An even-tempered wrestler, McDonogh's Jack Clark has twice won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state tournaments, as well as a National Preps crown after having been a runner-up the past two years.
But during the host Eagles' McDonogh Holiday Duals on Friday, the 145-pound junior showed how dominant he can be against the best Maryland has to offer when he's a little fired up.
Clark began the day with a pin over John Carroll's Artie Milner before scoring a 21-5 technical fall over Wilde Lake's Malik Jackson. That was followed by a fall in 3:03 over Wes Cook, Winters Mill's returning 4A-3A state champ.
The No. 1-ranked Eagles overcame a scare to defeat fifth-ranked MIAA rival, John Carroll, 41-31, handled Wilde Lake, 53-18, and beat No. 2 Winters Mill, 44-24, ending a 39-match winning streak by the two-time defending 2A-1A dual meet champions.
Clark had expected to face rival George Weber of John Carroll, who has twice been state runner-up to Clark. But as part of a strategy meant to win the match, Weber was moved to 152, where he edged the Eagles' National Preps runner-up Toby Hague, 6-2.
A distracted Clark was initially caught off guard by Jackson, against whom he trailed early, 2-0, after yielding only the third takedown of the season.
"That kid came out ready, a lot more than I was, and he caught me off guard. But that made me mad. So I just got ready, warmed up in the room and I just took it out on [Cook]," Clark said. "I really wanted to wrestle Weber, and I didn't get to wrestle him, so I sort of let down. But this showed me that you warm up for every match, treat everyone the same, and you never take anyone lightly because people can surprise you."
The Eagles were given a run by Weber's Patriots, who received pins from Austin Smith (113), state runner-up Scott Strappelli (132) and Christian Almony (160), as well as a major decision from Hunter Ritter (182) and a decision by Sam Martino (126).
Down by as much as 18-7 after five bouts, and 27-19 after nine, the Eagles received a major decision by Travis Wood (195) and a fall by sophomore Mike Smith (220), which preceded the bout-clinching forfeit to Dan Maltsev (285) to sweep the victory.
Against the Patriots, the Eagles also got first-period pins from state runners-up Xavi Ramos (138) and Myles Martin (170), and a major decision from freshman TK McGonigal (106), who also blanked Winters Mill's fourth-place state finisher, Flavio Alexander, 11-0, to avenge an earlier loss.
Winters Mill wrestlers Taylor Logue (113) and Cody Sharkey (152), who went 4-0, and 4-1, respectively, reached the 100-career victories milestone. A fourth-place finisher at states, Logue is 100-23, and Sharkey, sixth, was 101-20.
Coming off a year during which he won the Howard County and regional titles before placing fourth at the 3A-4A state tournament, River Hill junior Cory Daniel (195) ran his record to 20-0 with a fall, a forfeit and two decisions, the last of which was earned via overtime rideout criteria over Smith.