In some respects, the 2013-14 wrestling season may have been the best ever.
Team-wise, local teams dominated their domains.
Timberlane had its best dual-meet season ever at 25-0 and ruled New Hampshire. Rising Windham won New Hampshire Division 3, North Andover captured the Merrimack Valley Conference title, North Reading/Lynnfield repeated as Cape Ann League champs and Brooks was No. 1 in the Independent School League and Prep New Englands.
At the New England tournament in Providence, Londonderry surged to fourth and, with Timberlane fifth and North Andover ninth.
Individually, we not only had four champions, but they were all undefeated, something which I believe is unprecedented.
Moreover, Londonderry’s Jean-Luc Lemieux (50-0), Methuen’s Christian Monserrat (56-0), North Andover’s Brad Drover (53-0) and St. John’s Prep’s Ian Butterbrodt (62-0) were rarely challenged.
As far as matches in New England, those three were nearly joined by Timberlane’s Ryan Peters (48-3). Outside of two setbacks at the Beast of the East in Delaware, his only setback was to Monserrat.
It just doesn’t get any better than that, right? Well, yes and no.
I seriously doubt I’ll ever see four local undefeated New England champions anytime soon, but there may be even more success for local teams in the near future. If nothing else, there could be more competition and more depth.
In the MVC and Cape Ann League, in particular, there were not as many highly-competitive teams as usual. North Andover had good battles with Methuen and Lawrence, but that was about it and North Reading/Lynnfield only had Masconomet to worry about.
But Chelmsford should be improved next year and look for a revival from Central Catholic, which features three fine sophomores in Brandon Desfosses, Tom Pagliarulo and Donovan Nolan as well as junior Jack Kiely, who had an excellent 43-7 record this year.