Skip to main content

New Jersey’s Blair Academy wins first National Prep crown since 2019

Blair’s four champs set the pace, McGowan and Norman become three-time champs, Lake Highland Preps shines with second place finish and three champs
  • Author:
  • Updated:

UPPER MARLBORO, MARYLAND – The team race was slightly close in the early part of the National Prep Tournament at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, this weekend, but as the semifinals unfolded the seven finalists of Blair Academy (New Jersey), the top-ranked team in Mat Scouts National Team Rankings, gave Blair a comfortable margin that would grow as they outpaced No. 12 Lake Highland Prep (Florida), 333-286.5.

“I’m really happy for the kids,” Blair Academy coach Ross Gitomer said. “And to bring a title back Blair. I don’t know, I think it’s been maybe four or five years since we won it, so that’s really good. I’m feeling for a lot of the guys. We had four champs. But I know a lot of the guys really wanted to win, so anytime guys don’t win, you feel for them because they put in a lot of work. I’m really proud of the team. There were some things I probably could have done a better job preparing for but not looking back on it. It was a good tournament. The competition was good.”

Blair Academy (New Jersey) pushed seven wrestlers to the semifinals and won four individual titles to win the team race at the 2023 National Preps by nearly 50 points over Florida's Lake Highland Prep.

Blair Academy (New Jersey) pushed seven wrestlers to the semifinals and won four individual titles to win the team race at the 2023 National Preps by nearly 50 points over Florida's Lake Highland Prep.

Helping Blair win their first crown in four years with championship runs were No. 2 Marc-Anthony McGowan (126), Peter Snyder (165), No. 4 Lorenzo Norman (175) and Nolan Neves (285). McGowan and Norman became three-time champs.

Blair's Marc-Anthony McGowan (right) sizes up Malvern Prep's Nikoulas O'Neill in th 126lb final. McGowan won his third title.

Blair's Marc-Anthony McGowan (right) sizes up Malvern Prep's Nikoulas O'Neill in th 126lb final. McGowan won his third title.

McGowan executed a controlling match over No. 11 Nikolaus O’Neill (Malvern Prep, PA). Putting in a strong 4-1 decision. O’Neill reached the finals after pulling off a mild upset of No. 10 Coleman Nogle (Mt. St. Joseph, MD), 1-0, in the semis.

“It’s nice,” McGowan added. “I’m happy I won but I’m also, I think, a little more relieved that I ended my high school career off with a win. I love coming to this tournament. It’s a great atmosphere. I’ve had it in a couple different arenas. It’s a great time, every single time we come. So, to win a third title is amazing.”

McGowan’s three titles were won during “regular” prep tournaments. The COVID year saw the prep tournament go to an open format with no qualifiers. If you attended a member school, you were eligible to compete.

Norman participated in that open tournament where he won his first National Prep crown. The senior followed it up last year with a second and pocketed a third with a dominating 8-1 win over No. 13 Omaury Alvarez (Baylor School, TN).

Two-time National Prep champ Lorenzo Norman (Blair) comes out on top of a scramble with Omaury Alvarez (Baylor School) at 175lbs.

Two-time National Prep champ Lorenzo Norman (Blair) comes out on top of a scramble with Omaury Alvarez (Baylor School) at 175lbs.

Peter Snyder competed up at 175 for most of the season where he put a strong resume together that had him just on the outside of the national rankings. Blair switched him and Norman for the postseason, and it paid off as both won crowns. Snyder’s came in the first overtime frame when he secured the winning takedown over Xavier Giles (Green Farms Academy, CT), 3-1. Giles upset nationally ranked No. 1 seed Nolan O’Boyle (Norfolk Academy, VA – No. 24), 10-6, in the semis.

“I’m super amped,” Snyder said excitedly. “At the beginning of the year, it was not really on my goal sheet. (I wanted) just to place. Then later on through the year, I kept working hard. I knew I could win it. As soon as we went into overtime, I was like this kid’s gassed. I may be a little tired but I’m not as tired as him. I shot and took him down.”

