By HockomockSports.com Staff
Taunton senior Christian Balmain has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Jan. 2 through Jan. 8. Balmain is the 15th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2021-22 school year and the fourth of the winter season.
Balmain became just the second Taunton wrestler to reach the 100-win plateau, after going a perfect 3-0 for the Tigers at this past weekend’s quad meet at Norton High. The 152-pound senior won by forfeit, major decision, and by pin to hit triple digits for career wins. Led by Balmain’s perfect day, Taunton improved to 8-3 on the season.
“Over the course of his senior year, Christian has been a great leader for our team on the mat,” said Taunton coach Adilson Galvao. “He not only comes to our team practices but does extra practices twice a week to keep up his cardio and skill. He has faced the toughest opponents so far this year on the team and is still [undefeated] with him controlling many matches.”
Coming off a loss to league-leading Milford on Wednesday, Taunton went into a difficult quad meet at Norton. The Tigers would earn three impressive wins, beating Norton 50-24, Mansfield 61-15, and Quabbin 72-12. Balmain picked up six points with a forfeit win against Quabbin, added a major (12-4) decision against the Lancers, and then earned a first-round pin against the Hornets, needing just 1:20 to pick up the win. Balmain improved to 15-0 overall this season with six pins and also leads the Tigers in takedowns (32) and points (68). He is 13 wins away from matching the school record of 113.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Wrestling All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Drew DeFillipo, Franklin
Mike Fracassa, Franklin
Johnathan Owen, Franklin
Jake Carlucci, Franklin
Yousef Lofti, King Philip
CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield
Matt Walker, Mansfield
Colton Johnson, Mansfield
Max Farley, Mansfield
Dan Alves, Milford
Nick Yohn, Milford
Christian Balmain, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Cameron Birnbaum, Sharon
Davenport Division All Stars
Max Kornbluth, Foxboro
Jeremy Neal, Foxboro
Trent Rennie, Foxboro
Ryan Addeche, Foxboro
Kyle Hardie, Oliver Ames
Giovany Juste, Oliver Ames
Adam Landstein, Sharon
Kirit Gosetty, Sharon
Cameron Birnbaum, Sharon
Andrew Faris, North Attleboro
Ethan Smith, North Attleboro
Keysun Wise, North Attleboro
Guerard Theodore, Stoughton
In Tuesday afternoon’s D3 South final, it was Norton that more often converted three points into five or six and it carried the Lancers to a 41-30 victory at Foxboro (9-3) that was sealed by an impressive 16-second pin at 220 pounds by Ray Rodriquez.
“Pins are what make the difference,” said Foxboro coach Billy Ivatts. “We had to move guys around again to try and manipulate their lineup a little bit and they kind of did fall into the trap, but they had too many bullets in the gun over there. They’ve got a really solid team from 106 right through to heavyweight.”
He added, “It was a couple wins there in the middle that if we could’ve gotten a couple pins, but even still I don’t think we had the guys tonight. They’re the better team and they deserved the win tonight.”
Foxboro fell behind early on, as the Warriors were pinned in the first round at 106, in a match that had seemed pretty even up until that point, and then had to forfeit at 113. Jake Fraser cut the 12-point deficit in half at 120 pounds, grabbing a pin halfway through the first period.
Ian Marcotte added a major win at 126 in a match that saw him constantly trading escapes for takedowns. Leading 4-2 after one, Marcotte had three takedowns and got a point after Norton was called for stalling. Three times, he allowed Nolan Winfield to get back to neutral before shooting in for two points. That pattern continued in the third, as Marcotte added three more takedowns but failed to pin his opponent and fell two points shy (20-7) of getting five points.
Still, Foxboro was back in it, down just 12-10, but Norton added some distance between the teams over the next three weight classes. Jason Winston earned a 16-1 victory (and five points) at 132, Calvin Lyons got a first-period pin at 138, and Nate Trippolone countered an aggressive move by Matt Simone for a pin eight seconds left in the first.
Ivatts said, “We knew that it was going to be a battle and we were going to have to win at 120, 126, and 132, and we knew the 132 match was going to be a stretch with (Sean) Bubencick. He’s light, he’s only a 126-pounder and we bumped him up but the kid was just too strong for him and he couldn’t get things going.”
Norton’s lead had stretched to 29-10, but Max Kornbluth was able to get five points back with a 20-5 win at 152. It was another match where the Foxboro wrestler was willing to give up neutral position to go for more takedowns. Kornbluth wrapped up the win with a reversal early in the third.
