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.
Below are the official Hockomock League Wrestling All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Matt Kelley, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Brendan Lewis, Canton
Brian Kelley, Foxboro
Matt Kelley, Foxboro
Matt Mullally, Foxboro
Jordan Carlucci, Franklin
John Miller, Franklin
Anthony Fruci, King Philip
Nick Johnson, Milford
Devin Spratt, North Attleboro
Nick Gould, North Attleboro
Colin Fiske, North Attleboro
Jack Donahue, North Attleboro
Nick Morrison, North Attleboro
Brennan Sankey, North Attleboro
Mike Gould, North Attleboro
Leo Thibeault, North Attleboro
Luke Cullen, Oliver Ames
Yosef Ellis-Rech, Sharon
Luke Stillman, Sharon
David Ellis-Rech, Sharon
Tyler Jensen, Sharon
Jason Powell, Sharon
Devlin Carroll, Stoughton
Mark Whalen, Canton
Phil Dure, Foxboro
Mike Racca, Franklin
Nick DeGloria King Philip
George Glaropoulos, Mansfield
Ryan Gray, Milford
Alex Devitto, North Attleboro
Patrick Mills, Oliver Ames
Wilhelm Bolt, Sharon
Matt Medina, Stoughton
Justin Bradley, Taunton
Click here for over 100 photos from the tournament.
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – For the second straight year, North Attleboro picked up a dominating win at the Hockomock League Championships, topping the tournament with an impressive 254 points.
Oliver Ames finished second with 183, Franklin was third with 171, Sharon had 161 to finish fourth and Foxboro rounded out the top five with 155 points.
Well before the finals even began, Big Red had a big lead but continued to add to it. The Rocketeers had a wrestler in half of the finals and finished with six champions on the day.
“It was a great senior moment for a lot of the kids, especially the boys that finished first,” North Attleboro head coach Wayne Griffin said. “It’s a great opportunity for the rest of our team as a learning tool too. That’s what today was really about for us, we still have some issues that we have to keep working on and keeping working on and keep working on. We’ve still got another month of wrestling or so, it’s one day at a time.”
It took less than two minutes in the 120 bout for North Attleboro to crown its first champion. Devin Spratt, who is climbing the all-time wins ladder for the Rocketeers, pinned Phil Dure at 1:45 of the first round to earn his second straight Hock title.
Starting at 145, the Rocketeers picked four wins in five bouts. Nick Gould came away with ta last second win to get the title. He trailed 8-3 after two periods but a takedown from Stoughton’s Devlin Carroll pushed the lead to 8-2. In the final 30 seconds, Gould had an escape, near fall and a takedown to complete the comeback. Colin Fiske followed that up at 152 with a 4-0 decision – a takedown in the first and a reversal late in the second – avenging an earlier season loss to King Philip’s Anthony Fruci.
“Colin Fiske had a big one,” Griffin said. “He had lost to Fruci earlier in the season so we’re very excited for him. That was probably the biggest standout of the day for us. I’m really happy for Colin. We worked on changing his style a little bit coming into today. We keep trying to fine tune things and all try to can do a better job. I don’t want to to be the coach who didn’t try his darndest to help our kids be successful.”
The Rocketeers didn’t have anyone in 160 but in the 170 match, Big Red got another win. Jack Donahue built a 7-2 lead after one and then after a reversal in the second period, the senior was able to get the pin. Senior Nick Morrison then got a 6-4 win at 182 – his second straight league title in the weight class. A takedown in the first and a pair of escapes in the third helped Morrison edge Milford’s Ryan Gray.
Brennan Sankey then capped North’s day with a first round pin in the heavyweight division. Click here for over 100 photos from the tournament.
“Success is a nice thing, but it’s a lot of work,” Griffin said. “We have of great moms and dads and we’ve got some really good administrators that support our efforts. As much as I like the winning piece, it’s all about taking things one day at a time.”
Other placements for North included a third place finish for Jordan Tillinghast at 160, fourth place finishes from Brady Folan (106), Brandon Graveline (132) and Leo Thibeault (220). Coming in fifth place for Big Red were Jake Direnzo (113) and Alex Devitto (126).
The Rocketeers, who are 19-1 on the season and now have three tournament wins, knew that teams would be coming to try and score the upset.
“It’s only a target if you believe it is,” Griffin said. “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.”
Oliver Ames finished second and recorded the most points in program history at the Hockomock League Championships with 183. The total was nearly 40 more points than their previous high, which was recorded back in 2013 at Franklin.
“This was beyond expectations for us,” OA head coach Kahn Lima said. “Especially in a tournament, I did not see this coming. Our goal was to get somewhere in the top four or five. This was the highest total points we’ve scored at this tournament. The depth of the lineup really showed through today because we had 11 of our 14 kids place. The kids wrestled tough and bounced back from that tough dual loss against Foxboro and instead of quitting, they wrestled awesome today.”