At 165, Blair's Peter Snyder (right) needed overtime to defeat Green Farms Academy's Xavier Giles II.

At 165, Blair's Peter Snyder (right) needed overtime to defeat Green Farms Academy's Xavier Giles II.

Nolan Neves, who is the brother of 215lber Carter Neves, won the heavyweight title as a post-grad student, edging four-time prep placer, and two-time finalist, Billy Brosko (Haverford School, PA), 4-3. Brosko is honorable mention at 285 in SB Live’s National Rankings.

Placing second for Blair were No. 5 Leo DeLuca (120), No. 18 Matthew Lopes (132), and No. 3 Carter Neves (215). Bringing home bronze were No. 5 Tyler DeKraker (113), No. 3 William Henckel (152), and No. 15 Paul Ognissanti (157). Josh Anthony was fourth at 190, including a 4-3 win over No. 22 Nick Wehmeyer (Malvern Prep). Billy DeKraker was fifth at 138 as was No. 22 Logan Rozynski at 144.

The story of the tournament, though, was Lake Highland Prep’s exceptional performance. Ranked No. 12 in the nation coming in, the Highlanders outpaced two squads ranked higher than them – No. 4 Wyoming Seminary (PA) and No. 5 Malvern Prep.

Florida's Lake Highland Prep surprised many with their second place showing at the National Preps.

Florida's Lake Highland Prep surprised many with their second place showing at the National Preps.

Two of their finalists pulled off massive upsets, with Claudio Torres (150) marking this as his signature tournament performnace. Torres (No. 21 in the country) was seeded fifth based off a loss to No. 17 Chris Crawford (Wyoming Seminary) at PowerAde. Torres avenged that loss with an 8-6 victory.

In the semis, the sophomore faced the top seed, Blair’s No. 3 William Henckel. Henckel, who is also a sophomore, placed second at last year's preps and was an Ironman runner-up this year. None of that fazed Torres as he pulled off the overtime upset, 3-1.

Lake Highland Prep's Claudio Torres (right) works for an advantage over St. Mary's-Ryken's Mekhi Neal in his upset victory at 150.

Lake Highland Prep's Claudio Torres (right) works for an advantage over St. Mary's-Ryken's Mekhi Neal in his upset victory at 150.

In the finals, Torres met the No. 2 seed No. 15 Mekhi Neal (St. Mary’s-Ryken, MD). Torres held the lead for most of the match, but Neal wouldn’t fold. The match was extremely tight in the third period with Torres eventually getting his hand raised as a 9-8 victor.

“I knew the seeding, with where I was at, I knew I could definitely do better and prove them wrong, which I did,” Torres added. “I’m glad I had my team here, also performing really well. We’re coming out of here top three, so that’s great. I’ve been working for it all year. I had a lot of bad things happen throughout the year, wins, losses, but it turned out good.”

A match earlier at 144, Ethan Mojena (HM in SBLive’s rankings) shocked National Prep runner-up and No. 7 in the nation Sam Cartella (Western Reserve, OH), 7-4. Mojena took control of the match early and kept the pressure on Cartella, who was not able to be as effective from the top position as he is used to. Mojena also took out No. 22 Rozynski in the semis, 4-3.

Lake Highland Prep's Ethan Mojena (right) upsets Sam Cartella (Western Reserve) to win 144lb crown.

Lake Highland Prep's Ethan Mojena (right) upsets Sam Cartella (Western Reserve) to win 144lb crown.

“I was just thinking, go out there, wrestle my match,” Mojena continued. “He likes to grab and have a slow pace. I was just on the outside poking around, faking, get him jumping. It’s really great. Last year, I came here, was the second seed, and ended up taking fifth. So, this year, third seed and got first, so it was a big accomplishment. I’m just happy I got it done in my senior year before I leave. This was my last tournament competing in the high school season.”