Momentum was short-lived for the home team. Anthony Trippolone followed his twin Nate by grabbing a pin in the final seconds of the first period.
The Warriors continued to fight and keep the meet alive. At 170, Jeremy Neale had takedowns in both the first and second periods to build a 4-0 lead. A reversal cut his lead in half heading to the third, but he was able to get a reversal of his own to seal a 6-2 win and three points.
Ryan Addeche added three more at 182. After a scoreless first, he had a reversal to take a 2-1 lead in the second. He added a takedown in the third, just before the wrestlers were ruled off the mat. Following a reversal that cut the lead to 4-3, Addeche was able to break free for an escape and an important cushion.
Foxboro got a third straight win at 195. Senior Trent Rennie got a first-period takedown for a 2-1 lead, held on to avoid an escape in the second (just about keeping grips on his opponent before the clock ran out), and then got and escape and takedown in the third for a 5-1 win.
It was hard to come back getting just three points at a time, but the match was still alive with two matches remaining. Foxboro needed back-to-back pins to try and win the meet, but instead it was Rodriguez who jumped right into the match at 220, getting a pin in just 16 seconds and allowing his team to forfeit at 285 since the title was already clinched.
“It was huge having this postseason event, especially for the seniors to give them that last chance at winning something,” Ivatts explained. “I feel bad because we’ve got two excellent seniors on the team, who are wrestling, and they missed out on that individual tournament where they could’ve made some noise.
“We had a great team. We left it on the mat. They did a tremendous job of sticking it out and finishing what we started.”
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – When North Attleboro and Oliver Ames (3-8) met two weeks ago in their regular season dual meet, the Rocketeers were able to pull out a nine-point win. With five pins in the first seven matches of Friday night’s Div. 2 South opener at the Pickering Gym, North made sure the playoff matchup had far less drama.
The Rocketeers had six pins as a team and rolled to a 50-18 victory to reach the sectional semifinal of the first spring wrestling team tournament.
“I was really happy with the kids’ effort, especially this being the last week of school,” said North coach Geoff Burgess. “No one wants to be in school, no one wants to be at wrestling practice, and they’re hanging tough. We’ve decided to make a run at the sectional and I think we’ve got a pretty good chance. We’re a pretty solid team top to bottom.”
OA coach John McKeon saw the loss as a good learning experience for his team, which is graduating only one senior (as well as a few athletes who played different sports during the spring season).
He explained, “We’re a little beat up. A long season got to us a little bit and we’re a young team and I think we’re looking at the summer a little bit. The kids are still wrestling tough, we’re still working hard in the room. I think it’s closer than the score says. There are some kids who got a little bit of a lesson today too.”
The dual meet started at 132 pounds and North got off to a perfect start with Kyle Dumke earning a second round pin and a quick 6-0 lead. Andrew Faris started quick at 138, building a 7-2 lead after two periods and the 14-4 win earned another four points for the hosts. North broke the meet open with a forfeit win for Ethan Smith at 145 and a first round pin by Chris Galligan at 152 creating a 22-0 lead.
Giovany Juste got the Tigers on the board when he earned a second round pin at 160, but the Rocketeers answered right back. Joe Shephard wasted little time earning a pin in just 42 seconds at 170 and then Greg Berthiaume picked up an important first round pin at 182.
“Greg got pinned by that kid last time,” Burgess said. “He flipped that, so that was a 12-point swing. We swung a couple of big matches for big points. We improved just enough since the last time we saw them to make the matches we lost either closer or flip the matches.”
The match at 195 was one of the closest of the meet. Onye Nwadiugwu had an escape and a takedown to grab a 3-0 lead on Austin Dean in the second round. In the third, Dean managed to escape for his first point of the match and, with the clock winding down, the North wrestler nearly pulled off a takedown to force overtime, but Nwadiugwu held on to get the win.
Kaiden Leary clinched the dual meet for the Rocketeers with a first round pin that made it 40-9 with six matches remaining. It was the fifth pin of the night for North. Keysun Wise kept the home team rolling along with a major victory and four points at heavyweight.
With the meet decided, North elected not to put up a wrestler at 106. Tanner Ferguson added a sixth North pin in a fiery match against Elyor Ruzmatov at 113. Kyle Hardie got one pin back for the Tigers at 120, although it looked for a second that Tyler Tobias might have spun things around and gotten the edge before Hardie countered and got the fall.
In the final match of the night, OA’s lone senior Stavros Constantinov got three takedowns and jumped out to a 6-2 lead after the first round. The score remained the same until the third round when a grip violation by North’s Braxton Ferro made it 7-2. Constantinov gave a point back for stalling, but he was able to wrap up his OA career with one last win.
