EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 2, 2014

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Both ranked No. 4

Roger Williams University’s wrestling team enjoyed a fine first semester and local wrestlers were a big reason for that. Two locals, former Pinkerton standout Collin Crowell and Salem’s David Welch (at 184 pounds), are both ranked No. 4 in the country in Division 3.

Crowell, a senior captain wrestling at 165, won his 100th match in his career in a win over the Merchant Marine Academy, joining a Roger Williams group that includes former Salem star Joe Fitzsimons and former Timberlane standout Pete Doucet.

Roger Williams, which is 5-0 in dual meets and is ranked 16th nationally as a team, has also gotten a strong first semester from Pat Lacroix, the freshman from Central Catholic and Salem, N.H.

DiGregorio with an ‘i’

Unfortunately, a couple of references to Timberlane senior 195-pounder Mike DiGregorio in last week’s big win over North Andover, had his name spelled as DeGregorio. The way he wrestled that night, it’s doubtful the same mistake will be made again.

Unique sports promotions

I’ve always been intrigued by sports promotions and there were some unique ones in 2013.

Kansas State lured fans to its women’s basketball opener by giving away 300 pounds of bacon. The Florence Freedom, a Kentucky minor league baseball team, saw the Manti Te’o fictional girlfriend story as too good to pass up. It was offering a bobblehead of the “girlfriend.” The boxes, however, would be empty.

Finally, the minor league Lehigh Valley IronPigs enticed fans with a free funeral in a promotion the club said represented not outside-the-box thinking, but “inside the box.”

In retrospect ...

The more I think about it, Haverhill’s 28-21 victory over Lowell on Thanksgiving was one of the top local games in 2013 and a tremendous credit to the Hillies. Haverhill was a definite underdog against a Lowell team that gave Super Bowl champ Central Catholic all it could handle and the Hillies’ 21-0 second half rally is something to marvel at.

Haverhill’s defense was superb and Samie Al-Ziab was spectacular in his first game as an offensive back, rushing for 117 yards.

1,000 wins and counting

Scot Davis of Bloomington, Minn., recently became the first high school wrestling coach to reach 1,000 victories when his Eden Prairie team secured a 58-17 victory. That gave the 62-year-old Davis a record of 1,000-163-4 in 36 years.

The top record in Massachusetts, and New England, is 681-142-3, compiled by former North Andover coach Dave Castricone.

Now that’s perfection

The Woodlands High volleyball team of Magnolia, Texas, finished its season 45-0 and was ranked No. 1 nationally. The Woodlands JV and freshmen teams were also unbeaten, giving the Highlanders a combined record of 118-0.

Collisions at plate

Preventing needless injuries is always a good idea, but banning collisions at home plate in major league baseball is going too far. Anticipating a close play at home as a runner charges down the third base line is one of the most exciting plays in baseball and shouldn’t be taken out of the game. Moreover, it doesn’t happen often and injuries from collisions at home are rare.

Catchers are more likely to be hurt from a pitch or foul ball that misses the equipment or by diving for a foul ball as Jason Varitek did a couple of years ago.