Depth was key for the Tigers as they didn’t have a single champion but had two runner ups and nine other placements.
Luke Cullen made it to the 220 final but was edged out 3-2 but Franklin’s John Miller. Pat Mills had a pair of wins in the heavyweight class but was pinned by Sankey in the finals.
Casey Bellevue helped the Tigers cause with a third place finish at 106 and Jacob Murphy finished in the same spot at 170. Freshman Anthony Berksza continued to shine in his rookie year with a fourth place finish at 183 and Shea O’Connor (145), Ryan Lehane (152) and Carter Wood (195) all finished fourth as well. John Quilla (120) and Brendan Mills (182) both finished fifth.
“I think the guys were really angry that it happened,” Lima said of OA’s two point loss to Foxboro last week. “We had split with seven matches each and we lost by bonus points, but that’s wrestling. Instead of pouting about it, they grinded it out today. We had a great practice Thursday and a great practice yesterday and the spirits were real high. Now they’re celebrating, it’s awesome to see. The kids did all the work so they deserve it.”
Sharon had the most efficient success in the finals as the Eagles sent a trio of wrestlers in and got three wins. Yosef Ellis-Rech had a pair of takedowns in the second period, sandwiched by a first period takedown and a third period reversal to earn the title at 113. It was a bit of revenge for Ells-Rech, who lost in the finals at 106 last season. Luke Stillman picked up a 4-0 decision over Milford’s Brett Kimball at 132, getting a takedown in the first and a near fall in the third for the win.
David Ellis-Rech completed the strong showing for the Eagles with a 3-2 win over North’s Mike Gould. After a scoreless first, Ellis-Rech had a pair of escapes in the second but a takedown by Gould had things tied 2-2 going into the final period. At 1:19, Ellis-Rech had an escape to get the winning point. Ellis-Rech was selected as the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the meet.
Franklin finished third overall, sent four wrestlers to the finals and had two overall champions. Jordan Carlucci started things off with a second period pin at 106 for the Panthers and John Miller had a 3-2 win at 220. Mike Racca finished second at 113 and Nick Narducci was runner up at 126. The Panthers were helped along by their depth as well with TJ Remillard (120) and Evan Hernandez (195) getting third place finishes and Ed Cropper (160) finishing fourth at 160. Click here for over 100 photos from the tournament.
Foxboro’s Matt Kelley reached the finals for the third straight year and won for the second straight year. After winning 8-0 at 120 last year, he won 8-0 at 126 this year. The Warriors also got a win at 160 via Matt Mullally and a 10-1 decision. Phil Dure (120) and Sean Smalley (195) had second place finishes.
Milford’s Nick Johnson was the lone winner for the Scarlet Hawks, racing out to a 6-0 lead through two periods and holding on for a 8-1 win at 195. Nick Marcolini (106), Brett Kimball (132), Ryan Nesta (170) and Ryan Gray (182) each finished second for Milford.
1. North Attleboro – 254
2. Oliver Ames – 183
3. Franklin – 171
4. Sharon – 161
5. Foxboro – 155
6. Milford – 153.5
7. Canton – 91.5
8. King Philip – 90
9. Stoughton – 83
10. Taunton – 64.5
11. Mansfield – 62
Nick Marcolini (Milford) vs. Jordan Carlucci (Franklin)
Yosef Ellis-Rech (Sharon) vs. Mike Racca (Franklin)
Devin Spratt (North Attleboro) vs. Phil Dure (Foxboro)
Matt Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Nick Narducci (Franklin)
Luke Stillman (Sharon) vs. Brett Kimball (Milford)
David Ellis-Rech (Sharon) vs. Mike Gould (North Attleboro)
Devlin Carroll (Stoughton) vs. Nick Gould (North Attleboro)
Anthony Fruci (King Philip) vs. Colin Fiske (North Attleboro)
Matt Medina (Stoughton) vs. Matt Mullally (Foxboro)
Jack Donahue (North Attleboro) vs. Ryan Nesta (Milford)
Nick Morrison (North Attleboro) vs. Ryan Gray (Milford)
Nick Johnson (Milford) vs. Sean Smalley (Foxboro)
John Miller (Franklin) vs. Luke Cullen (Oliver Ames)
Brennan Sankey (North Attleboro) vs. Pat Mills (Oliver Ames)
Click here for over 100 photos from the tournament.
Today’s games are listed below. Hockey
Mansfield, 2 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final
Canton, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final– Canton senior Jim Jenkins scored late in the second period to give the Bulldogs the lead and then added an empty net goal. OA junior goalie Zach Walsh made 30 saves.
Foxboro, 2 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final– Mark Sheehan scored the game winning in the beginning of the third period for Stoughton. Adam Potter and Carter Gerome scored first period goals for Stoughton while Foxboro battled back to level the score with a second period goal from Aidan Sullivan and an early third period goal from John Brolin.
