The weekend of March 29 was a productive one if you were a wrestler with Londonderry connections.
Undefeated Londonderry High School junior star grappler Jean-Luc Lemieux was one of several current LHS Lancers who went to the 25th annual National High School Coaches Association Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., for the weekend, and the divisional, state, and regional champ placed a solid fourth in his 126-pound weight class by posting a strong 5-2 overall record in seven bouts.
And back home at Londonderry High School on Saturday, March 30, a slew of local grapplers in a wide variety of age groups and weight classes took on some of the best wrestlers around at the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association (MAWA) North Region District Tournament.
The locals fared well there, with two winning weight class titles and more than a dozen claiming top-three finishes in their respective divisions.
Off at the nationals last Saturday, Lemieux capped off his superb 2013-14 campaign by having it confirmed that he stands tall among the best wrestlers in the country.
The Londonderry Lancer – a Derry resident who transferred from Pinkerton Academy before the 2013-14 season for academic reasons – defeated two wrestlers from Ohio, one from California, one from New Jersey, and one from Georgia to compile his five wins and advance through his junior level competition.
But the Granite State standout took rare defeats on the chin from Georgia grappler Chase Piperato – a hard-fought 5-4 decision – and New Mexico star Rico Montoya in finishing fourth overall.
Montoya wound up winning the 126-pound class title, and Piperato finished third.
Lemieux’s fellow LHS wrestlers Mitch Rose and Richard Bilodeau also tested their mettle at the national event and gained some important experience.
Back in the Londonderry High gym at the MAWA event, Londonderry High senior Will Bean and Londonderry Middle School stalwart Henry Lagasse both won weight class titles.
Second place finishes were accomplished by LHS graduate and present assistant wrestling coaches Jon Paul and Cody Byrd, middle schoolers Tyler LeBlanc, Kevin Robischeau, Minot Dilorenzo, Ben Psaledas, and Michael Watts, and high schooler Ryan Cabezas.
Notching third place finishes were elementary school grappler Brady Watts, middle schooler Anthony Santosousso, and LHS Lancers Colin Reardon and Andrew Chase. Their Londonderry High teammate Tyler Bird claimed a fourth place.
All of the Londonderry finishers qualified to compete at the North Regional Tournament in Coal Township, Pa. this weekend by finishing in top-four positions.