Taconic Wrestlers Win Western Mass Title

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The last wrestling meet at the current Taconic High School will go down as one of the best meets in the history of the program.
Zabion Powell, Shawn O’Shea and Tanner Hastings each won an individual title as Taconic won its second team sectional crown in the last three years with a 63-point win over second place Sabis on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been talking about this since the first day of practice,” Powell said. “The first thing coach said was: We can win Western Mass in our own gym.”
Taconic entered the finals with a 40-point lead and six wrestlers alive in the championship bracket. It ended up going 3-3 in the finals and picked up three third-place wins and a fifth-place wins in the consolation bracket to stretch its final margin over Sabis to 228.5 to 165.5.
Monument Mountain placed seventh in the 17-team field with 129 points, keyed by Sam Cormier’s individual title at 132 pounds.
Mount Everett (58.5 points) placed 10th with just five wrestlers entered. The Eagles got a title from Zack Lupiani at 106 and a runner-up finish from Pat Fosby at 120.
Mount Greylock placed 15th with 33 points. Dom Green (145) and Liam Feeley (182) each placed fourth for the Mounties.
In addition to its three titles, Taconic got second-place finishes from Mike Lafreniere (113), Dylan Burke (170) and Teyler Hiestand (220).
Powell pinned all four of the opponents he faced over two days. In the championship round, he stopped Sabis’ Nehemiah Johnson in the fourth minute.
Johnson was a relatively unfamiliar opponent for Powell, who had met the Sabis grappler just once a couple of years ago. But Powell said he had a chance to see Johnson wrestle on Friday during the prelims and quarters and had an idea how to approach the Bulldog.
Midway through the second round, Johnson briefly appeared to get the upper hand.
“He shot in on me and had me up in the air,” Powell said. “I was a little nervous, but I knew I could scramble out of it. I got the take down and got him right to his back, and he ended up fighting out of it.
“But he flattened out, and I got him back over right away. After that, he kind of winced in pain.”
At 182, Taconic’s Tanner Hastings delivered the pain to Mohawk Trail’s Gabe Bower, stopping their match at 2 minutes, 41 seconds. Hastings finished the meet with three pins and a major decision.
O’Shea, who had a pin in the quarter-finals on Friday, went the distance in both his matches on Saturday. In the semis, he edged Hampshire’s Kobe Clifford, 11-6. In the title bout, O’Shea beat South Hadley’s Jacey Rondeau, 6-1.
After placing 11 wrestlers out of 14 weight classes at the sectional, Taconic is in good position for another strong finish at next weekend’s Division 3 state meet in Wakefield. Two years ago, Taconic placed 11th out of 54 schools at the state meet after its last Western Mass title.
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