on Friday, January 18th galvanized the Marauder squad heading into the remainder of this season.
“Losing the St. Francis match was tough. It was emotionally draining for everybody involved,” stated Coach Kennedy. “They [St. Joe’s wrestlers] turned around and a week later had their best performance downstate [CHSAA duals]. And then we told them today, that if everybody just came in and just did their job, the team score would take care of itself. After our loss to St. Francis, the next best thing would be to win the All-Catholics.”
St. Francis had ten finalists as well with four individual champions. Dominik Thomas won his fourth All-Catholic title as well as the Aggregate Pin Award earning three pins in only 1:51 on the day. At the conclusion of the tournament, Thomas was recognized at the 2018-2019 Msgr. Martin league Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Nolan Thomas won the 220-pound MMHSAA title with a late third period pin over St. Joe’s Charles Morrison. Both Nolan and Morrison are defending CHSAA place winners from 2017-2018.
Also winning titles for the Red Raiders were Marko Kasiyan at 106-pounds earning a first period pin in the final. Logan Lauck won the 113-pound All-Catholic title by way of an 11-2 major decision in the final over Canisius’s Luke Brydges. Slade Merck (138), Jack Gordon (145), Dan Browning (152), Shane Roberts (160), Ben Jacobs (170), and Eric Schon (285) were runners-up for St. Francis.
Canisius was third in the team scoring with 218 points with five finalists and two individual champions.
Matt Baldwin stormed to a 19-7 major decision finals match win to take the 152-pound All-Catholic title. Baldwin defeated St. Francis’s Dan Browning in another of the evening’s matches that featured two returning CHSAA place winners.
The Crusaders’ Josh Kracker was a 4-3 decision winner over St. Joe’s Dalas Jackson in the 120-pound All-Catholic final. Both Kracker and Jackson placed 6th in their weight classes at last season’s ‘Catholic states.’ Noah Rockensuess (99), Luke Brydges (113), and Cody Franklin (132) were also finalists for Canisius.
The host team St. Mary’s went two for three in the finals and scored 189 team points. Trevor Sheehan defeated teammate Matt Ash 12-8 for the 126-pound All-Catholic title for the Lancers. St. Mary’s Parker Fay used nearly all five minutes of blood time but gutted out a 12-9 decision to defeat St. Francis’s Shane Roberts and earn the 160-pound tournament title.
Gow School had two finalists with one winning a Msgr. Martin title. Fifth seeded Max Carrier earned a pin in the quarterfinals then took down top seeded Garrett Grenauer 3-2 in the semifinal. In the 132-pound final, Carrier earned a first period pin to win the All-Catholic title. Carrier was also recognized with the Outstanding Wrestler Award. Teammate Jerrison Chen was a runner-up at 106-pounds.
The top five place winners in each weight class from All-Catholics advance to next weekend’s Catholic High School Athletic Association tournament at Holy Trinity HS, Hicksville, Long Island. The Red Raider’s Dominik Thomas is the only current defending CHSAA champion from the Msgr. Martin league. The fifteen CHSAA champions will advance to the NYS Division I Wrestling Championships Friday, February 22nd – Saturday, February 23rd in Albany.
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