Central Catholic Raiders Wrestling '11-'12

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 TBA @ Central Catholic
Team Final
North Andover 1
Central Catholic 4

Inspirational win for Knights' Ricketts

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Sunday, February, 12 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

READING — North Andover was the team of the day but, with apologies to Central Catholic star Ryan O’Boyle, senior Jason Ricketts was the man of the hour at the Division 2 state meet last night at Reading High School.

One of three champions on the day for the Knights, and one of seven qualifiers for the All-State meet at Salem Feb. 25, Ricketts became a fan favorite in the 152-pound finals, where he was matched up with Burlington’s Luke Nigro, who had edged him by a point in the North sectional.

Ahead 4-0 in the second period, Ricketts went tumbling hard out of bounds and injured both knees, the right one of which had bothered him much of last year and the first half of this season.

With Ricketts in obvious pain, coaches, officials and trainers huddled around him, seeing that his left kneecap had popped out.

“I was hurting pretty bad and didn’t know if I could go on,” said Ricketts, who was later named the tourney Outstanding Wrestler.

Fortunately, Ricketts' injury took place right next to Mike Connelly, the father of 160-pound standout Dan Connelly and a physician in Boston. The elder Connelly popped Ricketts’ kneecap back into place and, after several more minutes, and following a huge ovation, he went back into the circle to continue the match.

“I really didn’t think he was going back in,” said Dr. Connelly. “I thought he was done and I was just helping him with the pain. ... It was a heroic effort.”

Ricketts was obviously limited but, with the crowd behind him, he held on for a 5-4 victory. In a gesture of good sportsmanship, Nigro helped carry Ricketts off the mat to the arms of his elated coaches and the watchful eye of the meet’s trainer, who quickly got two huge bags of ice to put on his knees.

This was Ricketts’ second straight Division 2 state crown, he won at 140 last year, and he improved his shortened season record to 17-2.

“This is much more rewarding because I’m a senior and this was so tough,” he said. “The support of the crowd was huge. I’ve never had anything like that before.”

Also rewarding was that teammate Dan Connelly followed with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Masconomet’s Ryan Therrien in the 160-pound finals, getting a second-period escape and making it stand to improve to 35-1 on the season. It was the third time this year he beat Therrien, who was an All-State champ a year ago.

Junior 182-pounder Ryan Neals made it a trifecta for North Andover, pulling away in the third period for an 8-4 decision over Masco’s Ayden Strachan to improve to 34-2.

Finishing second for the Knights were Danielle Coughlin, who fell in the 106-pound finals to Dracut’s Jon Ryan, and 138-pound freshman Fritz Hoehn, who fell to Natick star James Smith 13-0. It was only the second loss of the season for Hoehn (35-2).

Also for North Andover, Zane Melillo battled back to third at 132, edging Belmont star Sami Baghdadi 4-2 in the consolation finals, and Brad Drover finished fourth at 145, losing a 5-4 heartbreaker in his final match. The 132-pound class was considered by many to be the toughest in the tournament.

All in all, it was a terrific day for North Andover. With seven All-State qualifiers, it overshadowed North sectional champ Winchester, which had only five qualifiers with no finalists.

O'Boyle rules again

Central Catholic senior Ryan O’Boyle is having one of the great seasons in recent memory. He had three pins, including in 58 seconds in the 126-pound finals, and a technical fall to improve to 41-0 on the year. The defending New England champion now has 37 pins, two technical falls and two major decisions.

“I’m feeling strong and ready to go on,” said O’Boyle, who won the award for most pins in least amount of time.

Junior teammate Pat Lacroix lost a tough 1-0 decision in the finals to King Philip star Logan David. A two-time state champ, David improved to 28-0 while Lacroix dropped to 39-2, both losses coming to David.

Also for the Raiders, Ben Tavitian finished third at 220, winning his final match, 8-7.

For Greater Lawrence, Adan Marquez was third at 120 and Lenny Jorge was fourth at 126.

Game Statistics:

Winners and local All-State qualifiers (top 6):

106: 1. Jon Ryan (Dracut), 2. Danielle Coughlin (NA); 113: 1. Steve Giampapa (Burl)ington; 120: 1. Logan David (King Phillip), 2. Pat Lacroix (CC), 3. Adan Marquez (GLaw); 126: 1. Ryan O'Boyle (CC), 4. Lenny Jorge (GLaw); 132: 1. Mike Stewart (Dracut), 3. Zane Melillo (NA); 138: 1. James Smith (Natick), 2. Fritz Hoehn (NA); 145: 1. Jim Ryan (Dracut), 4. Brad Drover (NA); 152: 1. Jason Ricketts (NA); 160: 1. Dan Connelly (NA) ; 170: 1. Chris London (Tewksbury); 182: 1. Ryan Neals (NA); 195: 1. Mark Saulnier (Norwood); 220: 1. Alex Colon (Woburn), 3. Ben Tavitian (CC); HVY: 1. Brendan Battles-Santo (Nauset)

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