By Stephen Dravis
01:15PM / Sunday, February 17, 2013
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional High School wrestling coach Ray Miro was disappointed when his top-seeded senior lost a 5-4 decision in the 182-pound final at Saturday's Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships.
The Mounties' top-seeded senior, Ross Jackson, lost a 5-4 decision Saturday but has another chance at the state tournament.
But Miro has been around the game long enough to have just the right story to console Ross Jackson.
"I had a kid a few years ago who got pinned in the finals of Western Mass," Miro said after the matches at Monument Mountain Regional High School. "It was devestating because he was wrestling well but he got caught. He was devestated. He was over in the corner in tears. He was a senior.
"And I said, 'Look, next weekend you can rectify all of this. You might have a chance to wrestle that guy again.' And he ended up finishing third in the state the next weekend. The kids have another chance to do something."
Eight Mounties — including Jackson — will have the chance to compete at the Division 3 state tournament, moved to midweek this year after the sectional tournaments were rescheduled because of weather from Feb. 8-9 to Feb. 15-16. The state's top wrestlers will converge on Wakefield High School on Tuesday.
"Our goals — for some of these guys — is this and doing well here, but for a lot of them, it's doing well at the state," Miro said.
"If a kid places well at the state — no matter where they place, top six — to me, I look at that as better than a Western Mass championship because you're talking about competing with the top six guys."
Six Berkshire County wrestlers advanced to the finals of this weekend's tournament at Monument Mountain Regional High School.
Three — Mount Greylock's Jude Rorke (100) Mount Everett's Bradley Lupiani (113) and Taconic's Travis Kuni (160) — took home county championships. Although only two of those titles counted toward team standings, since seventh-grader Rorke was competing in an exhibition weight class.
Kuni pinned Monument's Mark Leon-Duque with 27 seconds left to wrap up not only a title but his 100th win for Tacnoic.
Rorke is just starting to accumulate wins in what promises to be a long career for the Mounties. His latest victory was his fourth this year against Mount Everett's Pat Fosbee and came courtesy of a takedown with 35 seconds left that gave Rorke a 5-3 margin.
When it was over, Rorke jumped up, checked the scoreboard and flashed one of the biggest smiles of any winner — exhibition or not.
"I had a feeling I won, but I was just making sure," Rorke said. "I was kind of blanking out for a second, but then I remembered I just won. Yeah, I was happy."
Jude Rorke of Mount Greylock took his fourth win this year.
Rorke said he counts Fosbee as a friend, and the two have gotten to know each other well over five matches this winter.
"He's a tough kid," Rorke said. "He's a great kid. He's got a lot of potential, and it's usually a good match between us."
Miro said the 100-pound class is a tradition at the sectional and a good way to help give younger wrestlers a taste of the competitive experience at Western Mass.
"It doesn't score team points, but it gives those little guys a chance who aren't going to go to the tournament," Miro said.
"It was a great match, and it could have gone either way. I was happy for Jude. It's great because he's young, and this gives him a chance to be in it — not officially. But he's at least in it, and he gets a chance to see what the other kids are doing — the other kids who are in weight classes leading to (official) Western Mass championships."
Even without the points Rorke would have won, Mount Greylock finished third in team competition behind sectional champion Dean Tech and runner-up Hampshire Regional. It was not the Mounties' best day at the sectional, but it was a better day than many expected of what was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Williamstown.
Joining Jackson at the state meet will be teammates Devon Pelletier (120), Travis Hilchey (126), Caymen Mead (132), C.J. Lillie (138), Mitch Graves (145), David O'Brien (152) and Johnny Colon (170).
Other Berkshire County participants at the state meet will include:
Monument Mountain: Alex Dupant (145), Leon-Duque (160), Jonah Christianson (220).
Mount Everett: Lupiani (113).
Taconic: Kuni (160), Tajaye Davis (285).