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ConVal sends five wrestlers to Meet of Champions

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal hosted the Division II wrestling championships on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 19, 2018

Four Cougar teammates will follow back-to-back Division II champion Dan Curran to the Meet of Champions after ConVal turned in a spectacular performance on the mats Saturday.

Curran repeated as champion at the DII meet, hosted by ConVal, winning the 170-lb. weight class in under two minutes combined between his two matches. The human tour de force had a first-round bye and little resistance thereafter.

“It’s never an easy path, because someone can have a great day,” said ConVal head coach Brian Whittemore. “That’s the thing about wrestling - you make a mistake, you get caught.”

Curran dispatched Merrimack’s Adam Presa by pin in just under a minute-and-a-half before facing Hollis-Brookline’s Zack Brickner in the finals. Curran zeroed in on Brickner, wrapped up his legs and had him on the mat in a heartbeat.

“I had watched him in the semifinals and saw a weakness that I figured I could exploit right off the bat, and it worked out like a charm,” Curran said.

Curran hit Brickner with a padlock-tilt combo, locking up his wrist and rolling him onto his neck and shoulders, the Cavalier’s feet splayed helplessly in the air.

“I ended up with a pin that I’d never tried before, it just was there,” Curran said.

In 26 seconds, it was over, for the senior’s school-record 163rd win, a state title and a trip to next week’s Meet of Champions, where Curran may meet slightly more competition. Slightly, though; he’s already beaten the Division I champion, Concord’s Isaac Gladey, in another sub-two-minute match earlier this year.

“I’ve wrestled enough that I really do know most of the top competitors in the state,” Curran said, “but there are definitely big guys who I’ve never wrestled before and I’m excited to see how they end up performing against me.”

120 lbs.

ConVal junior Matt Kimball failed to place at last year’s DII meet, and for the past year, he has been on mission to rectify that.

“When he didn’t place last year at this tournament, something happened, and this year, he’s been kicking ass,” Whittemore said.

Kimball has been accompanying Curran to practices at Doughboy Wrestling Club in Lowell, Massachusetts in an effort to improve.

“I kept my weight down over the summer, I worked harder this year and it showed,” Kimball said. “I pushed myself harder in practice, stopped slacking around - you’ve got to know when it’s time to get serious.”

Kimball wrestled his way to the 120-lb. finals with a semfinal comeback against familiar opponent Cameron Dreyer of Hollis-Brookline, who’d already faced Kimball twice this season. Down 4-2 in the third period, Kimball elected to start in the neutral position.

“I put myself in a good position and I put him right on his back,” Kimball said. “That was a good confidence booster going into the championship round.”

Kimball battled Windham’s Riley Millette in the finals, but the Jaguar came out on top by pinfall in 5:56.

“He’s definitely a tough guy,” Kimball said. “When I lost to him in the beginning of the year, he pinned me in the first period, so going into the match I really had nothing to lose, just go out there, try my best, improve.”

126 lbs.

Kenny Conway beat Ben Stawasz of Bishop Guertin in the opener, but lost to Anson Dewar of Merrimack to slide into the lower bracket. Beating Charlie Carter of Milford ensured him a spot in the MOC’s; he’d finish fourth in DII after losing his final match to Windham’s Malay Agarwal.

152 lbs.

Dan Rupp’s Meet of Championship berth looked just out of his grasped as he wrestled for fifth place against Windham’s Dylan Field, but he made a reversal in the closing moments to swing things and win by pinfall.

195 lbs.

Nick Bernier was in control at the outset of his fifth-place match with Goffstown’s Eli Antoniello when his chronically sore knee was banged and wrenched, sending the junior to the mat in agony and causing Whittemore to call for an injury timeout. Bernier assured his coach and the trainers that he could continue; visibly in pain, Bernier powered through and pinned the Grizzly.

“He was not going to give up,” Whittemore said. “He has a lot of heart. I was very proud of him today. That was the most aggression I’ve seen out of him, ever ... If you don’t truly believe in yourself, you don’t get anywhere. The heart is coming, from all of them, so that is a good thing for the future.”