Berkshire County wrestlers earned two state runner-up finishes Wednesday in the MIAA Division III meet at Wakefield Memorial High School.
Mount Everett's Bradley Lupiani and Monument Mountain's Jonah Christianson advanced to the championship matches in their respective weight classes, but both fell short. Lupiani, at 113 pounds, lost a 3-2 decision to Holliston's Kevin Tomasetti, while Christianson, at 220, was pinned in 4 minutes by Wakefield's Alex Kane.
Six wrestlers from county schools, though, will advance to the All-States meet. Travis Hilchey was Mount Greylock's highest finisher, taking fourth place at 126. He'll be joined by teammate Ross Jackson (sixth at 182). Taconic sends both Travis Kuni (fifth at 160) and Tajaye Davis (fifth at 285).
All-State qualifiers will have just one day to rest or practice before the tournament begins. The MIAA announced Wednesday that, due to expected snowfall this weekend, the All-State tournament will be moved up a day and held Friday and Saturday at Salem High School. Wrestling begins at noon Friday, with Saturday's start times to be determined.
Lupiani (33-2), a sophomore, won a 10-7 decision over Danvers' Chris Davis in the semifinals at 113 earlier Wednesday.
He said he was disappointed with the runner-up finish, and felt that he didn't wrestle at his best.
"I just tried to do my best on my feet," Lupiani said. "I'm definitely not happy with it. I feel like I could have beaten him."
While his father and coach, Dave Lupiani, agreed, he said he wasn't disappointed with his top wrestler.
"I'm still proud of him," the coach said. "He's only a sophomore. We've got All-States coming up, and we'll keep going from there."
The MIAA gave All-State qualifiers an extra two-pound allowance at weigh-ins Friday, making things a little easier due to the change in schedule.
"We have to rest up, basically," Dave Lupiani said. "We get another two pounds, so that should help him out. We'll maybe run and just get down and relax."
Christianson (31-6) was injury-defaulted through his semifinal match, which was supposed to pit him against Northern Mass. champion Tom Arsenault of Lynnfield/North Reading. Christianson, a junior who transferred to Monument this year from Averill Park, N.Y., was trailing 6-2 in the championship match before he was pinned.
"Jonah wrestled really well," Monument coach Gordie Soule said. "I would say he put it all together. He wrestled intelligently and under control right up until the finals.
"I think he got off his game plan a little bit, and tried to win by throwing headlocks instead of being more conservative and working snap-and-spins and double-leg [takedowns]."
Christianson is the first state finalist for Monument Mountain since the 1999-2000 season. With everyone having one day off between states and the All-State meet, Soule said he directed Christianson to stretch and run today to be ready for Friday's weigh-ins.
"I think that's what most coaches are doing," Soule said.
After losing his first match of the tournament Tuesday, Hilchey won his way through the consolation bracket to reach the third-place match, including an 8-2 decision over Sabis' Jehu Barbee. With that win, Hilchey avenged his Western Mass. semifinal overtime loss to Barbee this past weekend.
Hilchey was then beaten 7-2 by Southern Mass. champion Austin Gutierez of Foxborough. Mount Greylock was the highest team finisher from the Berkshires, taking 20th.
"After the weekend, he was a little disappointed when he didn't get to the finals and he lost to the kid from Sabis," Greylock coach Ray Miro said. "I told him, ‘There's next week and you can have [another] shot. You'll feel much better if you do well.'
"He stayed aggressive. In his last match, he got the takedown, but didn't stay aggressive. When you get to that level, every step you take is going to take quite a bit."
The Mounties could also send another wrestler to the All-State meet. Mitch Graves finished seventh at 145 pounds, but Franklin Tech's David Weed, who finished sixth, injury-defaulted out of the fifth-place match.
Miro expects to know today, after speaking with the Franklin Tech staff, if Graves will go to All-States in Weed's place.
Three other Berkshire County wrestlers were beaten in their championship semifinal matches. At 160 pounds, Western Mass. champion Kuni lost to Central Mass. champ Alec Goiner of Tyngsboro by a 19-2 technical fall. Kuni eventually placed fifth, as did his Braves teammate Davis at 285. Davis lost a 4-2 decision to Southern Mass. champion Kevin Beane of Pembroke in the semifinals.
"It feels good," Davis said. "I really improved over the past four years. I made the goal of going to All-States, and it's really exciting."
Davis said he still needs to improve his stamina, and stay off his back at the All-State meet.
Mount Greylock 182-pounder Jackson was pinned by Hingham's John Kay in 2 minutes, 27 seconds, and injury-defaulted the rest of the day.
"He hurt his [right] arm a little bit and decided to sit out," Miro said. "I was fine with that. He actually hurt it Tuesday night against [Kevin Kelley] from Wayland, and then he wrestled in the semifinals and it hurt again."
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