EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 22, 2013

Monserrat, Trindade highlight Braggin Rights all-star meet Sunday

Dave Dyer

---- — Methuen junior Christian Monserrat will put his growing reputation on the line Sunday at the Prep-Public Braggin’ Rights Dual Meet at Belmont High School.

Monserrat, who has a stunning 155-2 record in his high school career, was the 126-pound New England champion this year with a dominating 58-0 mark that included 36 pins, eight technical falls and six major decisions.

Facing Monserrat will be New England prep champ Aidan Conroy of Northfield Mount Hermon. Also a junior, he was seeded sixth at the Prep New England meet, but upset the second and third seeds before beating the top seed 5-2 in the finals.

The meet gets underway at noon and will be followed by a Spring Awards Reception in which both Danielle Coughlin and Ryan Neals of North Andover will be honored.

Olympian and world champion Elena Pirozhkova from Greenfield will be presented with a “Bay State Pride Award” for her wrestling accomplishments. Elena will then present Coughlin her award, the inaugural “Wrestler’s Heart Award” for courage and determination for becoming the first female state champion in Massachusetts history.

Neals will receive a Peckham Scholarship Award as an outstanding wrestler who demonstrates excellence in academics and personal character and also plans on wrestling in college.

Originally, the meet featured a local dream matchup at 160 pounds between Brooks’ Andrew Konovalchik and North Andover’s Brad Drover. But Drover broke his wrist at the FloNationals and Konovalchik has been preoccupied with spring lacrosse.

However, Phillips Academy junior Christian Vallis and teammate James Palmer will both be competing, at 120 and 170 pounds respectively. Vallis competed in the inaugural all-star meet last year, losing a close decision to King Philip’s David Logan, who is now a wrestler at Cornell.

Northfield Mount Hermon has five wrestlers entered while, for the public schools, Mount Anthony has two representatives, Troy Gassaway at 113 and star heavyweight Jesse Webb. Also, the LaBrie brothers, Christian and Andrew, from Exeter-West Greenwich, R.I., are expected to compete at 145 and 152 pounds respectively.

Not to be missed will be the final high school match of Billerica star Leo Trindade, the 195-pound New England champ who finished second at senior nationals. He’s scheduled to face Belmont Hill’s Ryan Kelley, a sophomore from Winchester.

The event is being sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, whose mission is to preserve wrestling history, recognize excellence, and inspire future generations. In light of Boston University’s announcement that it is dropping wrestling, the hope is that there will be a big turnout.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online or at the door. For those who are interested in attending both the wrestling and the awards reception, it is recommended to buy tickets online ($35) at http://ma-nwhof.ticketleap.com/springawards/. For those coming to just the wrestling, tickets are available for $12 (adult) and $5 (student).

Beating the ‘bomber’

A little research disclosed last week that at least two local wrestlers, both from Methuen, competed against alleged terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when he was a student at Cambridge Rindge & Latin and both whipped him soundly in tournaments.

Jason Pendergast pinned Tsarnaev in 53 seconds and Nate Gioacchini won a major decision, 15-3. It’s not a stretch to say that the good guys won.