County's best high school wrestlers look toward state D-III meet
There are no seeding questions concerning Mount Everett wrestler Bradley Lupiani heading into this postseason round.
A week after the Eagles' 126-pounder was seeded second in his weight class -- and almost a week after he won the Western Mass. Division III championship in that class -- Lupiani heads into Friday's state meet in Foxborough as the top overall seed in the class.
The Mount Everett junior is one of 17 Berkshire County grapplers who will hit the mats this weekend, having taken one of the top four spots in Saturday's sectional meet in Holyoke.
Lupiani's No. 1 seed comes as no surprise to the Eagles staff.
"We were kind of scouting who would be where," Everett assistant Dan Lanoue said. "The 2 and 3 seeds, we thought ... as long as there was no common opponent Bradley lost to, he would get the 1."
Lupiani -- who has 130 career wins, 32 of them this season -- practiced with Western Mass. team champion Monument Mountain this week, as well as with Mount Everett alumni.
Monument coach Gordie Soule said Lupiani mostly wrestled state qualifiers Nate Cormier (120 pounds) and Stephen Cormier (132).
"Any time you get to work out with Bradley Lupiani, it's a bonus for any wrestler," Soule said.
Nate Cormier agrees.
"He worked with a lot of our wrestlers," the Monument freshman said. "Their coaches, their conditioning, everything helped us improve."
The Spartans head into states on a roll, taking six wrestlers -- tied for the most of any county team with Mount Greylock -- and having secured county and sectional team championships.
Soule believes his wrestlers can ride that momentum into this weekend.
"They're hard workers," he said. "They're coachable. ... All our state qualifiers are talented and they can do well."
Cormier, for one, is thrilled to be on Division III's biggest stage as a freshman along with five of his teammates, including 195-pound sectional champion Robert Yvon.
"It's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life," he said. "I knew [Robert] had a really good chance. ... He has improved so much over the year, and he did what he had to do. He pinned the kid in the finals with a half nelson, which is what Coach has been telling us to do all year long."
Lupiani, Monument's Yvon, and Mount Greylock's Devin Pelletier (138) and Johnny Colon (182) enter the tournament as Western Mass. champs. Yvon and the Greylock pair earned No. 3 seeds in their brackets.
The Spartans take Nate Cormier, Stephen Cormier (132), Mark Leon-Duque (170), Jonah Christianson (182), Yvon and Jacob Hines (285) to states; Greylock has Pelletier, Colon, Jude Rorke (106), Travis Hilchey (132), CJ Lillie (145) and David O'Brien (160).
Taconic's Dave Jones, one of four Braves in the meet, earned the No. 8 seed at 220 pounds. He'll be joined by teammates Nick Bailey (126), Dylan Sickell (152) and Jordan Knowlton (160).
"The only guys who get seeded are the individual champs," Taconic interim coach Jeremy Tetreault said. "They kind of fall into place after those guys. I expected what we got, as far as where guys are placed."
All Taconic qualifiers are new to states this year. What will help, according to Tetreault, is a two-day format, rather than the one-day format of the Western Mass. meet.
The inexperience might not necessarily hurt Taconic's best, either.
"I would think that you could look at it both ways," the coach said. "They could be kind of nervous because they don't know what to expect, but on the other hand, they don't have any weight on their shoulders. They don't have to hold up [seeds]."
To reach Matthew Sprague:
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