The banners draping the walls at DeMatha on Saturday afternoon told the story of the Stags’ storied wrestling history. On the mats, however, No. 2 Good Counsel made a clear statement to the rest of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference: its dynasty is now.
With six individual champions and five more placewinners, the Falcons cruised to their second consecutive WCAC championship, beating the second-place Stags by more than 60 points. DeMatha has won 25 conference titles, but Good Counsel has now won three of the past four.
Seniors Adam Whitesell (113 pounds) and Matt Kelly (138 pounds) each won individual titles for Good Counsel, as did junior Nick Miller (182 pounds). But the Falcons also got stellar individual performances from some of their younger wrestlers, including freshman Bailey Thomas (126 pounds) and sophomores Kevin Budock (132 pounds) and Kevin Snyder (195 pounds).
For Whitesell, that all-around success shows just how much Good Counsel’s program has grown.
“We work harder than anybody else does,” said Whitesell, who has committed to Maryland. “Our coach [2011 All-Met Coach of the Year Skylar Saar] does a really good job of conditioning us and not letting us take any days off. He really just pushes us to keep scoring.”
After finishing third in the conference as a freshman and sophomore, Whitesell won his second title in a row Saturday, pinning Logan Wilson of DeMatha. Whitesell built a substantial lead but didn’t settle for a major decision or technical fall. He wanted the pin.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to get these big leads in tournaments: we’re putting a lot of bonus points up,” Whitesell said. “This year, my goal’s really been to pin everybody.”
Snyder, whose older brother Kyle was a two-time All-Met Wrestler of the Year for the Falcons, was equally proud of his team’s accomplishments. He transferred to Good Counsel from Century before the season in large part because of wrestling.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve been a part of,” Snyder said. “I transferred here because I knew what we were capable of. It’s something really amazing to be a part of.”
Other strong performances included repeat All-Met Alfred Bannister, who won each of his three matches with with pins to claim his fourth consecutive WCAC title. The victory capped an impressive week in which the McNamara senior and Maryland commit broke the state’s career wins record, which after Saturday stands at 257.
Fellow Maryland recruit Josh Llopez of St. Mary’s Ryken also pinned his opponent in the finals to win an individual crown at 170 pounds. Llopez, like so many wrestlers Saturday, will now turn his attention to bigger and better things.
“It means a lot to be up there [on the podium]. It’s a big accomplishment,” Llopez said. “But I want to be a state champ and national prep champ. That’s all I’m going to look at.”