Haverhill Hillies Wrestling '17-'18

Sat, Feb 10, 2018 09:30 AM @ Methuen
Team Final
at Methuen 2
Andover 0
Central Catholic 0
Haverhill 0
Lawrence 0
North Andover 0

They're back for Methuen

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METHUEN — When finally given the chance, junior Matt Cabezas and senior Dan O'Connell delivered big time Saturday afternoon at the Division 1 North sectional.

Thwarted by injuries for two straight years, and knocked out Wednesday from a blow in his match against Central, O'Connell delivered a convincing 9-3 decision over Westford's Jake Morash for the 182-pound title.

 Cabezas, who missed last year's sectional with a knee injury, meanwhile, was brilliant in disposing of St. John's Prep's talented Zach Alexander, 8-1, in the 138-pound finals.

Together, along with the 195-pound title won by unbeaten Travis Manick (31-0), a second place from Jarmany Colon at 120 and heavyweight Bryce Smith as well as a a number of other places, Methuen came in second to Chelmsford, which won for the fourth year in a row.

It's tough to say who was more impressive between Cabezas and O'Connell, the former of whom was one vote away from being named Outstanding Wrestler of the tourney.

A multi-time national youth champion growing up, Cabezas was knocked out of the state tournament by an elbow injury as a freshman and blew out his knee before last year's sectional. This year, a combination of a shoulder injury, a brief suspension and a bad bout of the flu, had him at just 9-0 before the sectional.

But Saturday, Cabezas was dominant, recording a pin in his first match, a 12-1major decision over spunky Jake Nicolosi in the semifinals before handling Alexander in the finals, showing great quickness throughout the match. Alexander had entered the match with a gaudy 44-2 record.

"I was motivated," said Cabezas. "This is the postseason and I want to show people that I'm still here. I'm glad I was able to wrestle and I felt good. Last week I felt weak (from the flu) but I'm getting back to where I should be.

"After two off years, I'm going all out. I want to be state champ, All-State champ and be a New England finaklist."

O'Connell has pretty much the same goal and after missing sectionals the last two years was one determined wrestler, winning four matches to improve to 34-2. His only previous loss on the mat came when he let a 6-1 lead slip away against Morash and he got pinned.

"I wanted this real, real bad," said O'Connell. "It was such a fluke when he beat me before — he must have been wearing his lucky socks. I was ready today — this was two years of frustration coming out."

Manick had a much easier time of it. He had a bye, a pin in 17 seconds and then was awarded the title when Chelmsford's Jack Flaherty forfeited for medical reasons.

Colon and Smith both were pinned in the finals but Smith (now 29-2) gave Billerica's Ryan Higgins abattle until falling deep into the third period.

Among Methuen's other state qualifiers (top four), Zabian Cruz was third at 145 and Femi Marquis was third at 160.

"It was a good tournament for us," said Methuen coach Bill James. "Matt (Cabezas0 beat a tough wrestler and I'm happy for him. I'm proud of the whole team.

Solid Hillies

Haverhill, certainly one of the most improved teams in the Merrimack Valley this year, had a solid tournament, led by 145-pound senior Nick Tejada. He gave Chelmsford standout Evan Goodall a battle in the finals before falling 5-1.

It was a good day for the Fullers as both Kevin (113) and Ron (120) took thirds, with Kevin getting a pin in the consolation finals and Ron a major decision. Also in third were Nicolosi at 138 and Ryan McCartney at 220.

Lawrence switch

Usual Lawrence heavyweight Brandon Santell and 220-pounder Sammy Estevez switch weight classes for the sectional and it worked out for both of them. Santell was the runner-up at 220 and Estevez was a surprise third at heavyweight, beating Haverhill's Jay Levy in the consolation finals

Also for the Lancers, Eric Sanchez was third at 170, defeating surprising Methuen fill-in C,J, Brown in the consolation finals.

Andover was led by sophomore Kelvin Davila, who had an unsual pin in the 152-pound consolationfinals to take third.



Game Statistics:

Division 1 North Championship

Team scores: Chelmsford 209, Methuen 197, Shawsheen 164.5, Haverhill 160.5, Westford 144.5, St. John's Prep 123.5, Villerica 108, Lawrence 100, Lowell 85, Andover 70, A-B 44, Peabody 14

Winners and state qualifiers — top 4, 5 is alternate):

106: 1. Evan Kinney (Ch), 4. Joe Gangi (Meth); 113: 1. Pat Hughes (Ch), 3. Kevin Fuller (Hav); 120: 1. Anthony Hubbard (Ch), 2. Jarmany Colon (Meth), 3. Ron Fuller (Hav); 126: 1. James Best (Bill), 2. Quinn Alexander (SJP), 5. Jorge Rosario (Law); 132: 1. Ryan Garlitz (SJP), 5. Steven Wise (Hav); 138: 1. Matt Cabezas (Meth), 2. Zach Alexander (SJP), 3. Jake Nicolosi (Hav), 5. Kevin Kiely (And); 145: 1. Evan Goodall (Ch), 2, Nick Tejada (Hav), 3. Zabian Cruz (Meth); 152: 1. Chase Anestis (A-B), 3. Kelvin Davila (And), 4. Sam Prescott (Hav); 160: 1. Andrew Piedrahita (West), 3. Femi Marquis (Meth), 5. Brian Perez (Law); 170: 1. Joe Vecchione (Ch), 3. Eric Sanchez (Law), 4. C.J. Brown (Meth); 182: 1. Dan O'Connell (Meth), 4. Joe Santoro (Hav), 5. Stevenson Theosmy; 195: 1. Travis Manick (Meth), 5. Jeffrey Hernandez (Law); 220: 1. Omar Edldaly (Shaw), 2. Brian Santell (Law), 3. Ryan McCartney (Hav), 4. Ethan Coyle (And); HVY: 1. Ryan Higgins (Bill), 2. Bryce Smith (Meth), 3. Sammy Estevez (Law), 4. Jay Levy (Hav), 5. Payton Heidtke (And)

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