Eagles' Laffey earns slot at New Englands
Franklin County Technical School wrestler Kyle Laffey (top), shown during an upset loss in the 160-pound WMass finals, has advanced to the New England Championships next weekend in Providence, R.I.
Franklin County Technical School 160-pound wrestler Kyle Laffey (top) shown during an upset loss at the WMass Championships, has now advanced all the way to next weekend's New England Championships in Providence, R.I.
Kyle Laffey made history at Franklin County Technical School on Saturday.
The senior became the first-ever wrestler from the school to advance to the New England Championships, following his sixth-place finish in the 160-pound division at the MIAA All-State Championships at Tsongas Arena in Lowell.
Laffey battled his way through the opening day on Friday, losing his first match and moving into the consolation bracket. He would go on to win two matches in the consolation bracket on Friday, which moved him to Day 2 on Saturday. Laffey needed to win his first match of the day against Chelmsford High School’s Jake Ahern in order to ensure a top-six finish at the tournament, which qualified wrestlers for the New England meet. The Eagle wrestler scored the all-important first two points of the match against Ahern with a takedown in the first period. He would add to his advantage with a reversal in the second period, and then scored another takedown in the third for a 6-0 shutout final.
“He wrestled extremely well in that match,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “He dominated the match right from the initial takedown.”
The win moved Laffey to the consolation quarterfinals, where he went up against Winchester High School’s Anthony Fraumeni. Laffey trailed 2-1 at the end of the first period, and a wild second period helped Fraumeni add to his lead. Laffey began in the down position and Fraumeni managed to get Laffey on his back and score two points for a near fall. Laffey was able to get out of that and score two points of his own on a reverse, but Fraumeni came back and got a reverse of his own to lead 6-3 after two periods. Neither wrestler was able to score in the third, and Fraumeni went on to earn the 6-3 win.
Laffey moved to the fifth-sixth place match where he took on Ian Horkan from Pembroke High School. The two wrestlers had already squared off in the tournament during the opening bout on Friday in championship bracket competition, where Horkan managed to pin Laffey with 56 seconds left in the third period. Laffey actually led, 7-2, in that match before getting stuck, so he was looking for some revenge. Neither wrestler was able to score a point in the first two periods, leading to the third period where Laffey began in the down position. The Franklin Tech grappler took a 2-0 lead when he scored a reversal, but Horkan would get back into the match when he managed to escape for a point. That left both wrestlers standing neutral with Laffey holding a 2-1 lead, but Horkan again managed some late heroics, as he managed to take down Laffey with 30 seconds remaining for two points and then kept Laffey from escaping to take the 3-2 win.
“Kyle was a little disappointed because he felt like he had another opportunity against that kid, plus he wanted to finish fifth rather than sixth,” Gamache said. “In talking with him after that, I think now he realizes the magnitude of his accomplishments. After putting it into perspective, he realizes that he should be as proud of himself as we are.”
Laffey is one of only three wrestlers from the WMass Division III field to qualify for the New England Championships — Hampshire Regional High School’s Brendan Weir (132 pounds) and John Lachowicz (heavyweight) are the others — and is believed to be just the eighth local wrestler ever to qualify for the field.
“It’s definitely an honor for him,” Gamache concluded. “He had a really special season. I know people might say that he didn’t do as well as he would have hoped at Western Mass., but overall, he’s worked hard. It would have been kind of easy for him to pack it all in when he fell short of his goal at Western Mass. But he didn’t do that. He wanted to be the first kid to qualify for New England from our school, and he focused on that and worked hard to achieve it. He showed a lot of heart and determination.”
The New England Championships begin Friday evening at Providence Career Technical High School in Providence, R.I., and will continue throughout the day on Saturday.