Smullen repeats as DII champion
The ConVal wrestler dominates the 160-pound class for second straight year
ConVal’s Adam Smullen was named outstanding wrestler of the Division II state wrestling tournament after repeating as state champion on Saturday at Hollis-Brookline high school.
Smullen, 18, reigned supreme in the 160 pound class, leading ConVal to a 7th place finish.
“There wasn’t much pressure,” recalled Smullen in an interview on Sunday. “I just wanted to take it one match at a time. I didn’t want to over think things or get too full of myself, I kept a good head on my shoulders, and wrestled smart.”
Smullen had to win three matches on his way to the championship on Saturday, and he showed off his versatility in doing so; he won his first match by way of pin, second by techfall, and third by pin.
It’s the latest culmination of a lifelong pursuit for Smullen, who began wrestling when he was five years old.
“Kindergarten was when I first stepped on a mat,” Smullen said. Growing up, Smullen was a member of the youth wrestling program that used to be offered at ConVal high school.
“I was one of the last one’s to go through the youth wrestling program,” Smullen said. “It’s weird to think I started [at ConVal], and am finishing still at ConVal 13 years later.”
ConVal wrestling coach Brian Whittemore has been in Smullen’s corner since he began wrestling.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be a state champion,” said Smullen.
Whittemore said he has always enjoyed coaching Smullen, and was quick to praise his work ethic and commitment. “It’s always been fun coaching [Adam] wrestling, because he usually picks up on things very fast,” Whittemore said. “He has always had a natural, genetic strength that a lot of kids don’t have. He’s a good, hard-working kid.”
Smullen’s high school career is not over yet; he has qualified for the Meet of Champions on Saturday at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
“I want to make top three and move on to New Englands,” he said.
Last year at the Meet of Champions, Smullen was slowed by a hard hit to his groin and ended up battling back for a tough fourth-place finish, one away from qualifying for New Englands.
Next year, Smullen hopes to attend Plymouth State University and wrestle for their team, but moving on from the ConVal wrestling community that he grew up with will not be easy. “I’ll be back to pick on [coach] Whit, I know he’s gonna miss me,” joked Smullen.
The feelings are mutual. “Our numbers are down right now, [losing Adam] is going to create a large hole,” said Whittemore. “We are in the process of forming a wrestling club to get our youth wrestling going again so that we have a better feeder system in place.” Whittemore hopes that this will give future athletes a chance to start to work on their craft from a younger age.
Smullen doesn’t know where he would be without wrestling. “People don’t realize what dedication the sport takes,” Smullen said. “Wrestling has done so much for me. It’s molded me into who I am today, teaching me not to take anything for granted and to work hard for everything.”
Four other ConVal wrestlers also took home top five finishes in their respective weight classes at the state meet. Jordan Loll (220 pounds) placed second, Eric Wall (106 pounds) placed third, Johnny Voorhees (285 pounds) placed fourth, and Jake Rupp (145 pounds) finished fifth.