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.
“I thought we were in good shape earlier, but I was hoping to sneak out a win at heavyweight, and then Fitzpatrick wrestled a smart match,” said North Andover coach Carl Cincotta. “We were definitely expecting to win there (at 106).
“I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t make it closer. But they won the close matches and deserved it.”
Following Fitzpatrick’s win, Tim McLinden followed with a 7-3 decision at 113, co-captain Adam Corey recorded a pin at 120 and impressive freshman Ryan Peters got a pin at 126. With the score 33-4 at that point, the rout was on.
Major decisions by Dan Scalzo, with an exciting 11-3 decision over trigged Knight Zane Melillo, and Josh Burnham completed the Timberlane scoring.
Trailing 41-7, the Knights made the score respectable with pins at 152 and 160 by stars Fritz Hoehn and Brad Drover.
Earlier, North Andover got a 7-6 decision at 132 when Nick Cincotta rallied from a 6-1 deficit with two near falls in the third period, and a 9-1 major decision by returning New England placer Ryan Neals at 182.
“We’ve been talking about this meet for awhile, and I’ve been thinking about it since the season started,” said Grenier. “It feels great to win this like we did.”
Timberlane 41, North Andover 19
106: Tyler Fitzpatrick (T) dec. Danielle Coughlin 3-0; 113: Tim McLinden (T) dec. Peter Taylor 7-3; 120: Adam Corey (T) pin Dan Villalba 1:54; 126: Ryan Peters (T) pin Nick Villalba 3:13; 132: Nick Cincotta (NA) dec. Derek Bohle 7-6; 138: Dan Scalzo (T) major dec. Zane Melillo 11-3; 145: Josh Burnham (T) major dec. Cooper McCloud 13-1; 152: Fritz Hoehn (NA) pin Shaun Ahern 1:26; 160: Brad Drover (NA) Chris Pagliccia 4:00; 170: Josh Riley (T) dec. Stephen Cincotta 4-2; 182: Ryan Neals (NA) major dec. Harry Denoncourt 9-1; 195: Cam Gargano (T) dec. Owen Rosenberger 4-2; 220: Shawn Grenier (T) pin Jake Caporale 1:17; HVY: Zach Stewart (T) dec. Alex Inangelo 2-1
Records: North Andover 1-1, Timberlane 6-0