DeMatha wrestlers get a reminder of the program’s history every time they step into their training room, where a banner listing the 171 former Stags who have won individual Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles covers half of one wall.
Coach Dick Messier, who started the team in 1979, views the list as a daily motivational tool and wouldn’t mind if it some day grew to take up the whole wall. Seventh-ranked DeMatha moved closer to that goal on Saturday in Fairfax, claiming its 25th conference tournament title in 27 years.
“We know about all the WCAC titles, the National Prep titles, the state titles,” said Tito Onyekweli, a senior 152-pounder. “Some of them were won by our assistant coaches who want to help us win more. We just try to keep the legacy going. It’s a dynasty.”
The Stags maintained a roughly 30-point advantage on the Falcons for most of the day and pulled away further when six of their nine finalists captured titles.
The team’s younger wrestlers provided an early spark. Freshmen Steven Simpson (106) and Lewis Riggs (120) won with final-round pins, while freshman Seldon Wright (145) cruised to a 10-4 victory in his final.
“Our freshman have been huge this year,” said senior 132-pounder Jonathan Turcotte, who fought through a cut near his right eye to grab a 3-2 decision over Good Counsel junior Jhared Simmons. “Without them, we wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as we are.”
Meanwhile, Onyekweli did his part, taking his second career conference title with a technical fall win over Paul VI’s Dan Carlton. Senior Dylan Devine — The Post’s top-ranked 195-pounder — continued his strong season, winning all three of his matches by pin.
St. Mary’s Ryken freshman 113-pounder Jake Vosburgh, one of just three champions not from DeMatha or Good Counsel, earned outstanding wrestler honors.
DeMatha missed a chance to earn Messier his 500th dual win last weekend when it fell to No. 5 South River in the final of the Harford Tech Duals. But the Stags gave him another milestone to celebrate on Saturday when he hoisted the championship trophy for the 25th time.
“All the kids from the very first one we won in 1986 all the way up to today had the same attitude,” Messier said. “It wasn’t about individuals — just a total team effort. That’s what makes me happy.”