Good Counsel wrestling cruises to WCAC championship behind Kyle Snyder, Spencer Neff and Jemal Averette
By Greg Schimmel,
When the Good Counsel wrestling team needs points late in an event, there are three standouts at the end of the lineup ready to produce.
The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships at St. John’s had long since been decided on Saturday, but 195-pound senior Spencer Neff, 220-pound junior Kyle Snyder and heavyweight junior Jemal Averette each earned a first-period pin in the final three bouts to put an emphatic exclamation point on a dominant team performance.
Seven Good Counsel wrestlers won individual titles and three more placed second. Overall, the top-ranked Falcons cruised to their second league title in three years with 251.5 points.
Paul VI finished second with 143.5 points. DeMatha — the defending champion and 25-time event winner — finished third with 121.
“We really did great today,” Neff said. “We were pretty confident we were going to come out and do well, but we just really executed what we thought we were capable of.”
The Falcons took an insurmountable 80-point lead into the final round of the nine-team competition, meaning the only drama that remained was how many of the 10 Good Counsel finalists would win individual titles.
Junior Adam Whitesell opened the final round with a first-period pin in the 106-pound final, and only St. Mary’s Ryken sophomore Steven Simpson’s 16-4 major decision at 113 prevented a Good Counsel sweep of the lower weights.
Good Counsel freshman Kevin Budock and junior Matt Kelly won with second-period pins at 120 and 132, respectively, and senior Jhared Simmons won by a 14-6 decision at 126.
“Up and down the lineup we have great wrestlers,” Snyder said.
Good Counsel was not represented in the next four finals as wrestlers from other schools starred at the middle weights.
Paul VI’s Tommy Whitaker and Brendan May won respective titles at 138 and 152, undefeated and top-ranked Alfred Bannister of McNamara won by a 23-10 major decision at 145 and Josh Simon won the only individual title for St. John’s with a close 3-1 decision at 160.
St. Mary’s Ryken junior Josh Llopez and DeMatha junior Clay Conaway beat Good Counsel wrestlers at 170 and 182 before the Falcons’ top three standouts took the mat for the team’s big finish.
Neff pinned his opponent in eight seconds, Snyder scored five takedowns in the first minute and seven in total before getting his pin and Averette needed just 1 minute 1 second to end his bout.
The Falcons remain unmatched against local competition this season. With Maryland Independent States and National Preps on their horizon later this month, they know what they can expect from their back end.
“Those three guys at the end, they’re hammers,” Good Counsel Coach Skylar Saar said. “They’re maybe the three best upperweights in the country as a group.”