With turnout for the local high school wrestling teams being a little low for this particular winter, the dual meet season was rather lackluster, with duals often being decided on forfeits, not necessarily on the mat.
The second season arrived last weekend with the sectional tournaments, which proved to be much more successful for all four teams.
In the Div. 2 Metro tournament, Burlington, Winchester and Woburn each had four finalists and three champions. Reading competed in Div. 2 North, and while the Rockets did not have any champions, they did have one finalist and three consolation champions, which means they finished in third place.
Woburn had a fantastic meet, which it hosted, as it entered five wrestlers and four of them reached the finals, which means they qualified for this weekend’s Div. 2 States at Beverly High.
Mike Mercer also made the medal stand at 220, and will be an alternate this week with his fifth-place finish. Sophia Matthews will instead compete in the all-new Girls State Tournament, which will take place a week from Saturday on Feb. 23.
“All things considered, we had a great tournament,” said Woburn coach Mike Parziale. “We entered five wrestlers and four are guaranteed to compete at the Division 2 state Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Beverly High School. That’s 80 percent. And, on top of that we came in with seven as a team with three champions. That means that 60 percent of Woburn’s competitors were champions compared to zero from Milton, and they won the tournament.”
John Lafferty got the Tanners’ first title at 126, getting the win by fall over Winchester’s Isaac Graylin with one second left in the first period. Graylin reached the final by virtue of a 4-3 victory over Burlington’s Ryan McGillivray in the semifinals. McGillivray went on to win the consolation championship, giving the locals the top three places at 126.
The Sachems were able to one-up the Tanners at 160 when Patrick Doherty won the title with a pin of Stephen Kolodko in the third round of the final. Doherty had a tech fall in his first match and then pinned his next three opponents, including the final.
Doherty was actually Winchester’s third champion on the day. Dion Kourafalos pinned all for of his opponents in the 132 weight class, and he earned the Most Falls in Least Time award in the process.
Jack Kinsey was the top seed at 152 and he lived up to his billing for the Sachems, making it through to the finals where he defeated Belmont’s Max Dionne, 10-7.
Woburn’s David Langlois was the top seed at 170, and he followed through and won the title. Colin Breslin was the second seed at 182 and he was able to beat the top seed in the final to become champion.
“I was so proud of the kids that wrestled,” said Parziale. “They've worked hard all season and deserve every bit of praise for their efforts this weekend. With that being said, I feel like we have a great opportunity at the state tournament to place kids very high. We will focus this week on sharpening technique to get the kids ready to compete at states.”
The Sachems also got a fourth-place finish from Aaron Apostadero at 120, giving them a fifth qualifier for this week’s action. Steven Rozmanith and Jose Never each took sixth-place finishes, which leaves them as alternates at Beverly High.
BURLINGTON MOVES TO METROS
Burlington was second in last year’s North sectional, and the move this year to the Metro sectional produced the same result, with the Red Devils edging Arlington by half a point. Winchester finished fourth and Woburn seventh.
Leading the way for Burlington was sophomore captain, Zack Soda, and twin brother Cam Soda, both of whom won titles. Cam Soda was named Outstanding Wrestler of the meet for his work at 113.
Zack Soda, wrestling at 106, pinned all three opponents in 3:39 total on the day. Zack had the lowest average match time but Kourafalos got one more match in his weight class, keeping Soda from winning the Most Falls in the Least Time award.
Zack pinned Catholic Memorial wrestler Luke Orup in 1:42 to win his sectional title.
Twin brother Cam was a little slower wrestling at 113. It took him almost five minutes to pin all three opponents, but his wrestling was so impressive he won the Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Cam pinned Arlington’s Noe Romero in 3:31 to win his sectional title. Joe Perna, wrestling 120, was also impressive. Perna started the day with a quick pin and a quick 15-0 tech fall before pinning Chan Kim of Arlington at 3:51 to win his sectional title.
Freshman Timmy Vadnais (145) also had a great day. Vadnais started the day with three straight pins to reach the finals before losing, 13-2, to Malden Catholic's Tom St. Cyr.
Ryan McGillivray (126) won three out of four matches, just running out of time as he was going for the winning takedown in the semis. McGillivray pinned Milton wrestler Cameron Pentland in 3:54 to finish in third place and earn his third pin on the day.
“Burlington ended up beating Arlington by half a point for second place,” said Burlington coach Paul Shvartsman. “Every win and every pin made a huge difference to capture a team trophy.”
The Soda brothers, Joe Perna, Ryan McGillivray, Timmy Vadnais, Sean McGillivray and Luke Lord will all compete in the state tournament, which begins Friday evening in Beverly.
READING ADVANCES FOUR
Reading was 11th in the Div. 2 North tourney, with one second and three thirds. These four will all advance to the States on Saturday.
Josh Galvin was the finalist at 160. He pinned his first three opponents by fall to reach the finals before he himself was pinned by top seed Calvin Desmarnais of Dracut.
The first of the three Rocket consolation champions was Jackson Greeno at 138. Greeno lost to eventual champion Tyler Glynn of Central Catholic in the semifinals before he rebounded to beat Connor McCarthy of Danvers, 13-8, to take third.
Tyler Keenan followed a similar path at 152, making it to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Matt Shaw of Central Catholic. Keenan went on to win two more matches in the consolation bracket, including Gabriel Nieves of Greater Lowell for third place.
Heavyweight Lucas Laurenza is headed to the states after his run in the sectionals. Laurenza lost to Dracut’s Adil Njikam in the first round. Laurenza dropped down to the consolation bracket where he won his next three matches, including a pin of Njikam in the consolation final.