GREAT BARRINGTON -- Sebastian Zapata has worked four years to help Monument Mountain become a Berkshire County wrestling champion.
It's been a longer wait than that for the Spartan program itself.
"It started last year," Zapata said after Wednesday night's county championship-clinching 51-15 dual win over Taconic. "[That's] when we started getting packed. Now, we have everyone at a weight class ... and we have numbers behind those guys.
"We got guys, and they got good."
The Spartans haven't been this good, in fact, since 1999. That's the last time Monument won the county championship outright.
Fifth-year head coach Gordie Soule said the championship was the culmination of a lot of hard work from a number of people.
"A lot of wrestlers that came before us in the last five years," he said. "[Assistant coach] Dave Colli. [Assistant coach] Simon Jones. There's a lot of people who put a lot into this. It was important to us to do this."
Monument earned the home win Wednesday with wins from Stephen Cormier (132 pounds), Zapata (138), Craig Cooley (152), Mike Molina (160), Mark Leon-Duque (170), Jonah Christianson (182), Robert Yvon (195) and Nick Bryant (285). Zapata, doing his part, pinned Austin Gaudette in 1 minute, 24 seconds. Cooley had the fastest fall, pinning Josh Tassone in 40 seconds.
The Spartans filled every weight class, which Taconic 220-pounder David Jones saw as the key to their win -- and a lot of their wins, for that matter.
"They've got at least four kids for a weight class, and it's really hard for us to compete, because we're always a small team," he said. "It puts a lot of pressure on everybody. Everybody goes in with the mindset of, ‘I need to pin this kid just to win this [dual].' "
Jones handled that pressure well, earning one of Taconic's three victories. He pinned Jacob Hines in 4:36. Nick Bailey pinned Monument's Robert Kahlstrom in 5:09 at 126 pounds, while 145-pounder Dylan Sickell out-pointed Clayton Gaudette 4-2.
Despite the wins, Taconic interim coach Jeremy Tetreault said the Braves wrestled "kind of flat." He thought the team had a good week of practice following Saturday's Mountie Invitational, but hopes the wrestlers can fix mistakes before a tough Saturday quad meet at Sabis.
"The guys who showed up who won, pretty good," Tetreault said. "Some of the guys even won by just a couple of points. I don't know what happened. We didn't look the way we normally look."
With the county championship clinched, the Spartans will look ahead -- both to Saturday's matches at Quabbin, and to the Feb. 14 Western Mass. Division III meet. Soule still wants to see his Spartans pick up more points from the neutral position when they're available.
"I think we can be a little more aggressive on our feet," he said. "I think we can use the setups to our takedowns a little bit more."
Monument Mountain 51, Taconic 15
126: Nick Bailey (T) pinned Robert Kahlstrom, 5:09
132: Stephen Cormier (MM) dec. Mason Papirio, 4-2
138: Sebastian Zapata (MM) pinned Austin Gaudette, 1:24
145: Dylan Sickell (T) dec. Clayton Gaudette, 4-2
152: Craig Cooley (MM) pinned Josh Tassone, 0:40
160: Mike Molina (MM) dec. Jordan Knowlton, 8-3
170: Mark Leon-Duque (MM) pinned Tyler Klose, 3:52
182: Jonah Christianson (MM) inj. def. Austin Houghtaling
195: Robert Yvon (MM) pinned Josh Broskey, 3:53
220: David Jones (T) pinned Jacob Hines, 4:36
285: Nick Bryant (MM) dec. Ivan Gonzales, 2-0