MELROSE SENIOR Captain Steve Fogarty had a key pin and had the fans on their feet at the 2023 Brawl in the Hall. (photo by Raj Das,

Melrose league champs after Wakefield knockout



MELROSE—It was a standing room only crowd that flocked to Melrose Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 31 to witness the fifth annual Brawl in the Hall, the yearly wrestling showdown between rivals Melrose and Wakefield in an event that always determines the Middlesex League.

And this year, it’s Melrose’s again. The 2023 Middlesex League undefeated champions took a 46-24 win over the Warriors that have them unbeaten in the Middlesex League and 15-2 overall. It’s Melrose’s second consecutive win and league title.

After the meet, coach Larry Tremblay credited his hard- working team for the win. “Another great match up. Every year it’s an exciting night. Wakefield is such a great team and Ross and I won a state championship together. It was an unpredictable night with pins coming early from our younger wrestlers. We sent about 5 freshmen out there and I think they sent four. We relied on those points so I’m just so happy for the team’s overall effort.”

Melrose’s depth prevailed, and they built upon early leads that were made by their underclassmen. Freshman Luke Brodeur set the tone with a pin to start the night, and sophomore Mike Thomas scored a Major Decision to make it 10-0. Sophomore Marco Albanese extended the lead to 13-0 with a decision and Wakefield would get on the board to make it 13-6 with wins from Andrew Valley and Tommy Grover.

THE UNDEFEATED Middlesex League Champion Melrose wrestling team took their second straight league title with another victory over Wakefield at Brawl in the Hall. (photo by Raj Das,

Soon, Melrose senior captain Alec McLaughlin got the fans wild with a key pin to put Melrose up 19-6.  Wakefield closed it up to 19-12 but Melrose saw critical pins from their senior captains, Stephen Fogarty and Oto Albanese to put Melrose up 31-12. Nico Chiulli also had a clutch pin and junior Gabe LaVerde earned a 3-2 decision to put Melrose way up, 40-18. That took the air out of Wakefield, who had a hole in the roster in the final bout of the night. Melrose senior captain Braden Marceau didn’t even have to wrestle, taking a forfeit at heavy weight for the final score of 46-25.

It was a true team effort for the red and white, who relied on youth and experience to seal victory. Says Tremblay, “Our seniors came up big for us. Marco had to really dig deep and fought for that pin. We readjusted things for him before the third period and that felt like a turning point for us, and obviously Steve and Alec were big for us. Their experience helped. And, I’m sure the fans would have loved to watch Braden wrestle but happy to take the forfeit points.”

Melrose will compete this Saturday morning in Ashland at the D3 state dual championships, where they look to earn some medal. They also have some final ML dual meets against Reading and Woburn in the next week. As this season moves quickly, all eyes are on a post season.

Says the coach, “We’re going to take this energy and focus on upcoming dual meets with Reading and Woburn and our appearance in Ashland this weekend.”