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Boucher, Austin win NE wrestling titles
Bringing home the hardware here were Joshua Thibodeau (sixth) Caleb Austin (first) and Ethan Boucher (first). They are pictured with Coach Eric Austin. (Photo courtesy of Carrie Thibodeau)
LOWELL, MA -- Ethan Boucher and Caleb Austin have been two peas in a pod, so working together has provided successes on the wrestling mat for more than a decade.
The hard work and strong desires certainly paid dividends as the duo each won individual middle school New England championships. The event was held at Lowell High School in Massachusetts and attracted over 700 wrestlers from throughout the six states.
There was three divisions -intermediate, novice and middle school- with the two younger groups having competed on Saturday. The middle schoolers wrestled on March 10.
Boucher (100 pounds) earned the title with a 6-3 decision against the top wrestler from Silverback, CT. Austin (112) followed by winning a marathon match that was decided after the seventh overtime, also against the No. 1 MA seed, and was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Each wrestler had to qualify in their own state tournament. Boucher and Austin had each won the Maine state meet. The higher placing competitors are then bracketed by the NE officials.
It was sweet redemption for Boucher, who had lost 1-0 in the NE finals last year. He pinned his first opponent and then 6-2 decision.
The semifinal match was a 4-2 decision against MA No.1.
''Ethan and Caleb have been practice partners, since age three,” said coach Eric Austin. ''That's 11 years and over 1,000 matches each along their journey.''
Austin stuck his first opponent, then had to dig deep en route to winning his second straight NE crown. This included a 7-3 semifinal against the same kid he had beat in the finals last year.
''The finals this year proved to be a big test,'' said coach Austin, regarding the MA wrestler who had decisioned Boucher in 2012 finals. ''Caleb executed an early takedown and the match ended 2-2 at the end of regulation. He had to ride the kid out in the final extra session.''
They both dedicated their wins to hard work and words of wisdom (via cell phone) from coach Larry Gill, who was unable to attend tourney due to illness.
Other medalists included Nolan Degoot (third, novice, 138), (Anthony Mazza, Jr. (fifth, intermediate, 88) and Josh Thibodeau (sixth, middle school, 74).
''Nolan Degroot put together the best day of his wrestling career,'' said coach Austin, who had lost a 5-4 decision before winning four straight matches. ''Rumor has it there was a I-pod promise from his parents.''
Also competing were Hunter White (2-2), Colin Woodhead, Bryce Whittemore and Grant Carrier.