The Highlanders’ leader is No. 14 Ethan Rivera (138). The senior used a 5-3 decision over No. 19 Spencer Barnhart (Malvern Prep) to secure his second consecutive prep championship.

“No. 2, No. 2,” exclaimed Rivera. “You know it took a lot of hard work to get here. Obviously, everybody has to work hard to get to this point. It just feels good for all of it to finally pay off. Especially, to end off my high school career like this. There’s no better feeling. I had a couple of slip ups here and there but, I got the job done and that’s what matters, hand raised at the end.”

Coming up short in their title quests for Lake Highland were Liam Davis (106) and No. 12 Elijah Rivera (113). Rivera improved on a seventh place showing last year. The junior’s marquee win came when he blanked No. 5 Tyler DeKraker, 6-0, in the semis.

Placing third for the Highlanders were Colin Kacena (126), Josh Boykin (165), and Daniel Williams (190). Kacena upset No. 10 Nogle in the bronze medal match, 4-2. Boykin needed overtime to take out No. 24 O’Boyle, 6-5.

Zeno Moore was fourth at 132 for Lake Highland. Placing sixth were Charlie DeSena (120) and Omer Barak (175).

Rivera fell to Malvern Prep’s No. 6 Lukas Littleton in overtime, 3-1, in the 113lb final. Littleton wrestled the early part of the season up at 120. An injury to Anthony Mutarelli opened the door for Littleton at 113. Starting with Escape the Rock, where he took second, Littleton has capitalized on the opportunity and is now a National Prep Champion.

“I just kept working in the room,” reflected Littleton. “I knew that one day if I just keep working and grinding at practice, I could be that starter. And It’s just been awesome since Escape the Rock, finishing runner-up and beating good kids. In the beginning of the year, I never thought it would happen.”

Littleton’s teammate, No. 17 Jack Consiglio, registered the first fall of the championship finals at 132. Consiglio won his second crown, after being a runner-up last year, with a third period decking of Blair’s Lopes, 4:54.

Wyoming Seminary equaled Blair’s champion count with four of their won. No. 6 Davis Motyka got the round started right for Seminary with a 1-0 win over Lake Highland’s Davis. No. 2 Luke Lilledahl, who was third here last year, posted a 5-3 decision over defending prep champ, DeLuca (Blair) at 120.

“It was harder this year,” Lilledahl offered. “I got third last year. But I think I had a harder bracket this year. With a lot of better guys in it this year. I felt pretty good overall. The finals coulda been a little better, just moving my feet more and taking a little more risk, as far as shots and stuff like that. But other than that, I think I wrestled pretty well.”

No. 1 Joe Sealey (157) cruised to his second straight prep title, picking up the second pin of the finals, 3:20, versus Malvern Prep’s No. 20 Reed Fullmer. Fullmer reversed an earlier loss to Blair’s Ognissanti with a 3-2 win in the semis. Sophomore Jude Correa is now halfway to becoming a four-time prep champ. After capturing gold as a freshman, Correa added title No. 2 with a 4-0 shutout of No. 21 Nate Taylor (Green Farms Academy) in the 190lb final.

The last champ, Steven Burrell, hails from Green Farms Academy. Burrell is a post-graduate student, who ended up being named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. In the finals, Burrell downed No. 4 Carter Neves, 5-2. When Neves was at 285, he took out the top two heavyweights in the nation at Escape the Rock, Jim Mullen (St. Joe’s Regional, NJ) and Riley Robell (Bishop McDevitt, PA). Burrell beat No. 20 Bryce Phillips (Mt. St. Joseph) in the semis, 8-3.

