Thursday March 28, 2013

Jude Rorke

Seventh grade, Mount Greylock

106 pounds

Rorke, the champion of the 100-pound exhibition class at the Western Mass. meet, was 17-9 this season with seven pins. He'll probably wrestle at 106 again next season, according to Greylock coach Ray Miro.

The coach's take: It was a good step for the right direction in the future. He's got a ways to go [weight-wise], I think. He has a passion that's real good. He's excited about wrestling. He's a very good athlete.

-- Ray Miro, Greylock coach Bradley Lupiani

Sophomore, Mount Everett

113 pounds

Lupiani (39-5) lost just one regular-season match, rolling through his Western Mass. bracket at Monument Mountain and taking second place at the MIAA Division III state meet. He then took third at the All-State meet, becoming the only county wrestler to qualify for the New England meet.

The coach's take: He exceeded [expectations]. I didn't expect him to get third in All-States. I thought maybe he'd be in the top six. He wasn't even ranked in the overall thing, and he beat three of the top 10 guys, [including] the third-ranked guy.

-- Dave Lupiani, Mount Everett coach

Devon Pelletier

Eighth grade, Mount Greylock

120 pounds

Pelletier had one of the strongest seasons an underclassman not yet in high school had in 2012-13. He was 26-10 with 14 pins for the Mounties.


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The coach's take: He's phenomenal. As an eighth grader, he's got a lot of potential. He needs to do some work in the offseason so he can continue to progress. He wrestled really tough against some of the good kids [this season].

-- Miro

Travis Hilchey

Sophomore, Mount Greylock

126 pounds

Miro said Hilchey "got up for big matches," and will be expected to expand his leadership role next season. Hilchey, 44-10 with 22 pins this year, is one of many strong underclassmen on the Greylock roster.

The coach's take: He matured. He did a lot of work in the offseason. He started mentally maturing, which is important. You can have all the physical skills, but if you can't figure out how to bounce back ... if you get knocked off, you have to wrestle back. If you don't, you're not going to be able to progress properly.

-- Miro

Cayman Mead

Freshman, Mount Greylock

132 pounds

Miro said Mead took the necessary steps to improve before the season began, and it paid off. The freshman was 28-11 with 10 wins by pin.

The coach's take: He was a real surprise. I think he'll continue to [step up for us]. Having Cayman step up in that role really, really helped us.

-- Miro

Dylan Sickell

Sophomore, Taconic

138 pounds

Sickell went 19-15 this season, earning a sixth-place finish at the Western Mass. meet in Great Barrington. He was one of three Braves to place in the top six at the sectional meet, with all three of them earning All-Eagle honors.

The coach's take: He kind of came into his own this year. A great mat wrestler. He's going to be a leader on my team for the next couple of years.

-- Matt Chamberlain, Taconic coach

Mitch Graves

Senior, Mount Greylock

145 pounds

One of three seniors for the Mounties, Graves was 44-13 with 16 pins, as well as a number of wins by technical fall. Graves split his meetings with fellow All-Eagle selection Alex Dupont this season, falling in the Western Mass. semifinals but rallying to take third place in wrestlebacks.

The coach's take: He's the epitome of what you want in an athlete. I like the way Mitch handled [a Western Mass. loss to Dupont]. He was able to come back and place at states, get to All-States and win a couple of matches there.

-- Miro

Alex Dupont

Senior, Monument Mountain

145 pounds

Dupont (19-10), in the black Monument singlet, was the Western Mass. runner-up at 145 in his home gym, beating fellow All-Eagle honoree Mitch Graves in the semifinals. Dupont -- who split his meetings with Graves this season -- was one of four Spartans to qualify for the Division III state meet.

The coach's take: Alex is very talented. I'm going to miss him. The team kind of grew up around him. We improved with him. It's been a fun ride with Alex, for sure.

-- Gordie Soule, Monument coach

David O'Brien

Freshman, Mount Greylock

152 pounds

O'Brien saw a lot of minutes on the mat last season, and turned it into a 29-15 freshman campaign with 17 pins.

The coach's take: He took a step in the right direction this year. He's still a freshman in the 152 and 160 area, and that's still not an easy chore. He's got a lot of passion.

-- Miro

Travis Kuni

Senior, Taconic

160 pounds

Kuni (32-13) won an all-Berkshire County Western Mass. championship match over Monument's Mark Leon-Duque, then went as far as the Division III state semifinals before ultimately placing fifth at the meet. Kuni earned his 100th career win with his sectional championship victory.

The coach's take: Once he set his mind on a goal -- and he had a goal to get 100 wins -- you couldn't get him off it. He was going to do what he had to do to get his wins. He came through and won Western Mass. for me, placed in states in a tough class and had a good showing at All-States.

-- Chamberlain

Mark Leon-Duque

Sophomore, Monument Mountain

160 pounds

He's not a vocal leader, but Monument Mountain coach Gordie Soule says Leon-Duque is a natural leader. Leon-Duque finished the season 28-15, placing second in his class at Western Mass. and eighth at the Division III state meet.

The coach's take: Really excited about Mark. There's your young team leader. Works hard, coachable, puts in the extra time. There's your man.

-- Soule

Johnny Colon

Junior, Mount Greylock

170 pounds

In his first full year of wrestling, Colon put it all together at the best possible time this season -- the postseason. The state qualifier, who wrestled in three different weight classes this season, was 25-16 with 18 pins.

The coach's take: He blossomed. He's turning into a great kid. He's done well on the mat. It was amazing, the year he had this year.

-- Miro

Ross Jackson

Senior, Greylock

182 pounds

Jackson concludes his Mountie career after a 42-7 season in which he was Berkshire County's most prolific pinner. He beat 30 of his opponents by pin this season, taking second at Western Mass. and sixth at Division III states.

The coach's take: He's certainly the type of kid you're happy with. There's never an issue with him. He's very gentlemanly. [On the mat] he was a pinning machine. We could count on him a lot. He could have wrestled 170 this year easily. He was so used to wrestling the bigger guys, that's what he wanted to do.

-- Miro

Robert Yvon

Sophomore, Monument

195 pounds

Yvon earned a fifth-place finish and a Division III state qualifying spot at the Western Mass. meet. Surprisingly, he had a sub-.500 record entering the postseason. He's another wrestler Soule says leads by example rather than vocals.

The coach's take: [He's the] same as Mark [Leon-Duque]. These guys, between them, have missed one or two practices. He always wants to improve. Just a great kid, very coachable.

-- Soule

Jonah Christianson

Junior, Monument

220 pounds

The transfer from Averill Park, N.Y., will be no secret to the region next season. He peaked in the postseason, earning third place at the Western Mass. tournament and following that with a second-place finish in the Division III state tournament. Christianson finished the season 31-8.

The coach's take: He came in and followed the system. He fit in with the other kids. He didn't separate himself. He was fun to have on the team. He peaked at the right time. I think he's only going to get better as he gets more confident and more comfortable with us.

-- Soule

Tajaye Davis

Senior, Taconic

285 pounds

Davis was injured last season, and Damion Murray filled in for him and earned an All-Eagle spot for it. Well, Davis recovered quite well this season and earned his spot on the team. He went 30-9, earning a Western Mass. runner-up finish and a fifth-place finish at the Division III state meet. Nobody in Berkshire County had a better throw than Davis, and the PHS student and Braves wrestler used it to his advantage often.

The coach's take: He's been there for me the last four years. He won a lot of matches. Extremely strong, freakishly quick, agile, very good at what he does.

-- Chamberlain