State wrestling turning into family affair
FOXBOROUGH -- For Mount Everett wrestler Bradley Lupiani, there is no difference between Dave Lupiani, his coach, and Dave Lupiani, his father.
"I feel like he's just Dad all the time," Bradley said. "I know he's my coach, too, but I don't really feel a difference."
There's not much of a difference when it comes to their performances on the mat; that much is certain. Dave Lupiani had plenty of success as an Eagle wrestler, winning Western Massachusetts, reaching a state championship match in 1987 and earning Eagle All-Berkshire MVP honors along the way.
Bradley, currently a 126-pounder for Mount Everett, will wrestle in today's MIAA Division III state semifinals, having already won his second career Western Mass. championship -- as well as last year's All-Eagle MVP award.
That's where they're similar. The differences are subtle, but Bradley thinks he knows a couple of them.
"I think he was stronger than I am," the son said. "I think I have a little bit more technique."
That technique will be tested in today's semis. Don't be surprised if Dad/Coach is a bit more on edge.
Dave admits he's probably more nervous than Bradley when it comes to big matches, like today's bout against Somerset's Nate Pacheco.
"In a situation with better wrestlers, I get more nervous," the coach said.
Dave Lupiani isn't the only dad who had a mat-side view of his son's matches this weekend in Foxborough, though.
Taconic 220-pounder Dave Jones was being coached by both Braves interim coach Jeremy Tetreault and his father, the elder Dave Jones, an assistant on the Taconic staff and the head of the Badgers youth wrestling program in Pittsfield.
The younger Jones wrestled for his father as a Badger for 10 years.
For that reason, he's learned to pick up his father's voice, no matter where he finds himself on a mat.
"When you grow up with him, and especially when he's coaching you, you hear his voice the most," the younger Jones said. "I think it helps a lot. He knows everything I do."
Bradley Lupiani has also had plenty of experience with Dad being his coach -- since seventh grade, in fact. His father has taught him to be a smart wrestler, and he doesn't deal in negativity. He's also clearly passed on a talent for advancing deep into the postseason.
"Just try to go out on the mat like you're going to win every match," is the advice Bradley said his dad gave him about tournaments like the state meet.
Both wrestlers say they have no problem transitioning from coach-player dynamic on the mats to father-son relationship at home.
Jones is fond of his father -- and, given the comparisons he gets to the elder Jones, that's a good thing.
"A lot of people say, ‘You look like your dad; you walk like your dad; you talk like your dad!' " the son said.
Both Lupianis leave their business, so to speak, at the office. Dave doesn't like to bring wrestling home; perhaps that's why he's been able to last so long as the Eagles coach, and build the program he has. He says Bradley is the same way.
As for wife Dianna, who was on hand to support both husband and son at both Western Mass. and states? A wide grin hits Dave's face.
"She brings it home!" he says.