PLAISTOW, N.H. — Where have we seen this before: Student sections roped off for the home team and visitors; cameras covering the action for the local access cable TV; every seat in the gym and every parking space within 500 yards taken; a group of high school girls all wearing cutoff T-shirts with one letter of their school’s nickname written on their bellies.
I’ll tell you one place I’ll bet you’ve never seen any of the aforementioned dreams for a high school athlete — a regular wrestling meet.
But last night, Timberlane Regional hosted a wrestling meet of wrestling meets. Timberlane, the “baddest” program in New England with five straight N.E. titles and 13 straight state titles, hosted North Andover High, which is the three-time defending Div. 2 team champion in Massachusetts
The Knights like to consider themselves in the discussion as the “baddest” program in New England.
These two wrestling behemoths, only 12 miles apart, had been feuding for a few decades about their programs. Their backers and alums, usually anonymously in some wrestling chat rooms, would trash the other over childish things like who’s winning streak is longer or who’s state is better, etc.
Finally, the coaches spoke this summer and decided they would settle it on the mats, where this rugged sport settles all of its lingering questions.
The only thing missing from this “Super Bowl” type event was the drama. There was none.
Timberlane pummeled North Andover, 41-19. And quite frankly, it wasn’t that close.
Part of the problem was North Andover’s best two wrestlers — Fritz Hoehn (152) and Brad Drover (160) — were the last two matches of the night. This match was long over by the time these two competed (both won by pin), never allowing North Andover to get the momentum these team meets seem to live for.