---- — Pat Lacroix’s junior season at Central Catholic is one that many wrestlers would die for.
He won the Division 2 North crown at 120 pounds, finished second at the Division 2 state meet, came in fourth at New England and compiled a sterling 51-5 record, which set a school record for wins in one season.
It was the best campaign of any of the Lacroix brothers, besting anything his older brothers, Tom and Chris, had accomplished at Central. Tom came closest, wrestling to 47-5 and finishing fifth in New England his senior year.
Clearly, it was a season to be proud of for the Salem resident, right? Not exactly.
“It was a great season, but I was expecting to win everything,” said Lacroix, who entered the season with an impressive career record of 126-27. “I’m proud of what I did, but I was disappointed, too.”
Up a weight class to 126, Lacroix is hoping to fulfill his goals this year.
“I’m definitely hoping to win it all this year — state, all-state and New England,” he said. “I’m also shooting for the school record in wins. I need 52 this year to pass Ryan O’Boyle And Joey Fendone (both at 177).
“I feel stronger at this weight class and I feel good about the way I’m wrestling.”
Lacroix, who finished second at the highly regarded Lowell Holiday Tournament last week, certainly has plenty of experience. He’s been wrestling since he was 6-years-old and he’s been training with top-notch competition for years, including Central teammate and two-time New England champ O’Boyle the last two years.
“That definitely helped me a lot,” said Lacroix, who often works out now with highly touted freshman Brandon Desfosses. “He showed me how to scrap and scramble and get out of bad positions.
“Having him as a drill partner was great for me. It was like an all-out battle every practice. We really went after each other.”
That experience should pay off this year, although 126 pounds is not an easy weight class.
Just from this area is Methuen standout Christian Monserrat, who is undefeated, a two-time New England finalist and is a stunning 92-2 in that time, and Pinkerton sophomore Jean-Luc Lemieux, who was one of the premier 106-pounders in New England last year.
But Lacroix, like all the good ones, remains confident and, despite his already long career on the mat, is looking forward to wrestling in college.
He has already been accepted by Roger Williams College and WPI, the latter of which is where Tom attends.
Kings of the Ring
Today’s first edition of “Kings of the Ring” shows just how strong the Merrrimack Valley region is, with certain weight classes standing out.
The 126-pound weight class includes two potential New England finalists in Lacroix and Methuen’s Christian Monserrat, who is already a two-time New England runner-up, as well as potential placers in Timberlane freshman whiz Ryan Peters and Pinkerton sophomore Jean-Luc Lemieux, who couldn’t even make our top 3.
Another rugged weight class is 106, led by Lowell Holiday Tournament champ Tyler Fitzpatrick of Timberlane and includes Lawrence’s Hector Reynoso and Methuen freshman Bill Wehring, who was second at the Frmingham Tournament. North Andover’s Danielle Coughlin is also in the mix.
Finally, to cite just one more example, check out 132. Methuen’s Paul Sughrue heads the list, but Salem’s Tyler Siverhus and North Andover’s Zane Melillio, who was a champion at the Marshfield Tournament, are both exceptional.
All, however, may be looking up at Mt. Anthony transfer Miguel Calixto, a three-time Connecticut state champion who looked invincible while winning the Lowell Holiday Tournament.
Any suggested additions or corrections to any weight class should be emailed to me at email@example.com. Of course, the best way to settle debates is on the mat but, unfortunately, the top wrestlers rarely see each other.
The Marshfield and Framingham tournaments are first-class, no doubt, but it’d be great if North Andover and Methuen joined the other strong teams and individuals at the Lowell Holiday Tournament.