Sunday December 30, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- When it comes to mid-season wrestling tournaments, the late sportswriter Grantland Rice was probably correct: It is not whether you win or lose.

It's how your kids play the game. Or, more accurately, how it helps them improve.

"In the grand scheme of things, well, it's a long, long season," said Mount Greylock wrestling coach Ray Miro. "You want to do well, but it's more about improving your seedlings for [the] Western Mass. [meet].

"We only have six [Berkshire] league matches," he continued. "You need these events."

"It's about improving your path," said Taconic coach Matt Chamberlain. "It's about seeing what your road will be. These meets may not count in the [Berkshire County] league standings, but they matter. No question."

On Saturday, at the annual Monument Mountain Holiday Wrestling Tournament, all four Berkshire entries had at least two finalists. Miro's Greylock squad led with five: Ross Jackson at 182; Dave O'Brien at 152; Mitch Graves at 145; Travis Hilchey at 126 and Jude Rorke at 98.

Monument Mountain had four finalists: Jonah Christianson at 220; Robert Yvon at 195; Alex Dupont at 145 and Liam Lane at 106.

Taconic had a pair of wrestlers: Tayaje Davis at heavyweight and Travis Kuni at 152. Mount Everett had Bradley Lupiani at 113 and Pat Fosby at 98.

This year, a total of 13 schools fielded 14 teams in the event. Monument Mountain fielded an "A" team and a "B" squad, according to Spartan coach Gordie Soule.

It is, said Soule, all part of the plan to improve -- not just this year, but next year as well.

"We fielded two teams to let more kids compete," he said. "I was happy with that, because we had almost 20 kids wrestling today. That's a good number."

Similarly, Monument, like many local high school teams, added a 98-pound weight class that is not seen in Berkshire County for this tournament.

"It's for the younger kids," said Miro. "When I run my tournament at Greylock, we have a 98-pound class, too. Some tournaments score that class, some don't. It's just another way to help the kids get some experience."

The meet attracts teams from both Connecticut and New York state, as well as Western Mass., said Soule. The out-of-state athletes are not opponents that the county wrestlers will be facing in the Western Mass. or, if they get that far, the state meet.

But, said Soule, these performances all count toward the postseason.

"Yeah, you want to win every time," he said. "But right now, we really want to get better."

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @derekgentile.