LONDONDERRY — Sparked by a pair of juniors, the number nine proved magical for the Timberlane wrestling team last night at the Meet of Champions.
The Owls had nine finalists of their 10 qualifiers for next week’s New England meet in Providence. In the process, the Owls captured their ninth straight MOC crown and 12th in the last 13 years.
Timberlane finished with 280 points, far ahead of surprising runner-up Manchester Central (134) and third-place Pinkerton (110), which enjoyed a fine day with three champions.
“We wrestled extremely well in the quarterfinals, knowing we’d get 10 place-winners. Then when we won nine of 10 in the semifinals, that made it a great day,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. “We’ve got some work to do, but I’m pretty pleased.”
Among those Chooljian was particularly pleased with were juniors Josh Burnham and Harry Denoncourt, both of whom made recoveries to capture two of Timberlane’s four individual titles. Star 113-pounder Zach Bridson and another junior, Adam Corey, had the others.
Burnham came back strong this year after finishing a disappointing fourth at last year’s MOC.
“I really wanted to go to New England last year and, when I didn’t, it made me more determined to do it this year,” said Burnham, who earned a decisive 7-0 victory in the 132-pound finals and improved to 42-5 on the year. “I’ve wanted this all year along with placing at New England.”
Burnham knows, however, that winning a fifth straight New England crown with a young team will not be easy.
“Everyone is going to have to step it up even more next week,” said Burnham.
It will be difficult for Denoncourt to step up much more than he did yesterday, however. The junior 182-pounder, who finished fourth at the Division 1 meet a week ago, pulled a stunner in the semifinals when he edged Concord standout Walters Ndi 4-3 in overtime and then won a convincing 9-5 decision in the finals.
Joining them with first places in dominating fashion were Bridson and Corey.
Bridson, a three-time MOC winner, had three first-period pins and improved to 44-2 for the season. He also picked up a scholarship from the New Hampshire Wrestling Coaches Association before the finals and later was named Outstanding Wrestler for the second straight week.
A repeat MOC champion, like Bridson, Corey had it tougher, but he was never in serious trouble all day. He defeated Londonderry rival Dan Roger in the finals for the second straight week, this time 5-3, lifting his season mark to 32-8.
Finishing second for the Owls were Jake Durkin (106), freshman Dan Scalzo (126), Josh Riley (160), Efrain Rolan (170) and heavyweight Jordan Eastman. Riley, who is 39-6 on the year, got in bad positions twice and dropped an 8-5 decision to Casey Quinn of Hollis-Brookline.
Luke Morrier advanced for the Owls by placing third at 152.
Pinkerton got off to a great start when freshman Jean-Luc Lemieux dominated Durkin in the 106-pound finals, winning with a 9-0 major decision to improve to 35-2 on the year. Zach Daigle (33-5) had the meet of his career to capture the 138-pound title, winning 7-5 in overtime over Manchester Central’s Keaton Peterson in the finals.
Finally Tanner Burke became one of four repeat champs on the day with a courageous crown at 145. Breezing along with a 7-0 lead in the second period, Burke suffered what looked like a serious knee injury, but he eventually got off the mat and returned to action, pinning Nashua South’s Marcus Jacobo in the third period.
Also from the area, Sanborn’s Jon Scheidegger had a fine tournament to finish second at 152 while three Salem wrestlers — Ryan Bolduc, Jon Rheaume and Alex Lira — took thirds to advance to New England. Rheaume defeated Pelham’s Josh Medeiros in the consolation finals.
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Wrestling, 02/25/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Junior Jon Rheaume and senior Alex Lira both had first-minute pins and picked up their 100th career wins as Salem (13-6) stunner Nashua North 50-27. Ryan Bolduc (113) and Ryan Decker (182) both had pivotal wins that will help in their seeding for the Division 1 tournament.
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Wrestling, 02/08/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Freshman 138-pounder Mike Burke recorded a technical fall as Salem whipped Nashua South 44-30. Phil Smith also had a tech. fall for the Blue Devils, who had four pins on the night.
