EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 9, 2014

New England wrestling: Knights' Drover rolls to championship

By Dave Dyer
ddyer@eagletribune.com

---- — PROVIDENCE — Londonderry recorded a reversal here yesterday in the New England championships.

Throughout the season, Timberlane reigned supreme in New Hampshire, defeating the Lancers in a dual meet and three tournaments. Yesterday, however, Londonderry came out on top.

Led by undefeated 132-pound New England champ Jean-Luc Lemieux, who defeated Timberlane’s Derek Bohle (45-11) in the finals, Londonderry surged to fourth place, one spot ahead of the Owls.

“It shows you how good they (Londonderry) are and it was a great accomplishment for us to beat them during the season,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. “They’ve got a lot of talent. ... But I’m happy with the way we wrestled.”

Lemieux defeated Bohle for the third time this year. Bohle, who had a dramatic win over Lawrence’s Anfernee Green earlier in the day, came out aggressive, but Lemieux shrugged off a takedown attempt and then rolled to a 10-0 victory.

“I felt pretty confident and I thought I was in control the whole way,” said Lemieux. “I’m pretty excited to win and to get the school record (for wins). It’s a nice way to finish the season.”

Lemieux’s 50-0 mark this winter breaks the school record of 49-0 previously held by Cody Byrd, who is now a Londonderry assistant coach.

Mount Anthony of Vermont repeated as expected with 121 points, but the Patriots got a battle from runner-up Connecticut power Danbury (108). Exeter West of Greenwich, R.I., was third (71), followed by the Lancers (67) and Timberlane (56 1/2). North Andover finished ninth with 441/2.

Overall, it was a tremendous day for the Merrimack Valley. Joining Lemieux as a New England champion were Methuen’s Christian Monserrat at 138, North Andover’s Brad Drover at 170 and St. John’s Prep’s Ian Butterbrodt of North Andover at 220.

There were also a flock of local placers, including two each by Londonderry and Timberlane.

Londonderry got a sixth from Will Bean at 160 and a fourth from Richard Bilodeau at 195, while the Owls countered with a sixth from Tyler Fitzpatrick at 120 and a third from sophomore Ryan Peters at 138.

Peters was pinned by Monserrat in the semifinals but came back to complete a terrific 47-3 season. Fitzpatrick finished at 45-8.

Determined Drover

Drover finished his season at 53-0 with a strong 6-4 victory in the finals over Danbury’s Juan Garcia. He gained the advantage with a quick takedown in the first period and then rode Garcia the rest of the period to take a 2-0 lead.

An escape early in the second period followed by another takedown gave Drover a 5-0 lead from which Garcia couldn’t recover. Drover won every match in the tournament via decision, showing his trademark technique and consistency.

“I wrestled him once before, in the Super 32 (tournament), and beat him by a point so I knew what I had to do,” said Drover, who lost in the New England finals the last two years.

“I knew I had to get the first takedown. When I held him down the rest of the period, I thought I could win it in the third period.

“This has been my dream since I started wrestling. Losing the last two years made me more determined.”

Butterbrodt survives

Butterbrodt, who improved to a stunning 64-0, breezed into the finals with a pair of pins and an 8-0 major decision. But he had a war with Carl Neff of Exeter West in the finals.

The St. John’s Prep junior took an early 4-0 lead but a reversal and near fall that was very nearly a pin gave Neff a 5-4 lead heading into the second period. Butterbrodt rode him throughout the second period and then got a third-period takedown and held on for a 6-5 decision.

“I wanted to get out to a good lead and I might have taken too much of a risk with my tilts (in the first period),” said Butterbrodt, who flashed a rare smile after the victory. “Then I just fought to stay off my back.

“I knew that kid would be tough. I’m happy to win it.”

North Andover and Pinkerton both had two placers. Fritz Hoehn took fourth in the rugged 160-pound class, finishing a superb season at 49-6, to join Drover on the podium. The Astros got a sixth from Dylan Barreiro at 170 while Kevin Ell was fourth at 220.

Barreiro fell to Drover in the semifinals, 9-5, while Ell was pinned by Butterbrodt in the semis.

Other local wrestlers placing were North Reading/Lynnfield’s Eric Kerr, who was sixth at 126, and Lawrence’s Anfernee Green, who came in fifth at 132. Green wrestled tough throughout the tournament and lost a heartbreaker at the buzzer in the quarterfinals.

Mount Anthony closes the gap

Mount Anthony, which won for the eighth time in the 50th annual tourney, putting it two behind Timberlane, was paced by repeat champions Troy Gassaway at 120 and heavyweight Jesse Webb. Both are still undefeated. Gassaway defeated Billerica’s Nick Derosa 3-1 in the finals.

“We’re happy we won and it was rewarding because Danbury really came to wrestle,” said Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy. “We needed every point we could get.”

Danbury was paced by 126-pound champ Kevin Jack (51-1), who pinned Dracut’s Jon Ryan in the semifinals, rolled in the finals and was named the tourney Outstanding Wrestler. He’s headed to North Carolina State on scholarship.

Winning back-to-back New England titles in addition to Monserrat were Jack, Gassaway and Webb from Mount Anthony and Christian LaBrie from Exeter West.

50th New England Championships

Top 10 team scores: Mount Anthony 121, Danbury 108, Exeter West 71, Londonderry 67, Timberlane 561/2, Lincoln-Sudbury 55, Marshwood 55, Springfield Central 51, North Andover 441/2, Fairfield Warde 44

Winners and area placers:

106: 1. Michael Aquino (Catholic Memorial); 113: 1. Mac Hamilton (Lincoln-Sudbury); 120: 1. Troy Gassaway (Mt. Anthony), 6. Tyler Fitzpatrick (Timb); 126: 1. Kevin Jack (Danbury), 6. Eric Kerr (NR/Lynnfield); 132: 1. Jean-Luc Lemieux (Lond), 2. Derek Bohle (Timb), 5. Anfernee Green (Law); 138: 1. Christian Monserrat (Methuen), 3. Ryan Peters (Tim); 145: Eric Reyes (Dedham);

152: 1. Andrew LaBrie (Exeter West); 160: 1. Jonathan Viruet (Springfield Central), 4. Fritz Hoehn (NA), 6. Will Bean (Lond); 170: 1. Brad Drover (NA), 6. Dylan Barreiro (Pink); 182: 1. Khamri Thomas (ESW — Conn.); 195: 1. Joe Chimelski (Nashua North), 4. Richard Bilodeau (Lon); 220: 1. Ian Butterbrodt (SJP), 6. Kevin Ell (Pink); HVY: 1. Jesse Webb (Mt. Anthony)