PLAISTOW — One tradition helped boost another for the Timberlane wrestling team.
Known throughout their reign as the top mat program in both the region and all of New England, the Owls have boasted outstanding lightweights and heavyweights through the years. Last night, the Owls got key wins at both 106 and heavyweight on their way to a resounding 41-19 showdown victory over Mass. power North Andover.
In front of a packed house of more than 700 boisterous fans, the defending five-time New England champs were definitely convincing winners, capturing 10 of 14 weight classes.
“I thought it was a tremendous effort by my kids,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. “We had a lot of energy and wrestled smart. I’m very happy with our performance.”
Chooljian was particularly pleased with junior heavyweight Zach Stewart and 106-pound classmate Tyler Fitzpatrick, who combined to all but seal the verdict in a pair of matches that were considered toss-ups.
The meet started at the 170-pound weight class and Timberlane was already ahead 12-4 when Stewart, who was thrust into the lineup earlier in the season after standout senior Jordan Eastman got suspended, took to the mat.
Competing against a much bigger Alex Inangelo for North Andover, Stewart dominated in the final two periods, eventually settling for a 2-1 decision. He was followed directly by Fitzpatrick, who was paired against star senior Danielle Coughlin.
Fitzpatrick grabbed an early takedown, rode out the rest of the first period, got an escape in the second period and held tight in the final frame for a pivotal 3-0 victory.
Coming on the heels of Shawn Grenier’s spirited first-period pin at 220 which “definitely pumped up the crowd and gave us some momentum” according to Grenier, the heaviest and lightest weights put Timberlane in a commanding 21-4 lead. It was a gap much too great to overcome.