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Laffey settles for second

It slowed him down but couldn’t stop him.

Kyle Laffey, the 152-pounder Franklin County Technical School dynamo, suffered a shoulder injury on Day 1 of the MIAA Division III State Wrestling Championships at Wakefield Memorial High School but continued on during Day 2 and wound up as the top local finisher with a second-place showing Wednesday.

Laffey was the only local wrestler alive for Day 2 of the championship bracket, but five other local wrestlers competed in the consolation bracket. When all was said and done, three young men had punched their tickets to the MIAA All-State Tournament at Salem High School Friday and Saturday by finishing in the top six. Two more local wrestlers finished as first alternates for a spot in the All-State Tournament by finishing seventh.

Laffey was scheduled to open the day with a semifinal bout against Foxboro High School’s Branden Ryan, but he almost didn’t take to the mats because of the bum shoulder.

“I didn’t even really want to wrestle today,” he said minutes after falling in the championship bout. “But I’m really glad I did. It was fine, and I’m glad I got second instead of sixth.”

Laffey wound up earning an 11-1, major-decision victory over Ryan, sending him to the finals, where he went up against Pembroke High School’s Ryan Chapman. It was there that he said his shoulder woes finally caught up to him.

“He was kind of targeting it,” Laffey explained. “He grabbed my arm early and pulled it back and I really felt it. It definitely affected me.”

Chapman earned the first takedown in the first period for a 2-0 lead, but Laffey got a point back with an escape before the end of the period. Chapman made it 4-1 with the only points scored in the second period by recording a two-point reversal. He added another reversal in the third period to make it 6-1 before Laffey tallied an escape for the final 6-2 score.

Two of Laffey’s teammates also remained alive after Day 1. Josh Lacosse wound up with a fifth-place finish at 120 pounds. He began his day by battling Dean Technical High School’s David Brazeau for the fourth time this season. After Brazeau won both regular-season meetings, Lacosse came back over the weekend to knock him from the WMass Division III field, and Lacosse continued the recent success with a third-period escape to claim a 1-0 victory and move into the consolation semifinals. Lacosse wound up falling to Pentucket High School’s Tom Funk, 3-1, in the semifinals, relegating him to the fifth-sixth match, where he earned a forfeit victory due to Melrose High School’s Shawn Stanton’s injury.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the same fate confronting Stanton also plagued Franklin Tech 145-pounder David Weed, who had a good start to his day only to see it sour. Weed began with a first-period pin over Canton High School’s Rob Dicalogero to move him to the semifinals. There, Weed wound up re-aggravating a chest injury and was pinned in the second period by Norton High School’s JT Taylor. Unable to continue fighting in the tournament, Weed was forced to forfeit the fifth-place match to Pentucket High School’s Jeff Funk and had to settle for sixth place. Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said it was too early to tell if either Weed or Laffey would have to skip the All-States, but that both would do what was in their best interests. The coach also said he was pleased with all his tourney wrestlers.

“They battled,” he said. “They haven’t had a lot of rest. They gave it all they had.”

Athol High School’s Christian Currier had the second-best finish of locals at the meet with a fourth at 220 pounds. Currier opened Day 2 with a second-period pin of Holliston High School’s Maro Fakhory in the consolation quarterfinals, then earned an automatic victory in the semifinals when opponent Marvin Pimentel from Wayland High School couldn’t answer the bell due to injury. That sent Currier to the third-place match against Hampshire Regional High School’s John Lachowicz, who had beaten Currier in the WMass Division III championships just four days earlier. That match went to overtime before Lachowicz picked up the win, but the second meeting did not take extra time as Lachowicz decisioned Currier, 9-5.

Currier’s 170-pound teammate Tom LaRose earned a spot as the first alternate in his weight class after finishing seventh. LaRose suffered a loss in the consolation quarterfinals, falling to Gateway Regional High School’s Sam Rexer, 3-2, to advance to the seventh/eighth-place match, where he earned a resounding, 17-1 technical fall over Mt. Greylock Regional High School’s Johnny Colon.

Pioneer Valley Regional School’s Adam Leblanc also picked up a seventh-place medal. Leblanc put up a strong fight in the consolation quarterfinals to open Day 2, but fell 9-7 to Wakefield High School’s Ben Spicer. That sent him to the seventh/eighth-place, match where he ended the day on a winning note with a 7-5 victory over Dedham High School’s Declan Heaslip.

Due to the possibility of some wintry weather this weekend, the All-State Tournament has been moved back to Friday and Saturday at Salem High School. Weigh-ins will take place Friday morning at 10 with wrestling set to begin at noon. Times for Saturday will be determined on Friday as details on the storm become available.

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