Veteran Londonderry High wrestling coach Jim Marron had every reason in the world to exit the Pinkerton Academy gymnasium with a smile on his face and his chest pushed out proudly last Saturday, March 1, after watching his Lancers put forth impressive performances at the state Meet of Champions (MOC).
The LHS crew finished a strong second to that wrestling juggernaut from Timberlane Regional High in Plaistow where team scores were concerned – as expected – but Londonderry’s sources of pride were many and included undefeated state champions Jean-Luc Lemieux and Will Bean as well as several other Lancer medalists.
Lemieux, Bean, Tyler Byrd, Ryan Cabezas, Mitch Rose, and Richard Bilodeau all qualified for the New England Championship Meet in Providence, R.I. this coming weekend by all claiming top-three finishes at the MOC. Senior stalwart Jon Young also went top-six at the Granite State event for his Lancers.
“It was the kind of day we expected to have, and I’m extremely happy with our performances,” said Marron, who has let his athletes know that he is leaving his coaching post.
Lemieux pushed his exceptional season record to a glittering 44-0 by defeating Timberlane’s Derek Bohle by the lopsided tally of 11-2 in the 132-pound championship bout. Bohle was the same skilled opponent whom Lemieux bested in the title round at the Division I championships a week earlier in Concord.
“As I went through the season I didn’t think about being undefeated. But over the last few weeks I have thought about it, and I’ve realized, ‘Hey, this is really the dream.’ And now I want to keep it going next week,” said junior Lemieux, a transfer from Pinkerton who has won MOC titles in each of his three high school wrestling campaigns.
Senior co-captain Bean put together another memorable day at the MOC after winning his 160-pound weight class crown at the D-I championships a week earlier. The intense veteran downed Timberlane’s Brian Lonergan in both the D-I finals and the Meet of Champs’ finals, dusting off the Owls’ grappler by a 7-3 tally in their MOC bout. In doing so, Bean pushed his 2013-14 record to a sterling 47-4.
“I’m just ecstatic for Will Bean,” said Marron. “Now he gets to go to New Englands and wrestle with no pressure at all.”
But the senior stalwart made it plain that while he has already achieved more than was expected of him this winter, he is intent on showing what he can do this weekend.
“There’s no pressure on me at the New Englands, but I definitely want to place. I’m not just going for the ride,” he said.
Youngster Byrd began the dramatic final round of grappling at the MOC’s by dropping a decision to top-ranked Tristan Stetson of Keene and placing second.
Cabezas then collected a strong third place in his 113-pound weight class, and Rose dropped a 7-2 decision to Tyler Fitzpatrick in the championship match of the 120-pound class.
Young was victorious in his bout for fifth place in the 152-pound class, and Bilodeau collected a great 4-0 victory over Pinkerton’s Joey Lydick in the 195-pound division’s bout for third place and qualification for the New Englands.
LHS wrestling had a scare in the period prior to the MOC’s when freshman heavyweight Tim Wilson had to be hospitalized twice with MRSA, a staph infection, and he couldn’t compete. But he has recovered.