Timberlane Owls Wrestling '07-'08

An athletic 6-5, 275-pounder, Owls' Nicoll not your typical heavyweight

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Monday, January, 21 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

Anyone who has watched a lot of high school wrestling knows what to expect from most heavyweight matchups.

Two very large young men well over 235 pounds, some still sporting a fair amount of baby fat, push and shove, trying to outmuscle each other and rarely shooting for a takedown. Eventually there may be a pin, but boring 2-1 decisions are just as common.

And then there is Timberlane junior Brian Nicoll, who has become as athletic, and successful, as they come in the 285-pound class.

After finishing 29-14 and winning the Division 1 state title last winter, this season Nicoll has posted a 29-3 record. He has captured the title at the prestigious Lowell Holiday Tournament and finished second in the rugged Eastern States Classic, losing 3-2 in the finals. He also has become far more advanced than the usual plodding strongman looking for a throw and a pin.

Explaining his success this year, Nicoll said: "I did change my style from last year. I used to hang on the head and push around like a lot of kids. But this year I've worked on hand fighting and doing a lot more shooting. Plus, I'm in a lot better shape.

"As soon as the football season was over, I went to the (Danville) barn and started working out. I was more prepared for the season." Nicoll has at least two other things working in his favor as one of the finest heavyweights in New England. First, he is a standout football player (honorable mention All-Division 2 offensive tackle) who works on his footwork during the fall. Secondly, he has some excellent competition on his own team in sophomore Matt Wright and freshman Ben Tammany.

A rare two-way lineman in Mike Pariseau's two-platoon system, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Nicoll draws raves from the head coach.

"I'm not sure at what level yet, but Brian is definitely a scholarship prospect," said Pariseau. "He's as solid a football player as I've had, and I think it helps him (in wrestling)."

As for his heavyweight teammates, the 280-pound Wright provides Nicoll with a large opponent and the 230-pound Tammany is more of a finesse, athletic foe. Both have captured varsity tournaments this winter.

"I have three good heavyweights, which helps them all," said Chooljian. "Matt doesn't get much of a chance, but I think he'd be well over .500."

Although Nicoll has a slight preference for football, he could have a bright future in college wrestling. "He absolutely could be a big recruit," said Owls coach Barry Chooljian. "He'll be getting some (wrestling) attention whether he likes it or not."

For now, Nicoll is intent on helping the Owls extend their Division 1 state title string to nine and their Meet of Champions streak to four.

"I definitely want to help the team win the New England title because we didn't do very well last year," said Nicoll, a junior captain. "The way it's going now, I think we have a chance."

For the Owls to do well at New Englands, Nicoll will need to place and probably place high. Timberlane has had some fine heavyweights, including Lou Espino (who has helped coach Nicoll), but none have placed at New Englands since former Eagle-Tribune MVP Dimmy Gavriel placed sixth back in 1993.

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