Dropped by Red Raiders which results in three-way tie for the title
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High wrestling team captured the Middlesex League Freedom division championship. But sharing the title with Melrose and Burlington isn’t exactly what the Warriors wanted.
Wakefield entered last night’s M.L. Freedom division showdown needing a victory to claim the league championship outright. But the Red Raiders won all the closely contested bouts and ruined the Warriors’ hopes of sole possession of the banner as they handed Wakefield a 43-24 defeat last night in a makeup dual meet at the Charbonneau Field House.
Wakefield finished the M.L. Freedom division portion of its schedule with a 3-1 record as did both Melrose and Burlington. The Warriors have an overall record of 12-9.
To earn the title all three teams defeated both Watertown and Wilmington. The Warriors beat Burlington but lost to Melrose. Meanwhile, Burlington lost to Wakefield and beat Melrose. Finally, Melrose beat Wakefield last night for the three-way tie.
“We are tri-champs with Burlington and Melrose,” said Head Coach Ross Ickes. “Melrose won all the close ones. Melrose is a good team and the match went exactly how I thought. We have a piece of the title and it’s better than nothing.”
Wakefield also captured its first M.L. Freedom division title since the 2011-12 season, albeit a piece of the pie this winter.
The meet started off with sophomore Jack Spicer earning a victory by forfeit at the 106 weight for six points for the Warriors.
The 113 bout was a closely contested one between junior Shannon Drager and Mandip Singh. The score was 2-2 after the first period and Drager led 4-2 after the second. She also nearly came up with a pin along the way. But Singh battled in the period and overtook Drager to win a tight 7-6 decision.
At 120, sophomore Jake Allen lost by pin at 30 seconds to Ryan Stanton as Melrose took a 9-6 lead.
Connor Shine, a senior, faced Mike Calvert at 126. Shine was pinned at 3:56 as the Red Raiders opened up a 15-6 advantage.
At 132, junior Evan McGuire was pitted against Cam Rosie. McGuire fell behind by an 8-0 count after two periods and wound up losing his contest by major decision (10-0).
Melrose’s Chris Reale accepted a forfeit at 138 as the visitors extended their lead to 25-6.
Ben Piercy, a sophomore, took on Jack Siebert at 145 and the two had a closely contested match. Piercy fell behind 4-2 after the first and 8-2 after the second period. Piercy rallied a bit in the final period but ran out of time as he dropped a 10-6 decision.
The 152 match was one of the better ones of the night between senior Dan Bertini and Guy Bretis. Both wrestlers worked hard to gain the upper hand trading point for point over the three periods. Ultimately it was Bertini that prevailed by a 7-4 decision to end Melrose’s string of victories and cut the score to 28-9.
Another close match played out at the 160 weight class between junior Evan Gourville and Melrose’s Patrick Whelan. Points were hard to come by between the two evenly matched wrestlers. Whelan led 2-1 after one period and maintained that one point advantage after two frames. Gourville got another point but Whelan earned two more as Gourville was edged by a 4-2 decision.
“Shannon Drager had a tight match, Dan Bertini won a close one and I thought Gourville’s match could’ve gone either way,” said Ickes.
At 170, sophomore Matt Murdocca wrestled for senior captain Ryan Cunningham who was out. Murdocca lost by pin to Antonio DiFronzio at 2:37.
Matt Yirrell, a senior, faced Mike Doucette at the 182 weight class. Yirrell lost by pin 4:38 as Melrose scored its final points of the meet for a 43-9 lead.
Although the Warriors scored the rest of the points, there was no way they were going to overtake the Red Raiders. What Wakefield did was make the final score much more respectable and the final three Warrior grapplers added another achievement in their fine career.
At 195, Dan Wensley, a senior captain, won by pin over Matt Parker at 3:45.
Senior captain Alex Kane imposed his will against Jesse Gauvain at the 220 bout. Kane led 4-0 after the first period and 9-1 after two frames. Kane had a couple of opportunities to win by fall and eventually he did at 4:59.
The final contest was at 285 between Nick Murphy, a senior, and Nick Disley. There was no score after one period and Murphy took a 1-0 lead after two. Murphy stayed in front and kept Disley from earning enough points as he won by a 3-1 decision for the final three Warrior points of the meet.
“We’ll keep plugging away,” said Ickes. “We have the state dual meet tournament on Saturday and we take on Mount Greylock in the first round.”
The state dual meet tournament is tomorrow and begins at 10 a.m. at Wayland High School.