By Dave Dyer
---- — METHUEN — Nothing is automatic, and there are clearly no guaranteed winners in high school wrestling.
But Methuen junior Christian Monserrat comes close.
Monserrat remained undefeated yesterday with yet another dominating performance at the Methuen Invitational, breezing to the 126-pound crown with a 48-second pin in the finals.
For the season, Monserrat is now 38-0 with 32 pins and, for his career he’s a stunning 130-2. His only two losses have come in the finals of the New England Tournament.
“It’s hard to be any more dominating than he’s been,” said Methuen coach Bill James. “He does it all.”
But despite his record, and although he has always radiated extreme confidence, Monserrat knows that he can be beaten at any time. So he takes an unusual approach to every match.
“I know that everyone wants to beat me and take my spot so my mindset is that I’m the underdog,” said Monserrat. “I hear it every day that someone wants to beat me ... it’s putting a lot of pressure on me, but it makes me work harder.”
Monserrat was one of five local champions on a day in which the local teams were not at their best. Vermont power Mount Anthony was a runaway winner with 218 points, followed by Springfield Central (157) and North Andover (137) in the 18-team field. Lawrence (112 1/2) came in fifth and Methuen (102) was sixth.
Joining Monserrat with titles were 106-pound freshman teammate Billy Wehring, Salem’s John Rheaume at 120, North Andover’s Brad Drover at 160 and North Andover’s Ryan Neals at 182.
Wehring, who improved to 35-3, avenged a loss to North Andover’s Danielle Coughlin from last week with a 2-0 win in the semifinals; and then had an impressive 3-2 win over once-beaten Brad Wong of Pembroke in the finals.
“It was nice to get the rematch (with Coughlin) right away,” said Wehring. “Losing (last week) motivated me to work harder for today.”
At 120, Rheaume wrestled a nearly flawless first two periods in the finals, jumping to a 5-0 lead, and then held on for a 9-4 decision over Mount Anthony’s Dylan LaFountain. Drover was also ahead 5-0 after two periods in the 160-pound finals against Springfield Central’s talented Jon Viruet but he had to hold on for a 5-4 victory.
Neals struggled to defeat Tewksbury’s Tim Martel, 2-1, in the semifinals but he came out aggressive in the finals and recorded a first-period pin for the title.
In the duel of the night, Methuen’s Paul Sughrue lost his first match of the year in the 132-pound finals against Mount Anthony’s undefeated Miguel Calixto, who is a three-time Connecticut champion who transferred. Calixto, who was named the tourney Outstanding Wrestler, got a takedown with five seconds left in the first period for a 2-0 lead and then, with Sughrue needing to take chances, pulled away for a 9-3 decision.
Another area star, North Andover sophomore Fritz Hoehn, suffered only his second loss of the season in the 152-pound finals. With his shoulder appearing to be ailing, he was pinned by Andrew Labrie of Exeter West (R.I.) in the first period.
Also for North Andover, which was missing several starters (as was Mount Anthony and Methuen), Peter Taylor was runner-up at 113, getting pinned by Mount Anthony’s Troy Gassaway.
The tournament title was the sixth of the year for Mount Anthony, which is also unbeaten in dual meets. The Patriots had four champions and four runners-up.
“We’re wrestling well now, but I don’t know what will happen from here,” said Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy. “I thought we had the team to win New England last year and we didn’t do it (finishing runner-up to Timberlane). But this is a good tournament and we’re happy to win it.”
Team scores: Mt. Anthony 218 1/2, Springfield Central 157, North Andover 137 1/2, Johnston, R.I. 114 1/2, Lawrence 112 1/2, Methuen 102, Bishop Guertin 94 1/2, Pembroke 94, Exeter West Greenwich 70, Tewksbury 52, Salem 47, Keefe Tech 46, Arlington 42 1/2, Algonquin 39, Xaverian 38, Cranston East 30, Everett 21, Cambridge 13
Winners and local placers:
106: 1. Billy Wehring (Meth), 3. Danielle Coughlin (NA); 113: 1. Troy Gassaway (MA), 2. Peter Taylor (NA), 3. Rizky Riyanto (Law); 120: 1. John Rheaume (Sal), 4. Luis Severino (Law) ; 126: 1. Christian Monserrat (Meth), 2. Anfernee Green (Law); 132: 1. Miguel Calixto (MA), 2. Paul Sughrue (Meth); 138: 1. Bailey Willard (MA); 145: 1. Ellison Robinson (Spr. Central); 152: 1. Andrew Labrie (EW), 2. Fritz Hoehn (NA); 160: 1. Brad Drover (NA), 4. Nathaniel Cruz (Law); 170: 1. Justin Caparco (Johns); 182: 1. Ryan Neals (NA); 195: 1. Carl Neff (EW), 3. Yariel Velez (Law); 220: 1. Kamron Anderson (Spr. Central); HVY: 1. Jesse Webb (MA)