---- — BELMONT — Nearly two months after the regular season, there were a number of wrestlers in less than top condition yesterday at the Prep-Public Braggin’ Rights All-Star dual meet at Belmont Hill.
Methuen junior Christian Monserrat was not one of them.
Monserrat looked in mid-season form while dismantling New England prep champion Aidan Conroy of Northfield Mount Hermon in a matchup of 126-pounders who both now weigh close to 140.
With two quick takedowns and two back points, Monserrat zoomed to a 6-1 lead in the first period and was ahead 12-3 in the second period when he pinned Conroy at the 3:24 mark, one of only two pins on the day.
”I’m in just as good shape now as during the season, maybe better,” said Monserrat, who was 55-0 and the New England 126-pound champion this year. “I’ve been wrestling twice a week (at Smitty’s Barn) and working out the other days.
”I felt good out there. He (Conroy) wasn’t bad, but I thought I was in control.”
Overall, in fact, Monserrat and the public school wrestlers dominated the match, winning by a 42-9 landslide. Last year, the public school wrestlers only won 21-18.
Only three prep wrestlers won decisions and one was against late fill-in Tom Arsenault of North Reading/Lynnfield. Arsenault only got the call to wrestle two days ago but he wrestled admirably against Tabor’s Todd Bazarewsky, who was a New England prep runner-up and was fifth at prep nationals.
In what was an intense defensive battle, the score was 1-1 until the final seconds when Bazarewsky got a takedown for the 3-1 win. A junior, Arsenault was 41-2 last year, one of the losses an injury default at the state tournament when he dislocated his shoulder.
Two Phillips Academy wrestlers competed well in tough setbacks. New England prep 170-pound runner-up James Palmer dropped a 4-3 decision to Chelmsford’s Ben Melisi while Christian Vallis of Boxford dropped a back-and-forth 6-5 decision to Billerica’s Nick Derosa.
Vallis and Derosa are regular foes at the Doughboy wrestling club. Vallis was a New England prep runner-up this year and placed sixth at prep nationals.
In the match of the day, Mount Anthony All-American heavyweight Jesse Webb rallied from a 6-1 deficit to defeat Tabor-bound Lucian Cascino 7-6. Nearly as exciting was the 3-2 decision by Mount Anthony’s Troy Gassaway, a sophomore, over Northfield Mount Hermon freshman Will Verallis.
Locals get awards
Following the wrestling, two local wrestlers were among those receiving awards from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, which sponsored the meet.
North Andover’s Danielle Coughlin was presented with the inaugural “Wrestler’s Heart Award” for courage and determination, in recognition of her accomplishment as the first female high school state champion in Massachusetts history.
Presenting the award to Coughlin was Elena Pirozhkova, a five-time national champion and the reigning world champion at 63 kilos.
Coughlin’s teammate, Ryan Neals, received a Peckham Scholarship Award as an outstanding wrestler who demonstrates excellence in academics and personal character and also plans to wrestle in college. He is likely headed to Drexel University.
Impressive LaBrie twins
Timberlane’s Lawrence twins, Nick and Nate, were an outstanding tandem who both won New England titles as seniors. But they’re starting to take a backseat to the LaBrie brothers, Andrew and Christian, from Exeter High School in West Greenwich, R.I.
Still only juniors, both were undefeated New England champs this year. Andrew was 40-0 at 152 pounds and Christian was 34-0 at 145. Christian was so dominant that no wrestler scored a point on him all year.
In yesterday’s matches, Andrew had the day’s only technical fall, 18-2 over Northfield Mount Hermon’s Max Adler, while Christian blanked Belmont Hill’s Mike Favalora 10-0.
Exeter, which finished third in New England this year, could challenge Mount Anthony for top honors at New England next year. Not only are both LaBrie brothers back but state champ Carl Neff returns as well as some other top wrestlers according to head coach Dwayne LaBrie, the twins’ father.