Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Mustangs place pair at WCAC tournament

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Ask DeMatha High School wrestling coach Dick Messier how it feels to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship each season and chances are he will tell you the same thing every time.

‘‘It never gets old for the kids,” said Messier. ‘‘Every year, they just get up for it. Winning the WCAC is our first goal every year. It should be the goal of every team to want to win their conference championship.”

The Stags kept that tradition going with another dominant performance Saturday at Gonzaga (D.C.) High, scoring 235 points en route to their 23rd consecutive title. The Stags had six wrestlers win individual championships and another four reach the finals. Bishop O’Connell (Va.) was the runner-up with 159.5 points in the nine-team event. Bishop McNamara finished in seventh place with 31 points.

Seniors Matt Dugan and Mike Aguggia became three-time WCAC champions for DeMatha at 140 pounds and 189, respectively. Senior Mike Munno (145) and sophomore Toby Onyekweli (112) were repeat champions. Juniors Cory Wilson (160) and Ben Hatef (215) each claimed their first titles.

Sophomore Pat Prada (103), freshman Kyle Hayden (125), junior Nick Pelacanos (135) and sophomore heavyweight Arie Kouandjio all were runners-up.

McNamara junior Andrew Bannister, who had been ranked No. 1 by the Maryland State Wrestling Association at 125, moved up to 130 on Saturday, but was beaten in the final by O’Connell’s Jonathan Carpenter on a 7-5 decision.

‘‘Andrew was pretty sick [last week],” said McNamara coach Juan Solera. ‘‘He was not able to go down to his usual weight. But at the end of the day, he lost to someone not in his weight class. Getting that silver medal when he is used to getting a gold medal, it should inspire him and have him ready to go at St. Albans (D.C.) and the state tournament and National Preps.”

Bannister’s teammate, sophomore Aaron Jackson, won the consolation title at 103 with a 6-2 decision against Elliott Mondragon of Bishop Ireton (Va.). It was Jackson’s WCAC debut.

E-mail Adam Rubenstein at arubenstein@gazette.net.