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MSJ beats Loyola after comeback

A quick glimpse of the two team’s scores versus Gilman would lead one to suspect Legacy Wrestling’s 4th ranked Loyola Dons had the ability to upset No. 2 Mt. St. Joseph on Friday evening in their home gym. After all, the Dons fell to the Greyhounds, 39-30, while the Gaels suffered a 44-23 loss.

Coach Steve Truitt’s squad always seems to hit adversity ahead of the MIAA A Conference Mt. St. Joe match-up. A few years ago, following a Dons win at the Bauerlein Duals, a different Loyola team faced the Gaels in the league meeting, where they were banged up and fell to St. Joe.

That misfortune has tended to rear its head by injury in recent seasons, but this one was sidetracked by the flu with Loyola down state ranked starters in Judah Aybar, Brandyn Fish, and Riley Miller.

“It was a great match” Truitt said. “You know St. Joe's obviously a great team. Harry is a great coach. They've got a lot of good wrestlers. We weren't at full strength, but no excuses, it's gotta be next man up and you gotta do the job. We were close, we were close, just a couple matches here and there and it's a different outcome, but kudos to them, and we'll see them next week at MIAA Tournament.”

The Dons had their fans fired up as they peeled off a four-match run of wins to kick off the dual and take a 21-0 lead. Aiden Bird received a forfeit at 215. Luke Randazzo posted a fall at 285, taking out Thomas Brandel with 10 seconds left in the second period, 3:50.

As the match turned to the little guys, No. 6 Phil Key followed Randazzo’s lead with a pin of his own, 1:19, over No.23 Angelo Kibby at 106. No. 1 Jayden Jackson blanked No. 5 Joseph Cooper, 3-0, at 113.

No. 2 Jake Tamai stepped on the mat and provided a momentum changer for his squad when he worked to an 11-1 major decision against No. 7 Cayden Farver in the 120lb match. That would be the first of St. Joe’s six consecutive wins to gain the advantage in the dual.

“All these MIAA teams are much better than last year,” Tamai remarked. “You know, they're all looking good, but I think we're still in the mix. We did lose to Gilman, but I think we're gonna be able to come back strong, and we'll see them at MIAAs, see them at states, see them everywhere. So, I look to build off this performance keep our momentum going.”

At 126, Bryan Santangelo flattened Lincoln Weeks in the first period, 1:24. No. 7 Tyler Stephens was facing a familiar foe in No. 8 Josh Hale, whom he defeated twice at War on the Shore. Stephens needed a late takedown to secure this win, but did so, 3-2, and kept the Gaels in the win column.

“I was just thinking that (I) just gotta get to my attacks and I knew if I shot, I could take him down, so as I saw the time run out, I knew I had to attack and get to something,” Stephens said. “Ooh yeah, definitely there was some urgency there, obviously I was looking to get the bonus points, ‘cause I pinned him the last time, but at least we still came out with the win got some points for the team.”

138 provided one of those matches with unheralded wrestlers facing off that swing matches in the victor’s way and that played out here as Shane Anderson pulled out an 8-3 decision over Casy Nazelrod to add to St. Joe’s tally.

The Gaels were missing their regular 144-pounder Jaden Diggs, so coach Harry Barnabae slid the state’s top ranked 138lber up to 144. Carter Nogle, who is listed in Scorebook Live’s honorable mention section for 138lbers across the nation, wasted little time putting six more on the board for St. Joe with a 1:13 decking of No. 25 Evan Williams.

Nogle’s win gave St. Joe a 22-21 lead, and they would stay out front the rest of the time. Cameron Cannaday added six more to the Gaels’ count with a third period pin of Nathan Shepherd, 5:13, at 157, and a 28-21 edge.

Nevan McKneely brought the Dons back within one at 28-27, following his 68 second fall of Nico Dinisio in the 157lb match. Instead of building on that win, Loyola sat back helplessly and watched the No. 2 165-pounder in the state drop a 52 second pin on their backup, Nick Fought.

A 34-27 deficit greeted Loyola’s Noah Brannon at 175. On paper, it figured Brannon would likely secure bonus points given his No. 12 ranking in the state while his opponent, Gabe McWhite, is unranked. Those numbers did not matter to McWhite as he pushed Brannon to the brink before the Don pulled it out at the end, 3-2.

With score at 34-30 in St. Joe’s favor, top-rated Austin Lewis came out at 190 to close out the win with a 48 second planting of Brendan Kelly to arrive at the final 40-30 tabulation.

“I think we did pretty good as a team and we're just trying to get better in the room this week prepare for MIAAs and States,” Lewis said.

Barnabae reflected on St. Joe’s performance and the touched on next weekend’s MIAA Tournament.

“Overall, the team wrestled well. We had to make a couple of adjustments with some wrestlers sidelined. Shane Anderson came up with a big win at 138 as we moved Carter Nogle up to 144 to cover for Jaden Diggs, who was out with an illness. The MIAAs should prove to be an exciting tournament with us, Gilman and Loyola all vying for the title. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

Mt. St. Joseph 40, Loyola-Blakefield 30

215-Aiden Bird won by forfeit

285-Luke Randazzo (L) pinned Thomas Brandel, 3:50

106-Phil Key (L) pinned Angelo Kibby, 1:19

113-Jayden Jackson (L) pinned Joseph Cooper, 3-0

120-Jake Tamai (MSJ) maj-dec Cayden Farver, 11-4

126-Bryan Santangelo (MSJ) pinned Lincoln Weeks, 1:24

132-Tyler Stephens (MSJ) dec Josh Hale, 3-2

138-Shane Anderson (MSJ) dec Casey Nazelrod

144-Cameron Nogle (MSJ) pinned Evan Williams, 5:13

150-Cameron Cannaday (MSJ) pinned Nathan Shepherd, 5:13

157-Nevan McKneely (L) pinned Nico Dinisio, 1:08

165-Nicolas Barnabae (MSJ) pinned Fought, :52

175-Noah Brannon (L) dec Gabe McWhite, 3-2

190-Austin Lewis (MSJ) pinned Brendan Kelly, :48

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