Team Scores: (Top 20)

1-Blair Academy, NJ 333

2-Lake Highland Prep, FL 286.5

3-Malvern Prep, PA 280

4-Wyoming Seminary, PA 253

5-Green Farms Academy, CT

6-St. Mary’s-Ryken, MD 126.5

7-Mount St. Joseph, MD 123.5

8-St. Christopher’s, VA 119.5

9-Northfield Mount Hermon, MA 111.5

10-Baylor School, TN 97

11-Belmont Hill, MA 93

12-St. Benedict’s, NJ 71

13-Wesetrn Reserve, OH 70.5

14-Archbishop Spalding, MD 60

15-Haverford Prep, PA 59

16-Father Ryan, TN 55.5

16-Gilman, MD 55.5

18-Hill School, PA 50

19-Landon, MD 49.5

20-Montgomery Bell Academy, TN 46


106: Davis Motyka Kingston, PA (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Liam Davis Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep), 1-0

113: Lukas Littleton Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep) DEC Ethan Rivera Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep), 3-1 SV

120: Luke Lilledahl St Louis, MO (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Leo Deluca Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy), 5-2

126: Marc-anthony Mcgowan New Brunswick, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Nikolaus Oneill Philadelphia, PA (Malvern Prep), 4-1

132: Jack Consiglio Lansdale, PA (Malvern Prep) F Matthew Lopes Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy), 4:54

138: Eligh Rivera Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Spencer Barnhart Kennett Square, PA (Malvern Prep), 5-3

144: Ethan Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Sam Cartella Hudson, OH (Western Reserve Academy), 7-4

150: Claudio Torres Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Mekhi Neal Leonardtown, MD (St. Mary's Ryken), 9-8

157: Joseph Sealey High Point, NC (Wyoming Seminary) F Reed Fullmer Wayne, PA (Malvern Prep), 3:20

165: Peter Snyder Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Xavier Giles Bronx, NY (Green Farms Academy), 3-1 SV

175: Lorenzo Norman Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Omury Alvarez Dalton, GA (Baylor School), 8-1

190: Jude Correa Kingston, PA (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Nate Taylor Newtown, CT (Green Farms Academy), 4-0

215: Steven Burrell jr New Rochelle, NY (Green Farms Academy) DEC Carter Neves Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy), 5-2

285: Nolan Neves Hardwick Township, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Billy Brosko Newtown Square, PA (The Haverford School), 4-3


106: Tyler Conroy West Chester, PA (Malvern Prep) FOR Julian Rios Lowell, MA (Phillips Andover)

113: Tyler Dekraker Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) MD Jacob Bond Chattanooga, TN (Baylor School), 8-0

120: Tommy Link Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep) DEC Joseph Calvin Nashville, TN (Father Ryan High School), 7-2

126: Colin Kacena Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Coleman Nogle Bowie, MD (Mount Saint Joseph), 4-2

132: Tyson Sherlock Linthicum, MD (Gilman School) DEC Zeno Moore Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep), 3-1 SV

138: Cale Roggie Richmond, VA (St. Christopher's School) DEC Giuseppe Iamunno North Haven, CT (Green Farms Academy), 6-4

144: Joel Brown Bethesda, MD (Landon) DEC Clayton Gabrielson Chesapeake Beach, MD (St. Mary's Ryken), 6-3

150: William Henckel Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) F Christopher Crawford Kingston, PA (Wyoming Seminary), 7:30

157: Paul Ognissanti Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Jt Chance Hudson, OH (Western Reserve Academy), 3-1

165: Joshua Boykin Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Nolan O'boyle Virginia Beach, VA (Norfolk Academy), 6-5 UTB

175: David Barrett Longmeadow, MA (Northfield Mt. Hermon) DEC Shane Cartagena-walsh Ocean Township, NJ (St. Benedict's Prep), 6-4 SV

190: Daniel Williams Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep) DEC Josh Anthony Hardwick Township, NJ (Blair Academy), 8-7

215: Joshua Cordio Lancaster, MA (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Bryce Phillips , MD (Mount Saint Joseph), 3-2

285: Chris Murphy Guilford, CT (Green Farms Academy) MD Aden Roe Saltsburg, PA (Kiski School), 13-1


106: Ellis Kirsch Chevy Chase, MD (Bullis School) DEC Austin Wood White Plains, MD (St. Mary's Ryken), 8-5

