One, as the song goes, may be the loneliest number that you’ll ever see, but it’s been quite enjoyable so far for senior 145-pounder Tristan Leek.
After three years of joining ranks with Jon Scheidegger, who now starts for Sacred Heart University, Leek finds himself as the lone wrestler at Sanborn High School.
And he seems to be thriving. Through the weekend, he was 22-3 and had won tournament titles at Bow, Chelmsford and Pelham. His only losses have come to a defending Vermont champion, a returning New England placer and to Manchester Central’s tough Azalkhan Sarvalov, 3-2, in the finals of the Timberlane Tournament.
“It’s going pretty good,” admitted Leek last week. “I’m healthy and I think my wrestling has improved.”
Leek, who began wrestling with the Merrimack Youth Program in the fifth grade before moving to Kingston as a seventh grader, has been effective from the start.
As a freshman, when Sanborn had a third wrestler (Ryan Manasian), Leek was 21-13. He improved to 34-15 as a sophomore and was 20-9 last year despite missing a month with a concussion.
Those first three years, Leek had the talented Scheidegger as his Sanborn teammate, which was certainly an advantage. But, while he misses the company, his routine hasn’t changed much.
As in the past, Leek still goes to Exeter High School every afternoon for workouts and he usually attends and wrestles in the same meets as the Blue Hawks.
“It’s a little lonelier without Jon, but I’m pretty lucky to be with Exeter,” said Leek. “I’m not officially on their team, but I hang out with them, they cheer me on when I wrestle and I cheer for them.”
And while Leek is the only wrestler at Sanborn, he does get recognized for his accomplishments on the mat.
“It’s been pretty cool,” said Leek. “Most people know I wrestle and the athletic director (Vicki Parady-Guay) really supports me and makes announcements on how I do.”
Over the last three years, Leek has accomplished plenty. But there is one void than he’s anxious to fill this year.
“I’d like to win my weight class at the (Division 3) state meet,” he said. “I’ve finished second every year. Then I’d like to make New England.”
Leek’s college plans are unclear at this point, but he’d like to keep wrestling. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed so I’d like to continue,” he said.
And then, for the first time, he might be on a team at the school he attends.
Chamberlain finishing strong
Last year was a season of recovery for Derek Chamberlain, Georgetown/Ipswich’s 195-pound standout.
After missing his entire sophomore season because of a broken hand, Chamberlain came back as a junior and won 25 matches and was second at the sectional, but he also lost 18.
This year has been far different as Chamberlain is currently 23-5 and has won titles at both the Pentucket and Pelham tournaments.
“Last year’s experience after missing a year has made a big difference,” said Chamberlain. “I’m wrestling a lot smarter and know when to not make a stupid move.”
In addition to the added success, this winter has been a particularly enjoyable one for Chamberlain coming off of a difficult two-win season for the Ipswich football team.
“I like the individualness of wrestling, being out there by myself,” he said. “And the coaching change (to head coach Ryan Archambault) has worked out. Coach Auch is very technical and he wants everyone to be as good as he can be.”
Nevertheless, this should be it for Chamberlain’s wrestling career. He’s aiming to play college football with Framingham State and Endicott College among the school’s he’s considering.
Best wishes for Samie
Haverhill junior Samie Al-Ziab received tough news this week when he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and will miss at least three weeks and probably more. Al-Ziab, an All-State runner-up last year at 220, was 21-2 this year and determined to win a state title and finally take down St. John’s Prep star Ian Butterbrodt of North Andover.
The hope is that Al-Ziab will be back in time for sectionals but how much strength and endurance he’ll have at that point is open to question. One can only hope for the best for such a quality student athlete.
Methuen coach Bill James says that “a strong argument can be made for it (Saturday’s Methuen Invitational) being the toughest one-day tournament New England” and he’s got a good case.
The field includes Vermont power Mount Anthony, which is the defending champion and last year’s New England champ, defending Division 1 Mass. champ Springfield Central, defending Division 2 Mass. champ North Andover and Rhode Island power Exeter West.
Individually, there are four New England champions (Methuen’s Christian Moserrat, Exeter West’s Christian and Andrew Labrie and Mount Anthony’s Jesse Webb), a New England finalist in North Andover’s Brad Drover and numerous state champions.
Monserrat, Butterbrodt cited
In recent masswrestling.com rankings, Methuen’s Christian Monserrat and St. John’s Prep’s Ian Butterbrodt are the top two wrestlers ranked pound for pound as the best in Massachusetts. What’s more, North Andover’s Brad Drover is No. 3.
Monserrat is also ranked as the top senior and Butterbrodt is rated as the top junior.
As far as team rankings, St. John’s Prep is ranked as the No. 1 dual meet team followed by Springfield Central and North Attleboro. North Andover is ranked sixth, but the feeling here is that the Knights should be much higher.
WRESTLING FAB 5 The Eagle-Tribune's weekly ranking of area high school wrestling teams: 1. Timberlane 16-0 2. North Andover 17-2 3. Londonderry 7-1 4. Brooks 15-1 5. North Reading/Lynnfield 21-0 Honorable mention: Lawrence (12-7), Methuen (15-4)