Red Raiders’ Div. 3 title is their 2nd since 2017

Published February 28, 2020

MEMBERS OF the Melrose High Div. 3 State Champion wrestling team celebrate another state title on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Wayland High. (Steve Karampalas photo)

By JENNIFER GENTILE

WAYLAND—The Melrose High Red Raider wrestling team are once again state champions after they captured the Div. 3 State title at the MIAA Div. 3 State Finals at Wayland High School on Saturday, Feb. 22. 

It is Melrose’s second state championship following their 2017 title, and the first for Melrose coach Larry Tremblay, who earned nine state titles as coach at Winchester High before arriving in Melrose in 2018. On Saturday, Melrose toppled Wayland, their closest competitor, by a wide margin of 154-113. 

It was a historic day for the Red Raiders, who saw their two senior captains, Hunter Adrian and Sean Herbert earn their fourth straight individual state titles, while sophomore Sean Thomas earned his first state title in the 106. The three state champs will be among the top seeds battling at All-States this weekend at Methuen High. 

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” says coach Tremblay after the win. “We had an edge coming in on day 2 but we needed to get a lot of pins early and we did.” 

STATE CHAMPION Sean Herbert hoists Melrose’s state champion trophy, alongside Eric Pimental (left) and CJ Maher. (Steve Karampalas photo)

The coach was quick to praise his predecessors, former MHS coaches James Bleiler and Tim Morris, who led Melrose to their 2017 state championship. “This is a shared combination effort,” says Tremblay. “We had been left with some incredible talent when we arrived, along with our newer players, so there is much credit to go around.” 

This is the first time in Melrose High wrestling history that there have been two wrestlers on a team that have earned 4 individual state championships from freshman year to senior year. That honor went to Adrian (120 lb) and Sean Herbert (152 lb.). “It’s pretty unheard of to have one four-time state champ on any team, never mind two teammates,” confirms Tremblay. 

Melrose scored 154.5 team points to capture first place after taking a healthy lead into day 2. It wasn’t just the gold earned by their winning trio that got it done, but a top-to-bottom strong showing by those in the finals including Oto Albanese, Victor Rodriguez, Jake Swan, Matt Hickey and Eric Pimentel. 

“This was a total group effort,” says Tremblay. “We had some early pins that were crucial. We brought ten men there, advanced 8—just a great day.” 

COACH LARRY Tremblay celebrates with history-making wrestlers Hunter Adrian (left) and Sean Herbert, who are the first MHS duo to earn 4 state championships together. (Steve Karampalas photo)

Sophomore Sean Thomas was the first wrestler to take gold when he earned his first title in the 106 with a win over Nick Lupiani of Mt. Everett. “Sean had a phenomenal tournament, just unbeatable,” says the coach. “Last year, he didn’t even make it to States and he worked so hard in the offseason, trained and got better. He is a great future ahead of him in the sport.”

Adrian was next and he prevailed over Georgetown’s Trey Aulson in the 120 lb with a technical fall, 18-3. The win has him 207-6 in his high school career and nabbed him Most Outstanding Wrestler honors on Saturday. The multi All-Scholastic, two-time New England champ has won the Div. 3 title twice at 106, and last year as a 113. Adrian is a lock to win All-States and one of the favorites going into New Englands. Adrian will compete for Brown University next season. 

State Champ Sean Herbert prevailed in an 8-4 decision over Daniel Nolan of Cohasset, remaining 36-1 this season and 197-6 going into All States. Says Tremblay, “Sean is a slick competitor. He impresses me every day. When he is on, I’m not sure there is anyone in the area who can beat him.” 

SEAN THOMAS earned his first state title at the Div. 3 Championships in Wayland. (Steve Karampalas photo)

Victor Rodriguez went the distance and earned silver when he advanced to finals and fell to Joao Valdevino of Wakefield. Also placing were Matt Hickey, who was 4th in the 220, Oto Albanese, who was 7th in the 113, Jacob Swan, 6th in the 182 and Eric Pimental, 6th in the 285. Collectively, this group—and sectional place winners Steven Fogarty and Shea Fogarty—carried the day.

This was a group that Tremblay saluted. “Every one of those guys came up huge for us. I suspect they will do good things at All States.”

Melrose will advance as a team to All States on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29 at Methuen High. They are certainly expected to earn some medals. Stay tuned.