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Laffey is all alone in championship chase

Franklin County Technical School’s Kyle Laffey is the lone local competitor entering Day 2 with a shot at a Division III State Individual Wrestling championship trophy after Day 1 of the event took place Tuesday at Wakefield Memorial High School.

The 152-pounder was one of eight locals competing in the event. Only two wrestlers have been eliminated from competition, but all but Weed have already lost once and been relegated to the consolation bracket.

Laffey finished second at the WMass Division III Tournament this past weekend and began the day against Bristol County Agricultural High School’s Andrew Ronan, who finished third in the South Division tournament. Laffey pinned Ronon with one second remaining in the first period to advance to the quarterfinals. That set him against Wayland High School’s Ryan Bache, who finished second in the Central Division tournament and had advanced with a major decision in his first match of the day. It took Laffey a little longer to get Bache, but he again earned a pin, this time with 42 seconds left in the second period. He advanced to today’s semifinal matches against Foxboro High School’s Branden Ryan, who finished second in the South Division tournament and has earned a major decision and a decision in his first two matches of the state tournament. A win over Ryan would punch Laffey’s ticket to the finals but he is the only local to have already assured a spot in this weekend’s All-State Tournament at Salem High School. Wrestlers must finish in the top six to get into All-States.

Day 2 of the event begins this morning at 11:30 with the championship-bracket semifinals, then continues through the day with consolation-bracket matches before the championship bouts take place this evening beginning at 5.

Two of Laffey’s teammates also made the trip to the States and both remain alive in the consolation bracket during Day 2. David Weed was the only local winner during the WMass Division III Tournament, and he began the 145-weight class with a first-period pin over Wakefield’s Kevin Glynn. That would be his only championship-bracket victory, however, as he fell, 6-2, in the quarterfinals to Pentucket High School’s Jeff Funk. Weed managed to win his first bout in the consolation bracket by earning a second-period pin over Josh Johnson from Tyngsboro High School. Weed will face Canton High School’s Rob Dicalogero in the consolation quarterfinals.

Franklin Tech’s Josh Lacosse suffered the same fate as Laffey, earning one win at 120 pounds before being relegated to the consolation bracket. Lacosse started the day with a third-period pin of Northbridge High School’s Tyler Velasquez. In the quarterfinals, Lacosse fell to Foxboro High School’s Jake Dorman, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. He rebounded in the consolation bracket with a first-period pin over Mt. Greylock Regional High School’s Devon Pelletier, sending him to today’s consolation quarterfinals against Dean Technical High School’s David Brazeau.

Pioneer Valley Regional School had four wrestlers in the tournament and each lost his first match of the day but moved on to win his first match in the consolations. Adam Leblanc opened at 138 pounds with a 4-0 loss to Pembroke High School’s Ian Horkan but rebounded in his first match in the consolations with a second-period pin over Norton High School’s Brett Pike. Leblanc followed that up by advancing to the consolation quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over South Hadley’s Bobby O’Connell, who was the WMass champ in the weight class. Leblanc will take on Wakefield’s Ben Spicer in his first match today.

Teammate Lukas Rathbun opened at 160 pounds with a 14-0 loss to top-seeded Alec Golner from Tyngsboro High School. Rathbun came back with a first-period pin over Marblehead High School’s Joe Mitlin in the consolation bracket, but was eliminated from the competition when he dropped a 9-4 decision to Norton’s Jack Cuneo.

Pioneer’s final wrestler was Phil Peduzzi and he started out with a first-period loss to Norton High School’s Tim Cassagni. Peduzzi came back to earn a first-period pin over Lynnfield High School’s Chris Connor in the consolations but was eliminated when pinned in the third period by Georgetown High School’s Derek Chamberlain.

Athol High School had two wrestlers in the tournament and both won their first match of the day before falling to the consolation bracket. Tom LaRose opened up at 170 pounds with a second-period pin over Wakefield’s Sebastian Vitillio but lost to Dedham High School’s Stevie Heaslip by second-period pin in the quarterfinals. He moved to the consolation bracket and advanced to today’s quarterfinals with a 15-1 major decision over Pembroke’s Nick Girard. LaRose will take on Gateway Regional High School’s Sam Rexer in the quarters.

Red Raider teammate Christian Currier earned a first-period pin over Hanover High School’s Jake Johnson in his first bout of the day at 220 pounds but lost, 10-2, to Lynnfield’s Tom Arsenault in the quarterfinals. Currier did manage to punch his ticket to the consolation quarterfinals by earning a first-period pin over Hingham High School’s Mason Laliberte. Currier will take on Holliston High School’s Maro Fakhory in the quarters.

One win today by any of the remaining local wrestlers will guarantee each individual no worse than a sixth-place finish and ensure them a spot in the All-State Tournament.

Frontier Regional School’s Ben McGranaghan (106) and Chris Toomey (195) both qualified for the event but did not compete due to injury.

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