All-Eagle Wrestling MVP Bradley Lupiani is still driven
Few parents get the chance to see their children play as close up as Mount Everett wrestling coach Dave Lupiani. As one of the men in the chairs in the corner of the mat, he's the first voice son Bradley hears.
He's also been the first one to greet Bradley after every one of his 99 high school victories.
"I'm very proud. I told him he's 10 times better than I dreamed of being," Dave Lupiani said. "He's there. He's probably going to break all the records at Mount Everett now, the way he's going."
Thanks in part to this season, the biggest Eagles record -- most career victories -- is within reach. Bradley Lupiani earned the All-Eagle MVP award this season, going 39-5 and winning a Western Mass. championship at 113 pounds.
Lupiani was also a Division III state runner-up and took third place at the MIAA All-State meet. He is 52 victories short of Mount Everett's record of 151.
That's not what drives Bradley, though. After all, he can still improve on his Division III state and All-State finishes.
"I probably could have wrestled better in all my matches," he said. "I wrestled better in All-States than I did in all my tournaments."
If you judged by state rankings before postseason meets, you may not have known about Lupiani. You couldn't help but know who he was by the time he reached the New England Championships, though.
While most coaches will tell you their athletes don't pay attention to such things, Dave Lupiani knows better than that when it comes to Bradley and state rankings.
"He paid attention," the coach said. "He goes on [websites] and watches who's ranked and who's not. All kids want to see their names, I think.
"He'll be ranked now, though. They'll take notice."
So, if you're a Berkshire County wrestler facing arguably the best pound-for-pound grappler the Berkshires have to offer at the high school level, what should be going through your mind as you take the mat?
"A chance to be a hero!" Monument Mountain coach Gordie Soule said.
"You have to know how to get out of the legs, but you go out there, wrestle your match, try not to get pinned and give yourself a chance."
Soule was a state champion as a Monument Mountain wrestler in the 1980s, so he knows the knows the talent Mount Everett has produced over the years (including Dave Lupiani when he wrestled there from 1984-87). He also knows the pitfalls a young successful wrestler faces with early success.
"He knows what he has to do to improve," Soule said. "He lives and breathes wrestling. Possible pitfalls would be getting burnt out and typical teenager stuff. Girls, social life. To be honest, I don't see [burnout] with Bradley."
Lupiani can get back points better than most wrestlers in his class in Western Mass. To work on that and other strengths and weaknesses in practice, though, he doesn't have enough of a challenge from fellow students. Numbers are lower than he'd like.
Enter former Mount Everett state champion Brian Clay, now an assistant for the Eagles.
"I looked up to him because he was a two-time state champ and he was quick," Bradley said.
Dave Lupiani said Bradley also gets a lot of coaching from Eagle assistants Dan Lanoue, John Clouser and Mike Robitaille. Lupiani tries not to say too much, leaving that to his assistants -- all of whom he has also coached.
"They all basically have the same knowledge of what I want, so it works out well," he said.
At least one coach, though, hopes Dave Lupiani is enjoying the ride with his son as both a coach and a father.
"I'm pretty excited for Dave," Mount Greylock coach Ray Miro said. "It's really nice to be able to coach your son. I would tell Dave once in a while, ‘Be happy. ... Enjoy it.' He's got a great kid."
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