Local boys could produce at States

  • Mohawk’s Gabe Bower, top, is ready for state Division III wrestling action this weekend at 195 pounds. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Spencer Telega won that WMass title at 152 pounds. He’ll be looking for bigger and better this weekend at the States. rECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Hnery Ndayisaba, top, is off to the state wrestling championships, where he’ll compete at 138 pounds. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ito McMillan is one of many local wrestlers competing at this weekend’s States. He’s in the 145-pound class. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/15/2018 11:22:53 PM

Two local sectional wrestling champions begin their pursuit of greater glory today when the MIAA Division III State Championship begins at Wakefield Memorial High School with opening-round action. The action begins at 4:15 p.m.

Franklin County Technical School senior Spencer Telega and Athol High School junior Chris Waslaske each won sectional individual titles a week ago, and they have their sights on marching through 16-person fields over two days in Wakefield.

Telega, the western Massachusetts champion at 152 pounds, is the lone local wrestler in the state field at his weight class. The top seed from WMass and No. 2 overall seed this weekend, Telega, who went 0-2 at last year’s state tourney, opens action today with a first-round contest against Colin Curran of Dedham High School, the fourth-seeded wrestler from the Central Mass. Tournament. Anthony Ostrander of Triton Regional High School, the North champion, is the No. 1 overall seed at 152.

“He’s had a great season,” said Franklin Tech head coach Joe Gamache of Telega. “Last year at the state tournament, I think he felt like he could’ve done better than he did. He’s a senior, so the goal is to try and extend his season as long as possible. To my knowledge, we’ve never had a wrestler reach a state final before. He’s going to have to come to wrestle, but if he wrestles to his capability, there’s no reason he can’t make a run at it.”

After dominating the competition en route to winning the CMass title at 182 pounds last week, Waslaske begins his state tournament today with a first-round match against Foxborough High School’s Tom Cullen, the fourth-seeded wrestler from the South.

Waslaske finished fourth at last year’s state tournament at 170 pounds, and he’ll look to earn at least a top-6 showing to guarantee entry into the All-State Tournament for the second straight year. Waslaske is the overall No. 2 seed in the 182-pound field, while Melrose High School’s Isaac Seide, the North champ, is seeded first.

The 182-pound field is loaded with local wrestlers. Besides Waslaske, Mohawk Trail Regional High School’s Gabe Bower is in the field as the No. 2-seeded wrestler from WMass, while Franklin Tech’s Chris Ludwig (No. 3 WMass) and Mahar Regional School’s Peter Tattan (No. 4 CMass) are all in the 182-bracket. All four wrestlers are on the same side of the bracket as well, and if the quartet can manage opening-round victories, Waslaske would wrestle Bower and Tattan would wrestle Ludwig in quarterfinal matchups.

Several sectional runner-up finishers have their sights on qualifying for the All-States with strong showings this weekend. Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle came up just short of a WMass title at 126 pounds, and he’ll open up his state tournament today with a first-round match against Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School’s Ben Dubois, the No. 3 seed from the South. It’s the second straight year Brunelle, a sophomore, will wrestle in the state tourney.

“He wasn’t particularly pleased with his results there last year but this year coming in as a sophomore, he knows more of what to expect,” said Gamache of Brunelle. “We’re hoping he can make a push to the All-State Tournament.”

Athol’s Jon Mahony is the No. 2 seed from CMass after earning a runner-up finish at 106 pounds last week. Mahony begins his state tourney today when he tangles with Bristol County Agricultural High School’s Jacob Soares, the No. 3 seed from the South.

Mahar had two second-place finishers at the CMass meet last week. Henry Ndayisaba was the runner-up at 138 pounds, and he’ll open up his state tournament against a familiar foe today. Ndayisaba will meet Frontier Regional School’s Connor Pettis, the third-seeded wrestler from WMass. The two wrestled each other back on Jan. 10, with Ndayisaba pinning Pettis late in the third round.

Mahar’s Cole Emery is the No. 2 seed from WMass at 195 pounds, and he’ll begin his state tourney with a first-round match against South Shore Vocational Technical High School’s Noah Rodri, the No. 3 seed from the South. Athol’s Dakota Gilman, the fourth-seeded wrestler from CMass, is on the other side of the 195-pound bracket.

Frontier senior Miguel Olvera-Aguilera is the other sectional runner-up from the area looking to make his mark at the state tournament today. Olvera-Aguilera, who needs one more victory to reach 100 for his career, opens the 160-pound tournament today with a match against Scituate High School’s Jack Moskowitz. Dedham’s Brandon Reyes is the overall No. 1 seed in the 160-pound field.

The state tourney is full of local faces. Also scheduled to compete this weekend and looking to march on to the All-State Tournament are Mohawk’s Tristan Keyser-Parker (106 pounds), Frontier’s Tanner Finch (113), Franklin Tech’s Caleb Ellis (113), Frontier’s Bailey Murry (126), Franklin Tech’s Jaden Sadlowski (132), Frontier’s Ito McMillan (145), Franklin Tech’s Tim Fritz (160) and Frontier’s Jackie Phong (285).

Just two wrestlers from the Recorder-area, Waslaske and Athol teammate Merrick Decker, qualified for last year’s All-State meet. Gamache said there’s potential for a good showing from the WMass schools.

“I think it’ll be fairly balanced between all the sections,” he offered. “The top couple of kids in each class from WMass certainly could make some noise. I think (WMass) was particularly top-heavy in a lot of weight classes so the kids that finished in the top two or so, they can compete with any other section in the state.”

Today’s first round matches will begin at 4:15 with the quarterfinal round and consolation matches to follow. Saturday’s action opens with more consolation matches at 9:30 a.m. before semifinalists take to the mats at 11:30 a.m. Championship bouts are scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The top six wrestlers from each weight class earn berths into next weekend’s All-State Tournament, set for Feb. 23-24 at Saint John’s Preparatory School in Danvers.

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