There were distinct ups and downs for the Londonderry High wrestling squad at the state Meet of Champions (MOC) at Pinkerton Academy last Saturday, Feb. 23. But when the entire set of results is assessed, LHS coach Jim Marron and his determined Lancer charges had things with which to be pleased after a long, competitive day within the warm but congested confines of the Hackler Gymnasium.
For the second week in a row, the LHS crew failed to have an athlete advance as far as the title round of his weight class’s competition. However, coach Marron’s young men did have five of their number medal by finishing in top-six positions. And the Londonderry crew also took pride in the fact that it finished seventh as a squad out of 33 scoring contingents.
Timberlane won the MOC crown for the 10th straight year by tallying a score of 241.50, and the host Pinkerton Astros were second with a 119. Leading the Lancer grapplers was third-place finisher Amir Daouk in the 106-pound class, fourth place finisher Mitch Rose at 113 pounds, Jon Young in fifth place at 152, John DiSessa in fifth at 182, and Will Bean in the sixth spot at 145 pounds.
The top three finishers in each weight class earned an invitation to the 49th annual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships, which will be held this coming weekend at the Providence Career and Technical Center in Rhode Island. Other competitors for the LHS crew included Ryan Cabezas in the 120 pound class, Jake Barr at 126 pounds, Kyle Byrd at 138 pounds, and Richard Bilodeau in the 170 pound division.
Londonderry would have had another top- three finisher in sophomore stalwart Byrd in the 138 pound class. But Byrd and his teammates were reminded of the importance of maintaining their “controlled fury” in a match when Byrd was disqualified for pushing Goffstown opponent Peter Shea through the dividing ropes outside the ring during a semifinal bout. That push cost the team 10 points and a place in the standings.
Despite that frustrating incident, coach Marron had no trouble coming out with a smile while talking about the performances of several of his top finishers. Of freshman Daouk the coach said, “Amir is a pretty spunky kid. He’s managed his way to a pretty good start to his high school career, and his future is bright in this sport.”
And speaking of hard working veteran Rose, the coach said, “You have to give it to his opponents for being ready to wrestle today, because Mitch is one of the best out there.” Daouk will now get the chance to take on some of the best grapplers the region has to offer in Rhode Island this weekend.