Six County Wrestlers Earn Western Mass Titles
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Monument Mountain's Logan Mead took a quick road to Saturday's sectional final but needed to play Harry Houdini to win the crown.
Mead's escape in the final seconds of his 220-pound final against Taconic's Shawn O'Shea gave the Spartan senior an 8-7 decision and an Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship.
"It was a sudden burst of energy," Mead said. "I don't know where the heck it came from. I looked at the score, saw it was 7-7.
"I just needed one, and I put my all into it."
Mead reached the title match with a pair of pins that kept him on the mat for just 54 seconds combined in the quarter-finals and finals.
But against a familiar nemesis, Mead had to go the distance.
"I have a large amount of respect for Shawn," Mead said. "Two years previous to this one, he's beaten me every single time, and it feels good to finally match up to him."
Mead's last second win gave Monument Mountain a pair of individual titles at the sectional tourney.
At 145, Sam Cormier earned a major decision against Hampden Charter's Shaunari Buckhannon, winning 14-4 to claim the title.
The Monument Mountain pair were among six Berkshire County wrestlers to win championships on Saturday.
Mount Everett's Nick Lupiani (106) and Zack Lupiani (126) each won to lead the Eagles to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
Taconic got individual wins from Mike LaFreniere (132) and Dylan Burke (195) to finish second to team champion Hampden Charter.
Nick Lupiani earned a pair of quick pins in his quarter-final and semi-final matches and won the title match in a technical fall, 17-2, over Frontier's Payden Sladeski.
Zack Lupiani pinned his way into the 126 final with a first-round stoppage in the semi-finals. In the championship, he beat Hampden Charter's Devin Lewis, 14-9.
The Eagles are sending four wrestlers to next week's state meet in Wayland.
Jeremiah Tomascak reached the finals at 152 pounds, where he was pinned in the second period by Hampden Charter's Thomas Czartoryski. Eduardo Rodriguez won the third-place match at 220 in a pin, taking out South Hadley's Noah Will late in the second period.
Mount Greylock will send two wrestlers to the state meet. At 160 pounds, Jack Rosier lost in the quarter-finals of the main draw but battled his way to the third-place match, where he lost to finish fourth in the tournament. Ty Lepicier also placed fourth; his 4-2 decision over Hampden Charter's Omar Awkal sent Lepicier to the 3-4 match at 120 pounds.
Mead and Cormier will be joined at the state meet by Monument Mountain teammates Ely Cormier and Caden O'Rourke.
O'Rourke beat Hampden Charter's David Czartoryski, 9-3, in the third-place match at 195 pounds. Cormier was the runner-up to Taconic's LaFreniere at 132.
Taconic, which won the section and went on to a state title last winter, will take eight wrestlers to Wayland in search of another state crown.
Besides O'Shea, Eric Packard (285) and Brac Healey (120) reached the finals of their divisions before bowing out.
In addition to LaFreniere and Burke, four other Taconic wrestlers ended their days with a win: David Babineau finished third at 138, Mike Puskey was third at 170, Ryan Scott was third at 145, and Ben West won the fifth-place match at 160.
Babineau earned two pins in the consolation bracket, stopping Gateway's Dominic Zajko in the first period before pinning Pathfinder's Author Prak at the 3:58 mark of their third-place match.
LaFreniere won all three of his matches in pins. In the quarters and semis, he ended his matches in the first period. Monument Mountain's Ely Cormier took LaFreniere into the second period, before bowing at the 2:26 mark.
Burke cruised with a pair of pins in his first two matches, earned a technical fall in the semi-finals and grinded out a 17-5 major decision over Duggan Academy's Derek Roldan in the final.
"This is my third time wrestling the kid, and he's gotten better and better," Burke said. "But I kept my composure, kept wrestling well and didn't get tired."
One of the most decorated wrestlers on a Taconic team that has been one of the top programs in the section for several yaers, Burke said that he has gotten used to having a target on his back.
"During the season, it's really tough having all that pressure on you, but I've gotten used to it, grinded it out and just worked hard," he said. "Since I won states my sophomore year, I've had the target on my back when I was young and I won it. But I have a lot of good mentors, a lot of good coaches, who help me through that and make me feel less pressured."
Now, he is one of the veterans.
At the other end of the experience spectrum is Mount Greylock, which finished off a rebuilding season by earning two spots on the Western Mass state roster.
"We're still young," Mount Greylock coach John Carvalho said. "They've learned a lot this year, and they're going to move forward. Hopefully, they continue to do some off-season workouts and stuff like that.
"We lose one guy, Liam [Feeley], who is a senior. Jack [Rosier] and Ty [Lepicier] are juniors. Everyone is a sophomore and down, so we get everyone else for a couple of more years. They'll get stronger."
Team scores: 1.Hampden Charter, 198 points; 2. Taconic, 186.5; 3. Hampshire 123.5; 4. Mount Everett, 118.5; 5. Duggan, 104.5; 6. Franklin Tech, 103; 7. Southwick-Tolland, 94; 8. Smith Vocational, 93; 9. Monument Mountain, 88; 10. Sabis, 83; 11. Frontier, 78; 12. Gateway, 62; 13. Pathfinder, 60; 14. South Hadley, 57; 15. Mount Greylock, 40.5; 16. Mohawk Trail, 32; 17. Granby, 28.