THE MELROSE High wrestling team continue their reign as they took home another Div. 3 State Title on Feb. 18 at Wakefield High. (courtesy photo)
Melrose earns third consecutive Div. 3 State Title
By JENNIFER GENTILE
WAKEFIELD—Talk about a triple threat.
Winning state titles certainly hasn’t gotten old for the Melrose High wrestling team, who clinched their third straight Div. 3 State Championship on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Wakefield High, topping their closest competitor and season rival Tewksbury, 179-151.5.
Now having clinched their 4th overall state title and third since 2020, it’s safe to say this team is enjoying dynasty days here in Melrose.
All season Melrose has relied on their depth of roster and it was that collective effort that helped them earn huge wins: a league title at Brawl in the Hall last earlier this month, a dual state title and now a Div. 3 championship, which will advance them to All States this Friday and Saturday at Reading High. It was a terrific ten lineup of Luke Brodeur, Marco Albanese, Max Rosnov, Mike Thomas, Johnny Moraes, and senior captains Alec McLaughlin, Braden Marceau-Olayinka, Oto Albanese and Steve Fogarty who got the job done.
Senior captain Braden Marceau-Olayinka also became a Div. 3 State Champion in the 285 heavyweight, taking down opponent Billy Sullivan of Excel Academy after topping rivals from Townsend, MA and Ashland, among others.
Senior captain Alec McLaughlin and sophomore Mike Thomas became state silver medalists after two long winning days. Thomas fought to the podium with wins in the 113 and McLaughlin had one of the most impressive wins of the day with his pin over #1 seed Anthony Innello of Duxbury to get into finals.
Coach Larry Tremblay, after securing a dual state title, Div. 3 State title and a league title this season, was named Div. 3 Coach of the Year. This is his third state title at Melrose since 2020. With a Fall 3 spring season in 2021 preventing any state tournament, Melrose fans can consider this a three-peat.
Tremblay spoke of how significant this title is. “Our first state title was something special, and our last one we only won by one point. This is the first time that I’ve had ten wrestlers place at States. I think the most I’ve coached is 8. So, every kid came to wrestler and did it well.”
Everyone likes an upset and senior captain Alec McLaughlin pulled one off an early one to set the tone. “Alec is in the toughest weight class. He pinned their #1 and that was a fantastic start for him,” said the coach, who also credited unique upset bouts like Max Rosnov pinning Tommy Grover of Wakefield early, and Oto Albanese, who clinched his 100th win in the tournament. Overall, 10 wrestlers placed, including Johnny Moraes (4th 126) Luke Brodeur (106, 5th) and Marco Albanese (120, 5th), Nico Chiulli (182 4th) and captains Steven Fogarty (4th, 152) and Oto Albanese (5th 160).
Mike Thomas had a fantastic sophomore season, ending up thisclose to the top of the podium in the 113, an impressive feat and perhaps a precursor for a future state title. “He’s one of our really talented underclass wrestlers and the future is bright,” says the coach.
This weekend is All States, which begins on Friday at Reading High, a conveniently local place for Melrose fans. Melrose will look to medal as much as they can against the states best and perhaps see wrestlers qualify for All New Englands on March 4. One thing is for certain, Melrose has pulled off plenty of surprises this season and met a lot of goals.
Says Tremblay, “Our schedule was so hard that I think it prepared them for this today. It started with us winning the tourney in CT where the team really bonded and it was a huge turning point for us.”
No matter how they fare at All States, this team will have big shoes to fill in 2024. They say so long to Alec McLaughlin, Oto Albanese, Steve Fogarty, Alex Tremblay and Braden Marceau Olayinka.
Says the coach, “Our senior captains who are graduating are going to be a big loss. That’s like 24 points missing a meet with all their work. There are big shoes to fill. But we have some really talented underclassmen who essentially all made the podium at states. That should bode well for us.”
Tickets to this weekend’s All State event at Reading High will be sold only on GoFan.