“The Hock is tough,” McKeon said. “If we wrestled our non-league schedule, our record would be a lot more impressive. We’re a much better team than 3-8, but wrestling in the Hock, there are no givens.”
Burgess was also pleased with the development of a young roster. He said, “Almost this entire team is back next year. So, I think wherever we are at the end of this year will be a great stepping stone for next season and that’s really how we’re treating it, especially with our young guys.”
North Attleboro (10-1) will host third-seeded Hingham in the D2 South semifinal on Monday at noon. “They’re always very good,” Burgess said about facing the Harbormen in a dual meet for the first time in almost two decades. “We never wrestle each other head-to-head. It will be nice to kind of revive that rivalry. We’re excited.”
Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.
#2 Taunton (5-5) will host the winner of #3 Quincy/North Quincy (7-7)/#6 Mansfield (2-8), date and time TBD.
#6 Mansfield (2-8) will travel to #3 Quincy/North Quincy (7-7) on Saturday, 6/19 at 3:00.
#2 North Attleboro (9-1) will host #7 Oliver Ames (4-7) on Friday, 6/18 at 6:00.
#5 Sharon (6-4) will travel to #4 Duxbury (10-3) on Friday, 6/18 at 6:00.
#2 Milford (9-1) will host #7 Canton (0-10) on Friday, 6/18 at 3:00.
#1 Foxboro (8-2) will host #4 Middleboro (3-5) on Friday, 6/18 at 5:00.
Team: North Attleboro Wrestling
2016 Davenport Division Champions
2016 Division 2 State Champions
The North Attleboro wrestling program has been one of the most successful in the state since its inception in 1987, and the past decade was no exception. And one of the most successful seasons in its history came in 2016 as the Rocketeers won championships at multiple levels and set numerous program records.
The Rocketeers posted a 24-1 record that season, dominating competition against in-state foes with its lone loss against national powerhouse Mt. Anthony out of Vermont. Not only did the group go unbeaten against Hockomock League opponents to claim the Davenport division title, North Attleboro claimed a handful of tournament wins including the Marshfield Holiday Tournament, and tournaments held at Whitman-Hanson and Cumberland (RI). At the Hockomock Championships meet, four Rocketeers won individual titles and North Attleboro won with an impressive 254 points.
“It’s only a target if you believe it is,” said North Attleboro head coach Wayne Griffin after winning the Hockomock Championship meet. Assistant coaches that season were Dan Thibeault, Ray Sturdy, Geoff Burgess, and Andrew McDonald. “We talked about it this morning. I told the kids that there will be a target on our backs but we can’t worry about it. We just have to focus on today, focus on wrestling today, and get through each match one at a time. I think it’s helped the kids keep perspective as each day goes by. We can’t worry about other things, we had to focus on getting through today first.”
After tying the program for wins in a season (24), North Attleboro continued its success in the postseason. At the D2 South Sectional meet, 10 Rocketeers reached the finals (out of 14 total weight classes) and five went to win sectional titles to help the team post 287.5 points, over 80 more than second-place Hingham. In total, the Rocketeers had 14 grapplers finish top five and it was the program’s 16th sectional title. Alex Devitto (126), Nick Gould (145), Jack Donahue (170), Nick Morrison (182), and Brennan Sankey (285) each walked away a sectional champion.
North Attleboro went on to win the Massachusetts Interscholastic Wrestling Coaches Association (MIWCA) D2 Dual Meet tournament as well as the MIAA D2 State Championship, a display of how well rounded the group was. Although the Rocketeers didn’t have an individual champion at the D2 State meet, North Attleboro’s depth was on full display as three Rocketeers reached the finals and eight members of the group finished top six for a total of 141 points; Central Catholic finished second with 111 points.
The program received the GoldLevel Academic Excellence Award for the 15th time that year, recorded the most pins (316) and wins (534) in a single season in program history and Devin Spratt (120) set the career record for most pins with 91. The MIWCA honored Mike Renzi with its Hall of Fame Award and the coaches were honored by The Boston Globe as Coaches of the Year.
|North Quad 2||3-0|
|Oliver Ames||W, 63-12|
|North Quad 3||4-0|
|King Philip||W, 55-3|
|Hock Championships||1st Place|
|Marshfield Tournament||1st Place|
|Whitman-Hanson Tournament||1st Place|
|Cumberland Tournament||1st Place|
|D2 Dual Meet||1st Place|
|D2 South Sectionals||1st Place|
|D2 State Championships||1st Place|
Video via North TV
Video via North TV