Whelan, DiFronzo are league champs

Published in the February 5, 2016 edition

ANTONIO DIFRONZO (left) and Patrick Whelan (right) are Middlesex League Champions in wrestling after taking their weight classes on Saturday at the ML League meet. (Donna Larsson photo)

ANTONIO DIFRONZO (left) and Patrick Whelan (right) are Middlesex League Champions in wrestling after taking their weight classes on Saturday at the ML League meet. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE — Two Melrose High School wrestlers were crowned league champs on Saturday, Jan. 30, at Wakefield High School at the 2016 Middlesex League Wrestling Meet. Juniors Patrick Whelan and Antonio DiFronzo are now the league’s best in their weight class, after taking down a number of tough M.L. opponents.

Whelan took the 182 weight class title after wins over Mike Yirrell of Wakefield and Walter Thilly of Winchester. His teammate Antonio DiFronzo pinned his way through the tourney with to take the 195 title.

“Overall it was a solid day,” said Melrose head coach James Blieler. He noted other teams wrestled with JV players that put Melrose in a disadvantage, “We fought hard and we’re happy for Pat and Antonio.”

Melrose also took two silver medals thanks to freshman Steven MacIntosh, who Bleiler points out actually had a pin. “He had a good match, and he had his opponent on his back several times.” The freshman is now the runner up league champ in the 120 class. Melrose’s Cam Rosie also placed second in the 152 class beating, among others, Wakefield’s Ben Piercy, 17-2.

Wrestlers Mike Calvert and Colin Casey had solid third place in the 145 and 220 weight classes respectively. Says Bleiler, “We’d been really waiting for this from Mike Calvert, and he came back and beat two opponents he fell to earlier in the season. He was our MVP of the day.” One of those wrestlers was Wakefield’s Matt Murdocca, whom Calvert beat in a 9-3 decision.

Melrose competed among eight M.L. teams, placing sixth, with 140.5 points, ahead of Wilmington and Belmont. The overall winner was Winchester followed by Wakefield. “Overall it was a good day,” Blieler says.

The action came just days after Melrose battled to a hard-fought 39-39 tie against Watertown on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the Melrose HIgh School gym. The Red Raiders were down 24-8 (having given up points in early round forfeit) before launching an admirable comeback. Melrose closed the gap at 24-15 when Mike Calvert pinned his opponent at 1:17 in the first. Following that was Cam Rosie who took leads of 2-0, 5-0 before pinning his opponent with 12 seconds left in the morning, putting Melrose within striking distance at 24-21.

Watertown took another lead of 30-21 then 36-31 before Patrick Whelan narrowed it up with a pin with just 19 seconds left in the first to make it a 36-27 meet. Melrose’s Antonio DiFronzo took a win in the 195 weight to make it a very close 36-33 and Colin Casey gave Melrose their first lead when he pinned his opponent with 1:28 left in the first, with the Raiders taking a 39-36 lead.

It was a nerve wracking moment in the final bout when Melrose’s Jack Fortier took to the mat. The heavyweight fell 2-0 after one round, 7-0 after two, and had to do anything to avoid a pin that would lead to a Melrose loss. By keeping to his feet and giving his Watertown rival just a decision, Fortier preserved a Melrose tie in an all important league meet.

Melrose will enjoy a bit of a break before the Div. 3 North finals on Saturday, Feb. 13 (time and date TBD)