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NE Wrestling Championship held
PROVIDENCE, RI -- When Connor Sheehan of Fryeburg Academy suffered a broken ankle in November he never took his eyes off from the future and through plenty of hard work and dedication, the dream became a reality, by winning an individual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championship.
The two-day event was held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence, Rhode Island. The competition at New England is extremely intense and mental mistakes can prove costly. So, it's unwise to look ahead at the double-elimination tournament.
Sheehan, who didn't even return to action until late-January, after breaking ankle at the preseason Westlake Tournament in Bath, won 3-1 decision over Troy Gassaway of Mount Anthony, VT. The Raider senior had hurdled a roadblock, with a pin in semi-finals, after having lost SF matches the previous two years. Sheehan has medaled three-straight years at NEs, had placed fourth, the previous two years. Local wrestlers found the going extremely difficult on the big stage.
Thomas Barnett (160) of Dirigo lost 10-4 to Chris Pagliccia of Timberlane, NH in a consolation bout. Cougar teammates Griffyn Smith (106) and Nelson Pepin (182) each were eliminated on Friday night. Smith, a freshman, was pinned by Kidayer Ajubyly of Portland, while Pepin lost 3-2 and 5-2 decisions. It was the initial time for all three to compete in the New England.
Stuart Buzzell (145) of Monmouth had won two matches, but was pinned by Colman Powers of Camden Hills in the fifth round of consolations. Zack Stevens (132) of Lisbon was pinned twice. Mainers had won four semifinal matches to reach the finals, led by the DelGallo brothers of Gardiner. Peter a freshman at 106, won a crown with a hard-fought 3-2 decision against Joseph Rossetti of Glatonbury, CT. Older sibling Dan, junior at 138, was a NE finalist last year, lost a 4-3 decision. Jared Jensen of Brunswick lost 9-1 to Eliott Antler of Xavier, CT. Jensen, three-time state champion, had placed sixth in NE last year.
Maine, which returned to NE competition in 1999, following a 21-year hiatus, earned eight medals this year. The strategy at NE doesn’t allow for feeling out an opponent- so utilizing a defensive style can be counter-productive. The top competition earns a lead and then utilizes leg rides to derail opponents.
Maine medalists included Cody Hughes third at 152, Marshwood; Colin Sevingy fourth at 126 of Wells; Victor Irwin of Brewer fifth at 220 and Tyler Craig fifth 113 of Skowhegan. Craig won a state championship at Mount Blue, in 2012.
Mount Anthony of Vermont won team championship with 109 points, dethroning Timberlane, NH (69.5 points) three-time defending team champion. Gardiner (ninth, 47) and Marshwood (16th, 30) were the highest ranking Maine teams.