Taunton @ Franklin – Postponed to TBA
North Attleboro, 3 @ King Philip, 3 – Final– North Attleboro senior Andrew Casson scored off a rebound with 0.4 seconds left to tie the game for the Rocketeers. Hunter Sarro and Drew Wissler also scored for Big Red. Wrestling
Lynnfield/North Reading Quad (Canton) – The Bulldogs lost the first meet of the day by just a point in a 34-33 loss to the hosts but bounced back for a 42-9 win over Malden and a 45-32 win over St. John’s Shrewsbury.
Foxboro Quad (Foxboro, Mansfield), 10:00AM
Franklin @ Beverly – The Panthers beat host Beverly (49-18) and Salem (36-12) to pick up two wins but lost to Central Catholic (52-19).
North Attleboro @ Springfield Central Wrestling Festival – The Rocketeers picked up three wins but suffered their first setback of the season. Big Red beat Agawam 70-9, West Springfield 58-18, and Keene (NH) 81-0 but Vermont powerhouse and three-time defending New England champs Mt. Anthony Union picked up a 46-18 win over North. “Competing against New England caliber teams help us to identify our flaws and improve as a squad,” North coach Wayne Griffin said. “Teams with the caliber and history of Mt Anthony can only help us improve and prepare for the remainder of the season.” Collin Fiske (152), Nick Gould (145), Jack Donahue (170) and Brennan Sankey (275) all went undefeated on the day for the Rocketeers.
Sharon Quad (King Philip, Sharon) – Sharon went undefeated to defend their home gym with wins over Whitman-Hanson (42-32), North Quincy (42-15) and King Philip (42-29).
Milford @ Hopkinton Quad – Milford picked up a pair of wins at the Hopkinton quad. Brett Kimball, Ryan Gray and Nic Johnson all went 3-0 on the day.
Cape Cod Invitational (Taunton), 10:00AM Gymnastics
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield, 4:00 Girls Hockey
Franklin vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake – Postponed to TBA
King Philip, 0 @ Medway/Ashland, 4 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames @ Medfield – Postponed to TBA
Stoughton, 0 @ Norwell, 6 – Final
Today’s games are listed below. Hockey
Attleboro, 3 @ Taunton, 9 – Final – Tyler Pietrzyk scored four goals and had two assists to power the Tigers to the win. Eighth grader Koby Souza also chipped in with a goal in the third period for Taunton. P.J. Elliott and Jake Parker each scored for the Bombardiers.
Stoughton, 5 @ Milford, 1 – Final– Stoughton freshman Sean Doherty scored two goals for the Black Knights and senior Mark Sheehan had three assists.
Oliver Ames, 1 vs. Medway, 5 – Final Wrestling
Canton Quad (Canton, Mansfield) – Canton picked up three wins, beating Mansfield (48-26), Malden Catholic (45-19) and Milton (42-36).
Weston Quad (Foxboro), 10:00AM
Franklin @ Algonquin – The Panthers went 2-0 on the day, beating Algonquin (45-27) and beating Framingham (37-31).
Holliston Quad (Milford) – The Scarlet Hawks went 3-1 with Nick Marcolini, Ryan Gray, Nic Johnson and Stan Demko all going undefeated on the day.
Cumberland Tournament (North Attleboro) – The Rocketeers finished first with 192 points in a 16-team field. North Attleboro took down top teams from both Rhode Island and Connecticut to claim the title, the first time they did so since 2008. Other teams in the field included Fairfield Warde (ranked #3 in CT), Bristol Eastern (ranked #8 in CT) and host Cumberland (ranked #2 in RI). For the second straight year, Brennan Sankey won the heavyweight weight class, going 4-0 with four pins. Devin Spratt (120, 3-0 with two pins) and Collin Fiske (152, 4-0 with two pins) also won their weight classes.
Norton Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames picked up wins over Peabody (72-7) and Sabis (57-17) but fell to host Norton (51-12). John Quilla (120) and Anthony Berksza both went 3-0 on the day.
Sharon Wrestling – The Eagles went 4-0 with wins over Marlboro (48-36), St. John’s (45-21), Smith Voc (45-6) and Masco (42-22).
Nick Peachy Meet (Stoughton), 9:00AM
Brockton Quad (Taunton) – The Tigers got a win over Middleboro but suffered setbacks to Metheun, Marshfield and Brockton. Justin Bradley (132), Alex Rodriguez (138), Nuno Camara (182) and Santiago Lopez (220) all had three wins for Taunton. Gymnastics
King Philip, 133.5 @ Attleboro, 137.5 – Final
Sharon, 140.9 @ Mansfield, 140.5 – Final Girls Hockey
Canton, 0 vs. Barnstable, 3 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 3 @ Franklin, 3 – Final
King Philip, 3 @ Westwood, 4 – Final