LONDONDERRY — Step One wasn’t flawless by any means, but it was certainly successful for the Timberlane wrestling team Saturday afternoon.
The Owls captured the Division 1 state title for the third straight year and 17th time in 18 years in convincing fashion, piling up 254.5 points, 62 more than runner-up Concord, Salem was a solid third with 142 points, three more than Pinkerton.
Timberlane crowned three champions, had five runners-up and qualified all 14 wrestlers for next Saturday’s Meet of Champions at Nashua South. That last point was probably most important for Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian.
“That’s what we were shooting for so it was mission accomplished,” said Chooljian. “We probably should have won one other weight class but the kids wrestled hard. I’m proud of them.
Timberlane’s three champions were impressive. Barret Kappler had three straight wins at 120, including an 11-3 major decision in the finals, to improve to 32-5 on the year, defending New England champ Connor McGonagle had three pins at 132 and is now 40-1 and Justin Berube had two pins and an 11-5 decision to take first at 152.
Berube, who is now 34-5 on the year, started the season as a 160-pounder but dropped to 152 to win his first state title and is glad he did.
“Coach (Chooljian) thought it’d be best for the team and it’s worked out really well,” he said. “I feel stronger and really good. My goal is to make the New England finals and for the team to win it, and I think my chances are pretty good.”
But, warns Berube, winning steps two and three, the Meet of Champions and New England, is no easy thing.
“We wrestled well today but things can go wrong at states and New England and you have to be ready for anything,” he said.
Chooljian certainly seconds that sentiment but said of Berube that “he’s wrestling great. What I liked about him today was that he kept wrestling offensively the whole match.”
Heavyweight Noah Beaulieu, meanwhile, fell in the category of “being ready for anything.” After recovering from a shoulder injury, Beaulieu got a vicious case of the stomach flu during the week and barely was able to wrestle Saturday. But he won two matches before defaulting in the finals due to the illness.
“We weren’t even sure he could wrestle today but Noah really dealt with the adversity,” said Chooljian.
Also finishing second for the Owls were Nick Roeger, who lost a late lead and a 6-5 decision at 106, Taylor Donovan (126), Brandon Berube (170) and Dylan Tremblay (182).
Notable third-place finishes were by John Leavitt (113), Dylan Musgrave (145) and Chris Lund (220). Musgrave and the steadily improving Lund had pins in the consolation finals.
SALEM KEEPS RISING
Things couldn’t have gone much better for Salem, which had its best finish in years.
Sophomore Matt Adams started things off with a pin in the finals at 113 to improve to 35-5 on the year, junior Tristen Cabinta won his third straight D1 title with a 9-5 decision at 160 to improve to 37-4 and sophomore Beau Dillon pulled out an exciting 11-8 decision in the finals over Londonderry’s tough Alex Boucher. He is now 34-7 for the season.
Freshman George Boudreau wrestled a strong tournament to take second at 120.
To top it off, Salem co-coaches Nick Eddy and Wes Decker were named Division 1 Coach of the Year.
Pinkerton sophomore 182-pounder Sterling McLaughlin just keeps getting better and better. After recording two pins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, he dominated Tremblay, who was fourth in New England last year. Leading 7-1 after two periods, McLaughlin got a near fall and then a pin with 20 seconds left in the match, improving his record to 34-2.
Also for Pinkerton, Robbie Fahey was second at 220, falling to old rival Alex Buteau of Concord 1-0 in the finals, and Walker Stinson was runner-up at 113.
WINDHAM REPEATS IN D2
Windham coach Tom Darrin knew that it would take a team effort for the Jaguars to repeat as Division 2 state champions and that’s exactly what he got.
The Jaguars showed more depth than at any time this year and finished with 198 points to edge runner-up Merrimack by six points with Bishop Guertin (186) not far behind in third.
“It was the ultimate team win,” said Darrin. “Every wrestler won at least one match and every wrestler placed in the top six. In 43 years of coaching, that is the first time in any tournament that my team has done that.”
Trailing by four points going into the medal round, Windham won nine of 14 matches to claim the title.
Placing first for Windham were Conner Sills at 106, Riley Millette at 120 and Vinny Marino at 132. It was the third divisional state title for Millette and second for Marino.
Taking second for the Jaguars were Payton Sills (113), Nick Sawyer (138) and Ben Wentworth (160). Improving Malay Agarwal was third at 126.
NH Division 1 Meet
Division 1 Championship
Team scores: Timberlane 254.5, Concord 192.5, Salem 145, Pinkerton 142, Nashua South 117.5, Londonderry 112, Alvirne 86, Keene 69, Bedford 66, Exeter 37.5, Manchester Central 36.5, Memorial 30, Nashua North 10
Winners and local placers:
106: 1. Sam Wagner (Con), 2. Nick Roeger (Tim), 3. Dominic Robinson (Pink); 113: 1. Matt Adams (Sal). 2. Walker Stinson (Pink), John Leavitt (Tim); 120: 1. Barret Kappler (Tim), 2. George Boudreau (Sal), 4. David Hammond (Pink); 126: 1. Hayden Brown (Eseter), 2. Taylor Donovan (Tim); 132: 1. Connor McGonagle (Tim), 5. Ryan Burke (Salem); 138: 1. AJ Pagliarulo (Bedford), 3. Anthony Pallaria (Tim); 145: 1. Craig Santos (Lon), 3. Dylan Musgrave (Tim), 4. Tyler MacKiernan (Pink); 152: 1. Justin Berube (Tim), 4. Connor Chute (Sal), 5. Robbie Morin (Pink); 160: 1. Tristen Cabinta (Sal), 3. Dylan Hughes (Tim), 6. Will Brown (Pink); 170: 1. Isaac Gladey (Con), 2. Brandon Berube (Tim), 6. Dylan McKeon (Sal); 182: 1. Sterling McLaughlin (Pink), 2. Dylan Tremblay (Tim); 195: 1. Beau Dillon (Sal), 5. Mitch Hammond (Tim), 6. Raul Martinez (Pink); 220: 1. Alex Buteau (Con), 2. Robbie Fahey (Pink), 3. Chris Lund (Tim); HVY: 1. Chris Francis (Bedford), 2. Noah Beaulieu (Tim), 4. Josh Ozoria (Salem), 5. Cam Macro (Pink)
NH Division 2 Meet
Team scores: Windham 198, Merrimack 192, Bishop Guertin 186, Hollis-Brookline 157, Goffstown 127, Milford 109, ConVal 72, Kingswood 36, Winnacunnet 36, Manchester West 21, Souhegan 18, Spaulding 15
106: 1. Conner Sills; 113: 2. Payton Sills; 120: 1. Riley Millette; 126: 3. Malay Agarwal; 132: 1. Vinny Marino; 138: 2. Nick Sawyer; 145: 5. Matt Sullivan; 152: 6. Dylan Field; 160: 2. Ben Wentworth; 170: 6. Hunter Tornquist; 182: 6. Joel Nyonga; 195: 4. Anthony Favereau; 220: 5. Zach Leclerc; HVY: 5. Christian Parker