$ID/[None]0000LightBlueTechnically, they’re considered individual tournaments.
But don’t tell that to a number of area teams involved in this weekend’s state tournaments. In the five tourneys in which local teams are involved, some intense team competition will spice up the events like never before.
Headlining the day will be the New Hampshire Division 1 meet in which Timberlane will be vying for its 15th straight crown.
The Owls just finished their finest dual-meet season ever, at 25-0, but they had plenty of challenges during the season with Londonderry looming as their chief rival.
While Timberlane defeated the Lancers in their dual meet and at the Timberlane Tournament, Londonderry was missing Kyle Byrd for the dual meet and did not have its best day in the tourney. Many of the Lancers believe that their time has come.
One of several keys could be at 160 pounds where Timberlane’s Brian Lonergan and Londonderry’s Will Bean will duel for the fourth time. Lonergan has won twice, but every match has been extremely close.
To hold off the Lancers, Timberlane may need continued improvement from 106-pounder Cody Lewis and its upper middle weights. Whatever the case, Timberlane coach Barrry Chooljian knows that it won’t be easy.
“My team will have to wrestle very well this weekend to win the Division 1 tourney,” said Chooljian. “Everyone in the lineup is important and must contribute for us to win.
“It should be a great event and I expect the tourney will come right down to the end of the medal round to decide it. The guys have competed extremely well this year and that is what I am looking for this weekend.”
In Division 3, Windham will try to defend its title at home with Plymouth and possibly Campbell providing a stern challenge. Despite big graduation losses, the Jaguars have proven themselves as a superb dual-meet team (20-3), but they’re not quite as automatic in tournaments.
In the MIAA Division 2 meet, North Andover will be looking for its fifth straight title with growing rival Winchester and perhaps Catholic Memorial among others standing in the way.
The Knights barely squeezed past Winchester at the state dual-meet tournament, but Zane Melillo missed the tourney with a skin issue and he’s a big part of their lineup.
With Melillo back and continued added contributions from the likes of Nick Villalba at 138, Cooper McLeod at 152 and heavyweight Jake Caporale to complement more accomplished veterans like Fritz Hoehn (160), Brad Drover (170) and Peter Taylor (113), North Andover could be tough to beat if it wrestles well.
Central Catholic, with the return of 132-pounder Brandon Desfosses, could be a spoiler.
In Division 1, which will be held at Lawrence, North sectional champ St. John’s Prep will likely be in a dogfight with western Mass. power Springfield Central, with Franklin also in the picture. Franklin defeated the Prep in the dual-meet tournament finals by one point.
To be successful, the Eagles will need a number of contributors to help out their unbeaten pair, 145-pounder Jared Costa and 220-pounder Ian Butterbrodt of North Andover.
Locally, Methuen will be looking for titles from unbeaten Christian Monserrat at 138 and 113-pounder Billy Wehring while Lawrence has hopes for sectional champs Anfernee Green (132) and heavyweight Alex Lopez among others.
One wrestler Butterbrodt won’t need to worry about at 220 is Haverhill junior Samie Al-Ziab, who gave him two tough battles last year. Al-Ziab, who was battling mononucleosis, didn’t get the clearance to wrestle last week at sectionals.
Haverhill’s lone sectional champ was sophomore Luc Chretien.
In Division 3, North sectional champ North Reading/Lynnfield will be in the title hunt with the likes of Wayland and Wakefield. North Reading/Lynnfield will need to rely on its depth to prevail because it’s unlikely it will win any individual titles.
Brooks to nationals
Brooks, fresh off its impressive New England Prep title over the weekend, will have 10 wrestlers competing in the prep nationals at Lehigh University this weekend. Andrew Konovalchik (160) and Nate Gibeley (170), both of whom were undefeated against New England competition throughout the season, have high hopes of placing.
Owls of the future
Timberlane, despite its continued success, hasn’t produced an overly strong freshman class in recent years.
But that should change next year based on the success of this year’s Timberlane middle school team.
The middle school team won its second straight regional championship last weekend in preparation for the middle school Meet of Champions this weekend at Londonderry.
Timberlane, which has won four tournaments, had 132 points, outdistancing runner-up Milford Middle School which had 80. Timberlane had 14 finalists and 8 champions including: Nick Roeger (74 pounds), Barret Kappler (81), Liam Decoste (106), Casey Broadhurst (112), Brendan Frezza (136), Dylan Tremblay (154), Jacob Post (169), and Noah Beaulieu (250).
Although most of the standouts are eighth graders, Broadhurst is a seventh grader who is unbeaten and Roeger is also a seventh grader.
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