Timberlane junior 113-pounder Tim McLinden certainly knows how to fit in with the crowd.
When he moved from Windham to Plaistow in the eighth grade, he had never wrestled and knew very little about the sport. But he soon discovered that wrestling is popular in the Timberlane district.
“Some of my first friends here wrestled and thought I should try it,” said McLinden. “I took a visit to the (wrestling) Barn, I looked around at what was going on and I liked it.”
With his interest sparked, McLinden began wrestling as a freshman, which is considered late in the Timberlane program. Because of that, there was an adjustment period.
“At first, it was a disadvantage because I didn’t know the moves,” said McLinden. “But I don’t like to use that as an excuse.”
Instead, McLinden has proven to be a fast learner. He won the JV state meet as a freshman and sophomore, last year as a backup to New England champion Zach Bridson, and made steady progress.
Inserted into the starting lineup this year, McLinden has been one of the surprises of the season for the Owls and one of the team’s most consistent performers. He’s 25-9, finished fourth at the rugged Lowell Holiday Tournament and rolled to the title at the Timberlane Tournament.
“My main thing this year was just to make the varsity,” said McLinden. “I figured I had a good chance because I worked hard in the offseason, but now I want to do well in the states.”
Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian is not surprised, given McLinden’s character, at his relatively rapid development.
“He’s very coachable and his work ethic is tremendous,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. “He and (junior 106-pounder) Tyler Fitzpatrick are machines in the practice room. He is engaged in his improvement everyday and that’s the reason he has been so successful in such a short time.”
Even before his wrestling, McLinden had shown an ability to fit in easily. Although he’s not hesitant to admit it, he was adopted as an infant from the Philippines, just as his older brother, Dan had been.
“I don’t mind when people ask me about it and I’m kind of proud of being from the Philippines,” said McLinden. “I’ve gone to a (Phillipine) cultural camp in the summer several times.
“Being adopted definitely makes me appreciate all the opportunities I have. If my parents hadn’t adopted me, I wouldn’t have them.”
For one of those opportunities, to wrestle in the powerhouse Timberlane program, McLinden is certainly making the most of it.
Hats off to SJP
The St. John’s Prep wrestling team wrapped up its 15th straight Catholic Conference title last week while improving to a gaudy 35-3 but that’s not why head coach Manny Costa was in such a fine mood. Instead, it was the posting of second quarter grades that had him beaming.
The overall GPA for the 14-member varsity in the second quarter was a 3.97 (out of 5) and nine of the 14 starters had a GPA above 4.0.
“All of you know how important and how much I stress academics on my team — it is what their futures are built on,” said Costa. “I am so proud of the guys getting it done at a high level on the mats and in the classrooms.”
At Pelham, if only ...
Pelham coach Bob Riddinger had been trying to get Chadd Loring out for wrestling for years and his persistence paid off for both of them.
In his first year of wrestling, the senior heavyweight has been more than competitive and had a 13-9 record as of last week.
“If he had come out as a sophomore, there’s no telling how good he’d be now,” said Riddinger.
And how has Loring, who used to play basketball, liked the transition to wrestling.
“He loves getting out on the mat — at least for meets ... not as much for practice,” said Riddinger.
That sounds pretty typical for heavyweights.
North Andover duals
The North Andover duals, which is basically a replacement for the Division 2 dual-meet state tournament, will be held all day Saturday at North Andover. There will be 16 teams involved and they include several top Division 3 teams as well as Division 2, the most prominent being Winchester, North Attleboro and Holliston. Action will begin at 8 a.m. and the finals and third-place match will be held at about 6 p.m.
At the same time, the Division 1 duals will be held at Chelmsford, but neither Methuen nor Lawrence will participate. St. John’s Prep is considered the favorite.
The beat goes on for Sanborn senior Jon Scheidegger. Not only did he win yet another tournament over the weekend, the 152-pound title at the Capital Classic, but he was named Outstanding Wrestler for the third time this year. Also, Tristan Leek finished second in his weight class.
Perhaps you’ve seen it on YouTube or on a television replay, but it was good to hear that there were no serious injuries suffered by Madison (S.D.) High senior Michael McCormish, who was
the victim of a terrifying action during a bout against a wrestler for Chamberlain (S.D.) High a week ago Friday when the giant, iridescent-style light fixture that provides a solitary spotlight on the wrestlers came crashing down as McCormish set up to start on bottom of a re-start.
The crash was horrifying, with the fixture itself appearing to almost gobble the senior wrestler up.
Quick medical attention ensured that McCormish was safe and, remarkably, McCormish later tweeted that he was fine, and that the injuries he suffered from the crash only caused minor cosmetic damage.