METHUEN — It’s a dream come true and it came a little earlier than Methuen senior Christian Monserrat expected.
Monserrat recently committed and signed a letter-of-intent to wrestle at Division 1 West Virginia, culminating a goal he’s aspired to even before his high school career began.
“Ever since I started wrestling, I wanted to wrestle Division 1, compete in the NCAAs and get a gold medal,” said Monserrat, who was 58-0 last year and a New England champion at 126 pounds. “This is my chance.”
Originally, Monserrat was planning on waiting until after the season to finalize his college choice. He had interest from other Division 1 schools, like North Carolina State and Edinboro but, after a visit to West Virginia last month, and a partial scholarship offer (which can increase after his freshman year), he was sold.
“When I went there, everyone was friendly, they treated me really well and I like the coach (Craig Turnbull),” said Monserrat yesterday at the first day of wrestling practice. “I had a lot of interest, but no one was offering me as much as West Virginia.
“I had wanted to wait, but they gave me a good offer. I didn’t want to wait and then have it not be there.”
Methuen coach Bill James believes that Monserrat, who is a stunning 155-2 overall and a three-time New England finalist, made a wise choice.
“I think it’s a good fit for him,” said James. “It’s a great opportunity to wrestle in a good Division 1 program.”
West Virginia struggled to a 2-13 record last year, but it’s expected to be on the rise. It’s 3-2 thus far in the young season and Monserrat is part of a strong recruiting class for the 2014-15 season. Turnbull is certainly excited by landing Monserrat.
“Christian comes to us with unbelievable potential,” said Turnbull. “He has had an amazing career at Methuen and we are looking for him and have the same success at Morgantown. He has established himself as a winner and is a real hard-nosed kid with a great motor.”
Next year’s incoming freshmen will join another strong recruiting class. This year’s freshmen include 125-pound starter Cory Starbrook, who could compete with Monserrat for the 133-pound top spot, and Billerica’s New England champ Leo Trindade, who is currently 5-6 as the Mountaineers’ starter at 197 pounds.
Now that his decision is behind him, Monserrat is looking to duplicate last year’s success while making a run at John Sughrue’s school record of 204 career wins.
“I just want to repeat last year and have another perfect season,” said Monserrat, who will wrestle at 133 this year. “I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
That has been good enough to get a Division 1 scholarship, thought to be only the second Methuen wrestler to do that. Sean Milovanovic earned a scholarship to Division 1 Lock Haven, but he did not complete his career there.