While there was unquestionably a hint of disappointment in coach Jim Marron’s voice when it came to the fact that his Londonderry High Lancers’ wrestling squad had a runner-up finish behind the powerhouse crew from Timberlane Regional at the Division I Championships at Concord High last Saturday, Feb. 22, no one had any trouble finding Londonderry highlights from the big event.
The Timberlane troop from Plaistow plowed its way to 200 points and its 15th consecutive state title at the day-long competition, but the Lancers (161 points) and the host Concord Crimson Tide (148) made the Owls work and sweat considerably for the 2014 hardware, and Marron’s mob had 10 talented grapplers qualify for this weekend’s state Meet of Champions (MOC) at Pinkerton Academy.
“I think first place was a possibility, but we had to have a few things go right for us that didn’t,” said Marron. “But I believe that things happen when they’re meant to.”
And at the head of Londonderry’s list of successes were weight class champions Jean-Luc Lemieux – an undefeated junior – and tough-as-nails senior co-captain Will Bean.
After having a bit of an early struggle with Timberlane’s Derek Bohle, 132-pound Lancer star Lemieux – a 2013 transfer from rival Pinkerton Academy – powered his way to an 8-2 title-round victory and his third individual Division I title in three years.
“I’d never wrestled him before. I’d seen him wrestle before, but I bring the same things against everybody, so it didn’t matter what he did,” said the soft-spoken 11th grader of assessing Bohle prior to the finals.
Bean, sporting two scratches on the left side of his neck moments after his 160-pound division’s title contest against Brian Lonergan of Timberlane, battled his way to a 10-7 win in that huge bout and appeared to be floating about a foot off the ground after doing so.
Bean had a 1-2 record against Lonergan in three previous bouts, and the LHS stalwart knew just what to expect from the opponent in the huge fourth meeting with him.
“I knew he’d back up and not tie up with me, because that’s what happened before. But I just had to keep working on him,” said the senior. “It feels great to win the championship. I’ve worked really hard for four years for this.”
Other top-three finishes by LHS grapplers included seconds from senior captains Mitch Rose in the 120-pound class and Jon Young at 152 pounds, and thirds from Richard Bilodeau at 195 and Ryan Cabezas in the 113 division.
Fourth through sixth places and also headed to the MOC were Tyler Byrd (fourth at 106), Jake Barr (fourth at 145), Kyle Byrd (fifth at 170 pounds), and Sebastian Roszczenko (sixth at 182).