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.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Foxboro came into Wednesday night’s dual meet with Oliver Ames in the Nixon Gym knowing that the strength of its team is in the middleweights. Head coach Bill Ivatts won the pre-meet coin flip and chose to start at 152, leaving 145 for last knowing that he would be able to turn to junior captain Brian Kelley.
That turned out to be a title-winning decision, as Kelley pinned Shea O’Connor with 47 second remaining in the third period to earn the Warriors six points and clinch a 30-28 victory over the Tigers.
“He’s wrestled in big situations before whether it’s states or all-states, so he was the guy to put on the mat at that time,” said Ivatts about putting the pressure on Kelley in the final match. “We figured he could handle that situation at the end.”
Kelley, who weighed in at 138 and was wrestling up a weight class, admitted that it is tough to go into a match knowing that just winning is not enough and that bonus points are required, but he tried to put it out of his mind.
“I was just thinking about how I wrestled the kid before and how I beat him before,” he explained. “I’m not really worried about bumping up a weight class but just doing what I needed to do for the team.”
Kelley jumped out to a commanding 7-0 lead at the end of the first period and held a 9-1 lead in the second when O’Connor spun out of a hold and caught Kelley, putting him on his back as time was winding down. The upset seemed possible at that moment, but the buzzer sounded and Kelley went into the third with a 10-3 lead.
He said, “I got caught in the second and I was a little bit worried but went to the third and outlasted him a little bit.” Kelley dominated the third period and, despite O’Connor battling, was able to get the pin and the winning points.
“Shea had him on his back,” said OA coach Kahn Lima. “If we had more time then maybe he wouldn’t have had to rush it and could’ve finished it.”
The opening match of the meet set the tone for a hard fought battle. Ryan Lehane held a 3-2 lead over Max Doorman on second period back points and held that one-point edge until 17 second remaining in the match when Doorman finally escaped to tie it. In overtime, Lehane got the takedown and the 5-3 win.
Foxboro would earn the next 12 points with Dave Dow (160) and Bob Kierce (182) each pulling out one-point wins and Matt Mullaley getting a second period pin against Jake Murphy, who had led 5-2 after the first.
As the meet turned to the heavier weight divisions, a pattern started to emerge. The Warriors, knowing that the Tigers had the advantage in those weight classes, focused on being defensive and avoiding pins or bonus points to keep the score close.
“They’re a very well-coached team,” said Lima, who said that the Tigers had discussed the Foxboro strategy in the build up to the meet. “We said that the weights that they’re not better than us at, they’re going to go out there not to get pinned and that’s what they did.”
Ivatts noted, “They did what they were assigned to do really and they did a good job and stayed off their backs. Oliver Ames is a really good wrestling team and they’re solid the whole way through, so we have to try and not give up those bonus points.”
When the two teams met earlier this season, OA got those points and went on to win by 24. This time around the matches were closer. Luke Cullen pulled out a 5-3 win at 195 pounds, Pat Mills managed a second period pin at 220 that tied the meet at 12-12 and then Sean McKeen won 6-0 at heavyweight to give the Tigers the lea.d
“I made a decision at the heavier weights and…a lot of the kids worked really hard and I put this one on me. I made a poor choice,” said Lima. “They battled really hard and I picked the wrong matchup.”
Sophomore Casey Bellevue won at 106 and Brittany McDonald had an impressive second period pin at 113 that put OA in front 24-12 with five matches remaining. Phil Durray cruised to a 7-1 win at 120 and then last year’s league MVP Matt Kelley took only 1:30 to get a pin and six points at 126.
Tom Gallagher used two takedowns in the second period to pull out a 4-2 win at 132 and just like that the match was tied with only two more matches to go. In the penultimate match, freshman Anthony Berksza earned his 23rd victory of the season, a new OA freshman record, in dominating fashion. His 12-3 gave OA a bonus point and a four-point lead (28-24).
“He’s doing everything and were very proud of Anthony and very proud of what he did tonight,” said Lima. “I thought from 52-82 was going to be very tough and then the heavier weight classes we could get pins but we didn’t get the pins we needed.”
Kelley turned that deficit around with a pin that gave Foxboro its second title in three seasons. He said, “I won the Davenport freshman year and I really wanted to win it again. It will mean a lot to beat Milford again…it will be a tough match but we should be able to get the win.”
Ivatts insisted that the job is not complete with one more dual meet looming this season. He said, “We still have to wrestle Milford but we had this one circled on the calendar. They’re the team to beat; they’re the best that we’ve seen this year in the small Hock.”
Lima and the Tigers will be hoping that the Hawks can pull the upset to give them a chance at sharing the title, but OA also has to take care of its own business against Sharon as well.
“I think we can finish strong; we’ll bounce back,” said Lima. “It was a great atmosphere for the kids [tonight] and it’s the kind of atmosphere that will help take our program to the next level.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.