Melrose hopes to claim State title this weekend
Published in the February 17, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High Red Raider wrestling team are Div. 3 North Champions.
Melrose swept the field at the 2017 Div. 3 North Finals on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Danvers High with a commanding performance, earning 235 points and crowning five individual sectional champs. Melrose’s Hunter Adrian (106), Sean Hebert (120), Steve MacIntosh (126), Antonio DiFronzo (195) and Jake Fortier (285) all took home the crowns in their respective weight classes.
It is the first sectional win for Melrose since 1989, (coincidentally, when MHS head coach James Bleiler was a team member) and the last stop before Melrose fights for their first-ever State Championship this weekend. Divisional state tournament play starts Friday and concludes Saturday afternoon at Wakefield High. Melrose fans only have to drive a few short miles to see Melrose High attempt the feat.
On Saturday, Melrose head coach James Bleiler was awarded Div. 3 North Coach of the Year for his efforts. After the meet he credited the Red Raiders’ workman-like effort. “They fought really hard. We had a few kids pin their opponents in the finals. They stayed focused and were concentrating on rooting for their teammates. It was a great effort.”
The sectional champs started with Hunter Adrian, who earned a 5-0 decision over Ian Forgitano of Georgetown/Essex, then Sean Hebert who enjoyed a 9-0 win over Josh Ducharme of Tynsboro. Steve MacIntosh pinned his opponent Alex Vatuscious of Danvers in the first. Antonio DiFronzo earned an 8-2 decision over Devin Young of Pentucket and Jake Fortier pinned his Wakefield opponent, Anthony Deham, for the win.
Melrose had ten wrestlers place overall, with Collin Casey earning 3rd in the 220, Cam Rosie 4th in the 160, Mike Calvert 3rd in the 145, and two impressive silver medal finishes by Isaac Siede in the 170 and Pat Whelan in the 182. This group, along with North champs DiFronzo, MacIntosh, Hebert, Adrian and Fortier, will represent Melrose this weekend in their quest to win a first-ever wrestling title for Melrose. DiFronzo and Adrian enter the meet seeded first in their weight classes. Clearly, they are in it to win it. It’s been a goal all season, according to their coach.
“They are aware that we haven’t won a state title,” says Bleiler. “And yeah, we’d like to be the team that puts it on the banner, but right now they are focused on practicing and competing. They want to be gym working out even on the snow days.”
Sounds like the kind of dedication that leads to victory. Melrose will start competing Friday and conclude Saturday. In terms of the favorites going in, consider Melrose one, along with Foxboro.
“We want to compete as good as we did on Saturday,” says Bleiler. “We want to stay healthy, keep focused and try to get every guy to place so we can get it done. We just want to keep doing what we’ve done all year.”
Div. 3 North Sectional Results
1 Melrose 235
2 Danvers 200
3 Wakefield 147.5
4 Bedford/Minutem 135.5
5 Georgetown-Ipsw 134
6 Triton 123
7 Pentucket 119
8 Wilmington 80
9 Marblehead/Swam 76
10 Saugus-Winthrop 75
11 Tyngsboro 66
12 Essex 53.5
13 Gloucester 46