113: Wyatt Fry Tunkhannock, PA (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Drew Roggie Smithfield, VA (St. Christopher's School), 2-0

120: Jack Parker glen allen, VA (St. Christopher's School) DEC Charlie Desena Orlando, FL (Lake Highland Prep), 3-2

126: Vincent Paolucci Severn, MD (Archbishop Spalding) DEC Jay Mcdonnell Broomall, PA (The Haverford School), 5-1

132: Casen Roark , TN (Father Ryan High School) FOR Brycen Arbogast Charlotte Court House, VA (Benedictine Prep)

138: Billy Dekraker Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Emmitt Sherlock Linthicum Heights, MD (Gilman School), 3-1

144: Logan Rozynski Blairstown, NJ (Blair Academy) DEC Tyler Hood Chesterfield, VA (St. Christopher's School), 1-0

150: Nathan Rickards Pottstown, PA (Malvern Prep) DEC Mitchell Faglioni Richmond, VA (St. Christopher's School), 2-1

157: Alex Gavronsky Wayland, MA (Belmont Hill) DEC Declan Casey Hooksett, NH (St. Benedict's Prep), 4-3

165: Shaymus Macintosh Bridgewater, MA (Northfield Mt. Hermon) DEC Anwar Alli Ashley, OH (Wyoming Seminary), 3-1

175: Dominic Federici Swoyersville, PA (Wyoming Seminary) DEC Omer Barak Boca Raton, FL (Lake Highland Prep), 10-6 SV

190: Nick Wehmeyer Quakertown, PA (Malvern Prep) DEC Luke Malveaux Houston, TX (St. Thomas), 1-0

215: Brady Colbert Manassas, VA (Paul VI) MD Gabe Fisher Nashville, TN (Montgomery Bell Academy), 9-1

285: Gavin Bage Baltimore, MD (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Max Fisher Nashville, TN (Montgomery Bell Academy), 1-0


106: Oumar Tounkara Bronx, NY (St. Benedict's Prep) DEC Jayden Jackson (Loyola-Blakefield), 9-7 SV

113: Jake Tamai Columbia, MD (Mount Saint Joseph) DEC Kody Tanimoto Fort Worth, TX (All Saints Episcopal), 3-2

120: Sean Garretson Severn, MD (Archbishop Spalding) FOR Sulayman Bah Saltsburg, PA (Kiski School)

126: Griffin Stewart Baltimore, MD (Calvert Hall) FOR Kade Davidheiser Barto, PA (The Hill School)

132: Luke Murray Carrollton, VA (Peninsula Catholic School) DEC Walker Turley Chester, VA (St. Christopher's School), 10-4

138: Nate Askew Chattanooga, TN (Baylor School) DEC Lane Foard Reva, VA (Benedictine Prep), 3-2

144: Sp Odonnell Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep) DEC Chancery Deane Nashville, TN (Father Ryan High School), 1-0

150: Micah Tisdale Chattanooga, TN (Baylor School) DEC T.j. Langley Hudson, OH (Western Reserve Academy), 2-0

157: Mason Buckler Owings, MD (St. Mary's Ryken) DQ

165: Will Buckler Owings, MD (St. Mary's Ryken) FOR Colby Isabelle Pottstown, PA (The Hill School)

175: Haden Bottiglieri Brookline, MA (Belmont Hill) F Pearson Hill Wallingford, CT (Choate Rosemary Hall), 3:49

190: Gerard Johnson Owings Mills, MD (St. Mary's Ryken) DEC Ruben Karapetyan Washington D C, DC (St. John's College), 4-1

215: Dylan Greenstein Lynnfield, MA (Northfield Mt. Hermon) DEC Stosh Zalota Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep), 7-4

285: Logan Marissal Gill, MA (Northfield Mt. Hermon) DEC Philip Tabasso Malvern, PA (Malvern Prep), 3-0