Quick return to the mats as state wrestling tournament begins


With just two days of down time between the Western Massachusetts and MIAA state Division III wrestling meets, few Berkshire County qualifiers have plans that include extended rest.

Much like a wrestling match, competitors will have to move quickly and react. The state meet begins at 2 p.m. today at Wakefield Memorial High School, approximately 21 2 hours east of the Berkshires.

With the Western Mass. finals finishing at approximately 8:30 Saturday night, many were back to work Sunday.

"What we usually do after tournaments and duals is look at what we did well, what we did better, build on that and correct our mistakes," Monument Mountain coach Gordie Soule said Saturday. "We don't have time to do that. It's just going to be a quick turnaround. We're going to hit it pretty hard and then we're off to states."

Soule will take Alex Dupont (145 pounds), Mark Leon-Duque (160) and Jonah Christianson (220) to states. The top four finishers in each weight class in Western Mass. qualified.

Mount Greylock takes a large roster to states, coming off a third-place team finish this weekend in sectionals. Many of those qualifiers made it via consolation-bracket matches, which is where Greylock was able to pile up team points and climb the standings Saturday afternoon.

The Mounties' qualifiers are Devon Pelletier (120), Travis Hilchey (126), Cayman Mead (132), CJ Lillie (138), Mitch Graves (145), David O'Brien (152), Johnny Colon (170) and Ross Jackson (182). Coach Ray Miro says all but O'Brien, a freshman, are ready to go today - and he was only unsure on O'Brien because he hadn't yet talked to him Monday.

The Mounties welcomed Taconic heavyweight Tajaye Davis, a fellow state qualifier, to practice Monday. With Davis, Greylock went through cardio work, drills and some live wrestling in a 90-minute workout.

"The day after a tournament, you're tired," Miro said. "It's two days after where you're really sore, and that was a hard thing coming in [Monday]. We had to balance the soreness with getting a little work in."

Taconic's Travis Kuni, the Western Mass. champ at 160, said Saturday that he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible after beating Leon-Duque for the sectional title that night. Kuni will open states against Wayland's Chris Oyola, while Leon-Duque meets Norton's Jack Cuneo.

"I just want to improve a little on cardio and just keep pushing as hard as I can," he said. "I don't plan on stopping any time soon."

Kuni and Mount Everett 113-pounder Bradley Lupiani, himself a Western Mass. champion, worked out with the Monument Mountain squad for approximately two hours on Monday. Lupiani meets Cohasset's Harry Helbock in the first round of states.

Soule said it was a hard practice for the wrestlers, which both Kuni and Lupiani said they wanted.

"You get used to what the pace and tempo is going to be [today]," Soule said Monday. "You steel yourself and prepare yourself for how physical it's going to be."

Davis injury-defaulted in his championship match Saturday night, but confirmed via Facebook on Monday that he was ready to go for today's opening rounds. He will face Wakefield's Ryan MacNeal in the first round.

The MIAA announced on its website that, due to the distance Berkshire County wrestlers must travel, Wednesday wrestling will begin at 12:30 p.m. for those who reach the second day of the meet. The finals are set for 5 p.m.

To reach Matthew Sprague:
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On Twitter: @EagleSportsZone.


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