Timberlane Owls Wrestling '07-'08

Timberlane will be team to beat in New England again next year

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Friday, March, 07 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

Lowell High assistant George Bossi, who holds the state record for wins as a head coach (608), looked over the mats last weekend at the New England Tournament and sighed in what might have been resignation.

"I don't see anyone beating Timberlane next year," said Bossi. "They'll be very tough."

Yes, the beat should go on for the Owls, who surprised head coach Barry Chooljian with their sixth New England title last Saturday. That ties them with Vermont power Mount Anthony for the most crowns ever in the tournament.

As this past weekend proved, during which numerous returning placers couldn't make the medal round, nothing is certain with the New England Tournament. But it does look promising that, with a strong performance next year, Timberlane can set the record.

After all, New England heavyweight champ Brian Nicoll returns as does 103-pound runner-up Cam Sullivan and 119-pound placer Alex Smith. No other team returns more than one placer.

What's more, freshman Matt Morris (112) likely would have placed somewhere if he hadn't turned ill on the second day of competition. He gave Lowell champion Brandon Gauthier his toughest matches of the season, two of which were heartbreaking overtime losses.

Add in guys like junior Eric Petrillo, who came within a point of making the 171-pound semifinals, 140-pound Division 1 state champ Dave Clemens, up-and-coming freshman Nick Lawrence, who was a Division 1 state champ at 130, and others, and it's easy to see that Timberlane will be tough to beat in 2008-09.

"People have always been talking about next year, but I've always just worried about this year," said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. "Next year will take care of itself." That's a philosophy that has served Chooljian well. After this year's 19-0-1 campaign, he now owns a stunning 365-40-5 record in 25 years. Over the last five years, Timberlane is a remarkable 88-1-1 for a .983 winning percentage.

Although Timberlane should remain on top of the hill, Greater Lawrence will remain strong, and watch out for Pinkerton, which will add three more superb freshmen to its strong classes of the last two years. The Astros could supplant Concord as Timberlane's toughest challenger.

Central Catholic, Lawrence and North Andover should also have strong programs and Methuen will | with a little rebuilding | be formidable, so the region will once again be highly regarded in New England.

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