By Dave Dyer
---- — PROVIDENCE — The third time was the charm for Methuen junior Christian Monserrat last night.
After finishing second in his weight class as a freshman and sophomore, Monserrat became a New England champion by rolling through the 126-pound class, defeating Central Catholic’s Pat Lacroix, 5-2 in the finals, to finish the season at a perfect 58-0.
In previous matches, Monserrat — who defeated Lacroix (54-4) for the third time this year — had an 8-3 decision and two pins, clearly proving that he is the king of 126 and one of the top wrestlers in New England in any class, with Lacroix not far behind.
Monserrat got a takedown in the first period against Lacroix, took the 2-0 lead into the third period after riding for the entire second period and went ahead 5-0 with an escape and takedown before Lacroix got a late reverse to account for the final score.
Although this was Monserrat’s third time in the New England finals, last night’s title was no charmed accomplishment. Rather, it was the result of relentless conditioning and training over the last two years.
“Ever since my freshman year, when I lost in the finals, this is what I’ve been working for,” said Monserrat, who has a stunning three-year record of 155-2. “My whole mindset changed after that. I knew I had to work harder.”
Losing in the finals last year to Timberlane star Zach Bridson was tough, but not as disappointing as his setback the year before, when he got pinned.
“He (Bridson) was a good friend and taught me a lot when we trained together at the Barn (in Danville),” said Monserrat, who started wrestling in the first grade. “He’s one of the best kids I ever wrestled.”
Like Bridson a year ago, Monserrat was happy to finally achieve his goal. But, he said, “I wasn’t happy with the way I wrestled this last match” and, besides, it’s just one goal, so there was no total joy here last night. There’s still more work to be done.
“I can’t rest now — I’ve got to keep focusing,” he said. “I want to do this again next year and there are junior nationals coming up (in three weeks at Virginia Beach).”
With another outstanding season next year, Monserrat will challenge assistant coach John Sughrue for most career wins (204) and vie to be a rare four-time New England finalist. He already beat one of Sughrue’s records this year as the 58 wins is a new school record.
With that on the horizon, and the prospect of a college career ahead, Monserrat plans to keep going at it.
“Maybe I’ll take a little time off after nationals, but not much,” he said. “Maybe a few days.”
Silver for Butterbrodt
Like Monserrat, St. John’s Prep sophomore Ian Butterbrodt of North Andover, came to the New England tournament undefeated (54-0) and he cruised to the finals in overwhelming fashion, with three easy decisions, outscoring his foes 32-1 and winning his semifinal match by technical fall.
But, in the finals, Butterbrodt fell victim to Glastonbury’s Andrew Cavanna and dropped an 11-5 decision to take second place. Cavanna got three takedowns to take a 6-3 lead, Butterbrodt battled back to make it 6-5 but a late flurry proved decisive.
Butterbrodt’s teammate, senior heavyweight Corey Jean-Jacques of Haverhill, won his last match 6-3 to place fifth. He finished the season at 58-5.