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Eagles’ Weed earns WM wrestling title

GREAT BARRINGTON — Franklin County Technical School’s David Weed had his back to the mat — and to the wall.

In the finals of the 2013 Western Mass. Division III wrestling tournament at 145 pounds, Weed trailed Monument Mountain Regional High School’s Alex Dupont, 8-5, with a minute left in the third and final period.

Weed, normally a 138-pounder who bumped up one weight class due to a rib injury, was underneath Dupont. As time started winding down, he only had a few choices left to pull out a win. So he did what felt was natural.

“I don’t even realize what I do half the time,” Weed said. “It’s just instinct.”

That instinct? A fluid move that saw him first escape from under Dupont, then he found an opening in his opponent and put him on his back. A few seconds later, the referee pounded the mat. Weed had pinned Dupont for the win, the Western Mass. title, and a ticket to the state championships.

“I was just exhausted. I just knew that I couldn’t lose,” Weed said, “so I looked for every opportunity for him to make a mistake.”

During the match, Weed aggravated the rib injury he suffered last week. But he fought through the pain before finishing off Dupont.

“It’s a testament to his heart and his determination to push through,” said Eagles head coach Joe Gamache.

Coming into the tournament, Weed was ranked as the top seed at 138 pounds. But when the injury occurred, he listened to Gamache’s advice.

“My coach said that it wasn’t worth losing the two pounds, and I could probably be the top seed at 145,” Weed said.

Gamache was right. Weed retained the top seed, and saw it through for the Western Mass. title.

Two other Eagle wrestlers made it to the finals in their respective weight classes and secured berths in the states. But teammates Josh Lacosse (120) and Kyle Laffey (152) fell to their opponents in the title matches.

Lacosse fell to top seed Brendan Weir of Hampshire Regional High School, losing a 6-1 decision. Laffey, the top seed at 152, was edged by Josh Arnold of Pathfinder Vocational High School, 6-5.

Franklin Tech’s Brett Bean also cracked the top six for his 132-pound class, falling to Darrien Calderon of Dean Technical High School in the fifth-place match. As a team, the Eagles finished in sixth place with 112 points.

Athol High School also had a solid run in the tourney. Two Raiders got into title matches, while another took the podium with a fifth-place finish.

Christian Currier (220) wrestled in one of the highlight matches in the finals. But, unfortunately for Currier, it was his opponent who got the better of him.

Currier and Hampshire’s John Lachowicz wrestled in a very tight contest. After the scoreless first period, Currier took a 2-1 lead by the end of the middle frame.

In the third, Lachowicz scored a takedown to go up 3-2 before Currier scored two more points for himself to retake the lead, 4-3.

But as Currier tried to use his weight to hold Lachowicz to the mat as time started to run out, Lachowicz was able to make a move in the final five seconds, escaping from Currier as time expired, and earning him a point that sent the match into overtime.

In the first extra period, Currier almost scored a takedown as time was running out, but the buzzer came moments before he could secure the move. In the second extra period, Currier lost steam and Lachowicz scored five points in the period, giving him a 9-4 edge. In the third OT, Currier scored one point but did not have the energy to bring himself back into it.

“With Christian’s match, he’s had that happen a couple of times this year. He kind of gave everything he had early, and didn’t have enough in the gas tank. But he has a chance to come back from that at states,” Athol coach Phil Saisa said.

Saisa, at the helm of a young Red Raider program, was proud of the way his team wrestled.

“To bring seven kids into the second day is huge,” Saisa said. “To have a couple of them finish the way they did makes me real excited for next year, and the two kids next week.”

Besides Currier, the Raiders’ Tom LaRose (170) also made it into the finals. LaRose ran into Hampshire’s Frankie Weir, the top seed, who posted a 4-1 decision.

Trevor Carey finished fifth at 126 for Athol, which took 12th place with 64 points.

Pioneer Valley Regional School’s only finalist was Phillip Peduzzi (195), who lost by pin to Dean Tech’s Victor Davilla.

Adam LeBlanc finished in third at 138, beating Mount Greylock Regional High School’s C.J. Lillie in the consolation final. The Panthers also had a third wrestler punch a ticket to States, as Lukas Rathbun took fourth at 160, losing to Gateway Regional High School’s Andrew Goskowicz in the consolation final. Pioneer’s team finished in 16th with 54 points.

Frontier Regional School had two wrestlers secure spots in the state meet. Chris Toomey (195) finished third, beating Sabis International Charter School’s Xavier Hines-Coombs via pin in the consolation final, and Ben McGranaghan finished in fourth at 106.

Area qualifiers won’t have much prep time for the states. Due to last week’s snowstorm that postponed the sectional tournaments, wrestlers will participate in the State Division III tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday at Wakefield Memorial High School.

But as Saisa points out, it’s not a terrible thing to have a quick turnaround.

“I have mixed emotions about it,” Saisa said, “It’s a little tricky with kids having to go through matches like this, but at the same time, everyone is doing the same thing.”

The move also allows wrestlers who qualify for New Englands to participate in that tournament in two weeks.

“I like the fact that they kept in mind some of our guys will make it to New Englands,” Saisa said, “and they want to give them a chance to wrestle there.”

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