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Lashway, Laffey, Bean advance to Day 2

Pat Lashway’s improbable run continued on Day 1 of the Division III State Wrestling Championships Friday evening at Foxborough High School.

Lashway joined two of his teammates as the only three wrestlers that survived the first day and will wrestle at Day 2 of the meet, which will continue throughout the day today in Foxborough.

Lashway was an unranked wrestler going into last weekend’s WMass Division III Championships, but the Franklin County Technical School 106-pounder fought his way through the tournament and managed to place third. He continued his torrid wrestling of late on Friday and is a contender in the consolation bracket as Day 2 begins.

Lashway opened Day 1 of the double-elimination tournament against Bellingham High School’s Kevin Clinton, who pinned the Eagle wrestler in 1 minute, 35 seconds. Undetered, Lashway went to the consolation bracket and went up against Hanover High School’s Hunter Gillis, who he pinned in 1:43. That pitted Lashway against Scituate High School’s Liam Healy (the runner-up in the South sectional), and Lashway earned a trip to Day 2 with a 9-5 victory. He will take on Lynnfield High School’s Joe Morse in the consolation quarterfinals this morning.

“He’s wrestling really well,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “He missed some time during the regular season, but he is wrestling well at the right time.”

Should Lashway — or any of the remaining wrestlers — win his first match of Day 2, it will guarantee that he finishes no worse than sixth overall, and will guarantee him a spot at the All-State Tournament next weekend at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

His teammate, Kyle Laffey is also alive and followed up a disappointing second-place showing at WMass at 160 pounds, with a strong performance on Friday. Laffey opened the day against John Cone from the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough and crushed the third-place finisher in the Central sectional by a score of 17-1. That moved him to the quarterfinals of the championship bracket where he faced Wakefield High School’s Ben Spicer, the champion from the North sectional, and Spicer earned a 6-2 decision to send Laffey to the consolation bracket. Laffey advanced to Day 2 with a 15-second pin over Melrose High School’s Marco Difronzo, second Laffey to the consolation quarterfinals where he will take on Holliston High School’s Eric Jacobson, who Laffey pinned earlier this season.

The third Eagle wrestler to advance to Day 2 was Brett Bean, who went 2-1 at 145 pounds and remains alive in the consolation bracket. The WMass runner-up opened his day with a 11-5 loss to Lynnfield’s Dominic Monzione, but went to the consolation bracket and pulled off a pin 25 seconds into the second period over Joseph Gonzalez of Josiah Quincy School in Boston. He then punched his ticket to Day 2 with a pin 1:32 into the match against Quinton Holland from Danvers High School, who was the North sectional champion. Bean will wrestler Mt. Greylock Regional High School’s C.J. Lillie in the consolation quarterfinals, a wrestler he is 2-0 against this season, with one win coming at the WMass meet last weekend.

Each of the two WMass champions from the area had their runs cut short. Athol High School freshman Merritt Decker, the WMass champion at 113, had his run end with two losses on Friday. Decker opened the day against Norton High School’s Aidan Kahn and Kahn earned a pin with 12 seconds left in the third period to send Decker to the consolation bracket. The Athol wrestler’s season was ended in his first match there, as he was pinned by Konnor Kozubal of Hollister High School 44 seconds into the second period.

The same held true for Frontier Regional School’s Saul Soto, the WMass champion at 220 pounds, who actually opened the day with a win but dropped two matches in the consolation bracket. Soto began the day against Nauset High School’s Jake Colson, who he needed just 1:19 to pin. His championship-bracket run came to an end in the second match when he lost to Holliston’s Austin Barrett, who earned a 11-7 win over Soto, sending him to the consolation bracket. Soto’s season came to an end when he was pinned 34 seconds into the third period by Taconic High School’s Dave Jones, who actually placed third at the WMass meet behind Soto.

Athol’s Trevor Carey, who placed third in WMass at 132 pounds, was another local to earn a win in the championship bracket as he opened his day with a 7-4 victory over Watertown High School’s Stephen Emerton. Carey moved on to wrestle Josh Wesolowski from Pentucket High School, the North sectional champion, and Carey was pinned in 1:13. He then went to the consolation bracket and was eliminated from the competition by Lynnfield’s Max Whyman, who earned a 7-2 victory.

Mahar Regional School’s Aaron Briggs had a great showing for the first year Senators’ program, finishing the day 1-2. Briggs, who finished third at 195 pounds at WMass, opened the day with a mini-upset as he bested Georgetown-Ipswich High School’s Derek Chamberlain (the No. 2 finisher in the North sectional) by a 3-1 score. Briggs would fall in a narrow loss to the Central sectional champion in his next match, dropping a 7-6 decision to Dedham High School’s Joe Amponsah, which sent him to the consolation bracket. His season came to an end with a 11-1 loss to Melrose High School’s Mike Doucette.

Franklin Tech’s Jonathan Rawls, who finished fourth at 220 at WMass, dropped a pair of close decisions to have his say cut short. Rawls opened the day with a 3-0 loss to Somerset High School’s Drew Gagnon, and then fell 5-3 to Quabbin Regional High School’s Brent Leger in his first match of the consolation bracket. Rawls’ teammate Alex Giurgiu, who finished fifth at WMass at 132 pounds but qualified for the State meet as an alternate, also went 0-2 on the day, falling to Hampshire Regional High School’s Brendan Weir by technical fall (15-0) in his opening match, and then falling 9-3 to Lynnfield’s Max Whyman in his first match of the consolations.

Frontier’s Jake Arnold went 0-2 on the day at 145 pounds. The fourth-place finisher from WMass lost 16-0 to Danvers’ Quinton Holland in his first match of the day, and was eliminated by Foxborough’s Aidan Smith with a 9-2 loss.

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