Pelham senior 195-pounder Conor Maslanek wanted redemption and he got it. And then some.
Disappointed after finishing second at the New England tournament as a junior, in a finals match he felt he should have won, Maslanek was determined to come back strong and gain the title he felt he deserved last year.
Well, after an easy undefeated regular season, our 2021 wrestling MVP, breezed to the Spartan New England title, but that didn’t completely satisfy him. He wanted to win a national title as well.
Several weeks later, Maslanek got his chance and responded in a big way, becoming just the third area wrestler to take first at the NHSCA Senior Nationals, joining former Timberlane star, and his coach at The Barn, Matt Smith and Timberlane’s Connor McGonagle, currently wrestling at Lehigh. He won his only close match of the year in the finals, 7-5 over Luke Duchie of Port Washington, Pa.
“I feel great — this is everything I worked for,” said Maslanek after the match.
Maslanek definitely worked hard during his career and the results reflected that. The all-time leader in wins at Pelham, he had a startling 102-3 record as a sophomore and junior, taking third and second in New England, before finishing undefeated this year, A powerful weight lifter with terrific strength, he gradually improved his technique to the point that he was virtually unbeatable.
Even prior to winning at nationals, Maslanek had been recognized as one of New England’s top wrestlers, which is why he committed to wrestle on scholarship for Division 1 Campbell University.
Maslanek won’t be forgotten at Pelham for a long time, especially with younger brother Nathan, who was a freshman 106-pounder this past season, still around.
Central Sophomore, 113
After impressive 29-14 freshman campaign at 120 pounds, just got tougher at 113 pounds. Finished 12-2 and was first team All-MVC. Finished fourth at All-State meet. Captured the gold medal in the 53-kilogram women’s freestyle at the Pan American Cadet wrestling championships in Oaxtepec, Mexico. — in impressive fashion. Finished second in her weight class at the World Team Trials in Irving, Texas. Trained briefly with Olympians at Colorado Springs. “Jackie is a better wrestler this year and nothing she does surprises me,” said coach Jamie Durkin.
Salem Junior, 120/126
Made easy transition from 106 pounds. Finished regular season undefeated with eight pins in 10 matches. Had impressive decision over returning MOC finalist Sam Oakes of Windham. Energetic and aggressive, relentless on the mat. Two-time Division 1 state finalist. Has 97 wins in three years. Finished fifth at Spartan New England meet. Captain as a junior. Also plays soccer at Salem. Enjoys snowboarding and skateing. Younger brother Caleb will be a freshman wrestler for Salem next year.
Gr. Lawrence Senior, 126
Finished regular season undefeated, dominating in most matches with 7 out of 10 ending with pins. Finished sixth at All-State. Coming off a 41-9 junior season. Played football for two years before focusing on wrestling. Inspired and motivated by Iowa star Spencer Lee. Works hard in the offseason. Finished career with 108 wins. Spent considerable time mentoring younger wrestlers and encouraging them to put in the work needed to be successful. Headed to Bridgewater State to wrestle.
Haverhill, Junior, 132
Repeat Eagle-Tribune all-star. Was 10-1 in regular season, losing only to Dracut standout. Finished fourth at All-State meet. Regularly wrestled up a weight class with no problem. Was 56-10 as sophomore. Determined and aggressive at start of matches. Dedicated, year-round wrestler, works out at Smitty’s Barn. Will wrestle freestyle at Fargo this summer. Comes from baseball-playing family. Fishing enthusiast during the summer. Solid student with 3.4 GPA.
Central, Junior, 138
Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Enjoyed tremendous season despite jumping up four weight classes. Went 10-1 during the regular season. Finished runner-up at the Spartan New England meet and also came in second at All-State, losing a heartbreaker in double overtime to Burlington star Zach Soda. Was 53-7 and fourth in New England as a sophomore. Salem resident. Third of great Glynn wrestling family, following Tyler and Mike.
Salem Senior, 138
Concluded terrific four-year career by going undefeated. Had impressive major decision over 2020 Meet of Champion finalist Connor McDonald of Bishop Guertin. Finished 120-27 for his career. Good leader willing to sacrifice whenever needed. “He’s the ultimate team guy,” said coach Steve Eddy. Highly athletic and tough. Heavily involved with rugby, has been playing for years. Also plays golf. Likely headed to trade school to become a plumber.
Timberlane Senior, 145
Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Two-time Division 1 champion and MOC winner, neither of which were held this year. Finished undefeated during regular season, highlighted by dominating win over Concord’s Jack Sargent. Came in fourth at Senior Nationals with impressive performance. Aggressive, entertaining style — doesn’t hold back. Younger brother of Antonio Pallaria, who wrestles at Castleton University. Brother Dominic also on Timberlane team. Played football and baseball at Timberlane.
Salem Sophomore, 145
Followed tremendous freshman season with an even better sophomore campaign. Undefeated in regular season with a 10-0 record, with one win a 6-4 decision over two-time Meet of Champions winner Konrad Parker of Timberlane. His 44 wins last year set a Salem freshman record and he finished second at the Division 1 state meet. Starting in second grade, he won seven state titles wrestling for the Salem Bulldogs. Promising football player, plays running back and linebacker. Great family support. Father, Michael, a former football and baseball player at Methuen High.
Haverhill freshman, 145
Enjoyed one of the best freshman campaigns in recent memory. Finished 11-0 in regular season, one of the wins a decisive victory over Central Catholic All-Star Jimmy Glynn. All-State champion with no seriously close matches. Placed fifth at Freshman Nationals. Younger brother of 2020 New England champion Jake Nicolosi. “He is light years ahead of where Jake was as a freshman and, skill-wise, he’s comparable to him right now,” said Haverhill coach Tim Lawlor. Former football player totally focused in wrestling now.
Pinkerton, Junior, 160
Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Only wrestled twice in regular season due to COVID. But showed his talent in Spartan New England Tournament, finishing second, dropping a close 3-2 decision to Cesar Alvan of Northfield Mount Hermon. As junior, placed first in Division 1 meet, second in MOC. Came in sixth at New England as sophomore, losing tough 1-0 and 4-2 decisions in final matches. Younger brother of graduated standout Tyler Mackiernan, now coaching at Bedford. Strong student and role model. Plays fullback and linebacker in football.
Timberlane Junior, 160
Athletic and tenacious. Finished 10-0 with every win by pin. Wrestled at 170 to help team rout Concord. “Anthony is really talented. I would not be surprised to see him place at the New England Championships next season,” said coach Dan Donovan. Plays volleyball for the Owls as defensive specialist. Atkinson resident. Outstanding student, ranked third in his class out of more than 250. Member of National Honor Society, Science Honor Society and Math Honor Society. Participates in Project Hope.
Central Catholic Freshman, 160
One of the most impressive freshmen in years. Finished undefeated season by dominating at All-State, recording three first period pins. Was hardly challenged in regular season. As good or better in judo. Before the pandemic, won U.S. Open for his division in Florida, was also a runner-up at Scholastic Nationals and took first in a big tournament in Mexico. As wrestler, placed first in the Pop and Flo Nationals, won multiple state middle school titles and he took first in New England as a fifth and seventh grader. Father Dave wrestled at Lawrence High.
Central Catholic Freshman, 170
Second part of Central’s dynamic one-two freshman punch. Finished season 10-1 with nine pins, the only loss coming in overtime. Started wrestling in kindergarten, been working out with Smitty’s Barn since seventh grade. Excellent football player as middle linebacker and running back. Older brother Peter wrestled and played football at Pentucket and another older brother, Nick, was a football player at Pentucket. Loves to work out. Just moved to Newton, N.H., from Merrimac.
Gr. Lawrence Senior, 170
Tremendously improved wrestler in career and this season. Dropped first match of regular season and then dominated. Finished fifth at All-State in impressive performance. Finished 39-12 as junior 160-pounder and really stepped it up this year. Finished career with 104 wins. Three-sport athlete as Reggie, played football as running back and linebacker and ran track. Father, Pedro Gomez, a former wrestler at Greater Lawrence. Headed to Bridgewater State where he will join Aden Ranno on the wrestling team.
Whittier Tech Senior, 182
A rare standout with no youth wrestling experience. Undefeated in regular season, 15-2 overall. Finished fourth at All-State. As junior was 160-pound sectional champ, only third in Whittier history. Energetic, exciting wrestler to watch. Also an outstanding football player as running back and hard-hitting linebacker. “He could really smack you,” said football coach Kevin Bradley. Haverhill resident. Headed to Bridgewater State, where he will wrestle and major in accounting.
Timberlane Junior, 220
Proved himself as one of the top 220-pounders in New England. Finished 10-0 in regular season with all pins. Avid weightlifter. Extremely strong. Had memorable pin of Concord’s Abbas Abdulrahman, a returning New England placer and unbeaten at the time. Showed great improvement in last year at Smitty’s Barn. Also an excellent football player. Named an Eagle-Tribune All-Star as an offensive lineman. “He’s an explosive athlete who loves the weight room ,” said football coach Kevin Fitzgerald.
Central Catholic Senior, 220/285
Finished tremendous regular season undefeated alternating between two weights. Didn’t get taken down all season. Started wrestling very young, switched to basketball for four years and then resumed wrestling after being cut from freshman basketball team. Father, Brian, well known wrestling official. Also played football at Central. Newton, N.H., resident. Enjoys riding bikes and running. Completed Newburyport 10-miler. Headed to Southern Maine to wrestle.
Central Catholic Senior, 220/285
Reliable big man the last three years for Central. Only lost one match all year, to the All-State 195-pound champion. Redeemed himself in big way by winning 220-pound All-State title. Lawrence resident. Older brother, Michael, also wrestled at Central and persuaded him to wrestle. Rare four-year 220-pounder although he did wrestle at heavyweight when needed. Excellent football player as an offensive lineman and linebacker, starting in Lawrence Pop Warner in the seventh grade. Headed with Owen Bufagna to Southern Maine to wrestle.
Andover — Jonathan Davila, Jr., 152; Sean Ballou, Sr., 182; Yasser Maita, Jr., 220; Connor Sheehan, Sr., 170
Central Catholic — Nick Spero, Soph., 106; James Bohenko, Soph., 120
Greater Lawrence — Agustin Reina, Jr., 152
Haverhill — Kaeden Dixon, Sr., 152/160; JC Figueroa, Sr., 182
Lawrence — Davidson Theosmy, Jr., 132; Fernando Alvarado, Sr., 106; Brandan Lavasta, Jr., 285
Methuen — Dom Demaio, Sr., 160; Anthony Romano, Sr., 220; Josiah Concepcion, Sr., 195; Joe Gangi, Sr., 145
North Andover — Cam Watson, Sr., 170; Jack Carbone, Sr., 195
Pelham — Patrick Soonthornprapuet, Sr., 126
Pentucket — Tre Aulson, Sr., 126; Nic Williamson, Sr., 152; Chris Legacy, Sr. 160
Pinkerton — Mikey Ziniti, Frosh., 130; David Hammond, Sr., 138
Salem — Brody McDonald, Frosh., 106; Phil Giordano, Sr., 113
Timberlane — Cody Wild, Jr., 138; Konrad Parker, Jr., 145; Bryce Parker, Jr., 182; Ben Little, Soph., 126
Whittier — Lukas Rousseau, Sr., 152; Adam Rousseau, Jr., 126
Windham — Sam Oakes, Jr., 120; Aiden Williams, Soph., 132; Jayson Clementi, Jr., 138
DIMMY GAVRIEL AWARD
2020: Beau Dillon, Salem; 2017-19: Connor McGonagle, Timberlane; 2016: Dylan Barreiro, Pinkerton; 2015: Fritz Hoehn, No. Andover; 2013-14: Christian Monserrat, Methuen; 2012: Zach Bridson, Timberlane; Ryan O’Boyle, Central; 2011: Nick Lawrence, Timberlane; 2009-10: Isaiah Williams, Haverhill; 2008: Trevor Dearden, Salem and John Sughrue, Methuen;
2007: Derek Sickel, Timberlane; 2006: Aaron Kalil, Salem; 2005: Shawn Fendone, Central; 2004: Joey Fendone, Central and Phil Moricone, Pinkerton; 2003: Joey Fendone, Central and Nick Dalicandro, Salem; 2001-02: Matt Smith, Timberlane; 2000: Luis Piantini, Greater Lawrence and Eric Bradley, Timberlane; 1999: Matt Smith, Timberlane; 1997-98: Jay Holder, Timberlane; 1996: Brian Williams, Salem; 1995: Brian McLaughlin, No. Andover; 1994: Paul DiGiantommaso, No. Reading; 1993: Dimmy Gavriel, Timberlane; 1992: David Leonardo, Haverhill; 1991: Dan Alicea, Methuen; 1990: Jeff Lee, Methuen; also 1981: Al Belanger, No. Andover