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Wrestling, 01/18/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Timberlane started four freshmen, two of whom (Dan Scalzo and Brian Lonergan) won their matches, as the Owls crushed Salem 57-10. Senior Efrain Rolan had an impressive pin of Phil Smith at 170 for the Owls.
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Wrestling, 01/04/12 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
With six wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket and another six fighting through the consolation round, Timberlane is well positioned to improve its second place position in today's conclusion of the Lowell Holiday Tourney.
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Wrestling, 12/29/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Salem's wrestling team improved to 4-1 by edging Londonderry 33-27, but Salem coach Wes Decker was not exactly pleased.
"The better team didn't win this meet," said Decker. "They outwrestled us on the mat."
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Wrestling, 12/21/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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SALEM — With some modification, the recent tradition continued for the Central Catholic and Pinkerton wrestling teams yesterday at the season-opening Blue Devil Classic.
While both have had fine dual meet teams over the last decade, both teams have been more noted for their standout individuals. Based on yesterday’s performance, that pattern may be repeated, although they both showed some added depth that may eventually translate into superior dual-meet strength.
Concord came in first for the eighth time in 10 years with 216 points, with surprising Nashua South (155 1/2) a distant second, while Central Catholic (152) and Pinkerton (147) took the next two spots thanks to some outstanding individual performances that included three champions apiece.
Central’s champions were defending New England champion Ryan O’Boyle, who pinned Salem’s John Rheaume in the 126-pound finals, 120-pounder Pat Lacroix and 132-pounder Chris Lacroix, the latter of whom captured his first tournament crown with an 11-7 decision over Spaulding’s Ed Davis in the finals.
The Astros’ gold medalists were veterans Tanner Burke, who had a second-period pin at 152 pounds, and 145-pounder Zack Daigle, while freshman Jean-Luc Lemieux joined the standouts with a dominating performance at 106.
Lemieux had three first-period pins, including over Andover freshman Tyler Ferris in the finals, and gave notice that he’ll be a force throughout the season. He’s a defending middle school champion who was third in New England last year.
“He (Lemieux) has a lot of skill and I expect a lot out of him and another freshman, Tyler Wilson,” said first-year Pinkerton coach Dave Rhoads. “The difference is that he has so much experience.”
Which is putting it mildly.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was 3-years-old at the Manchester YMCA,” said Lemieux, who has wrestled for the Derry Boys and Girls Club, Dough Boy and Smitty’s Barn. “I’ve always been active and I love it.”
Not surprisingly, Lemieux wasn’t nervous in the least by wrestling in his first high school tournament.
“I’ve wrestled in a lot of tournaments ... it didn’t seem that different,” said Lemieux, whose season goal is to qualify for New England.
Pinkerton also had a runner-up in 182-pounder Kevin Ell, who was pinned by Concord strongman Walters Ndi in the finals, and four third-place finishers.
In the 220-pound class, Central had the runner-up in Manny Suarez and third-place finisher in Ben Tavitian, who had a strong tournament. Tavitian had three pins within the first minute.
“For a first tournament, I thought we looked pretty good,” said Central coach Dennis King. “It was good to see Chris take first and Ben and Manny looked very good.”
Host Salem, which finished fifth, was led by 170-pounder Phil Smith, who defeated teammate Cody Sharpe 14-8 in the finals. Sharpe will eventually wrestle at 160.
Finishing second for the Blue Devils in addition to Rheaume and Sharpe were Ryan Bolduc (113) and Zach Hicks (138).
Concord, which returns 10 starters from an 18-1 squad, had three champions and 11 placers. Individually, Manchester Memorial heavyweight Steve Dwight was as dominant as expected with four straight pins.
Wrestling, 12/10/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
Salem's wrestling team got off to a good start, whipping a solid Manchester Central squad 41-18. The Blue Devils had six pins on the day, the fastest coming at 1:02 by 170-pounder Cody Sharpe.
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Wrestling, 12/07/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars