Friday, February 22, 2013
By JOE MARCHILENA
Robert Bernard was freaking out.
All the work the Bedford High School senior has put in on the wrestling mats flashed before his eyes in a few quick seconds at Saturday’s Division II championship meet at Hollis Brookline.
Bernard was battling it out with Milford’s Scott Danewitz in the championship match at 170 pounds, when all of a sudden, it was almost over.
“He locked up a cradle and tried to get me on my back, but he didn’t get me fully on my back,” Bernard said. “I was doing everything I could not to get pinned. I really wanted to take that match, so I wasn’t going to let him do that.”
Bernard didn’t and ended up pinning Danewitz at the 4:55 mark of the match, one of two individual titles the Bulldogs took home. Colin Perras also won the 120 title, pinning Goffstown’s Mitchell Cusson to pull of the upset, as Bedford finished second overall with 1721/2 points, the Bulldogs’ best finish in program history.
Hollis Brookline won its second straight title with 223 points and the Cavs brought home six individual titles, including three at the hands of the Bulldogs. Milford was third with 169 points while Goffstown (150) came in fourth and Merrimack (123) was fifth.
“That says a lot about our program,” Bedford coach Bob Benincasa said of the second-place finish, “where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Hollis Brookline wrestled fantastic. All the credit goes to them and their team because they really came ready to wrestle.”
Benincasa was proud to see Bernard reach his goal, but frustrated that it took him so long to win the match.
“He started to wrestle in the last few seconds and then he was able to pin the kid,” Benincasa said. “He’s been working all year and it’s been a goal of his. I’m proud of him.”
Perras was able to pin Cusson at the 2:40 mark of his match, giving the Bulldogs two individual winners for the second straight year.
“He’s been to the final now three times in three years,” Benincasa said of Perras. “He had lost to that kid earlier in the year, so had a little more motivation. He made it happen.”
Bedford had four wrestlers finish in second. Ben Gilman lost to Goffstown’s Connor Bourque, 8-7, in the 126 final, while Chris Connery was pinned by HB’s Caleb Lomme in the 145 final. Sam Kollmorgen lost to HB’s Zach Jennings at 152 and Robert Lamy dropped the 285 final to HB’s Hisham Hafez. Other winners for HB were Jonathan Lopez (106), Zach McPherson (132) and Nate Ashe (195).
Josh Belz (132) brought home a third place for Bedford, while Jake Hall (106), Ben Dow (113) and Matt Houston (195) all finished fourth. All wrestlers in the top five in each weight class advance to Saturday’s Meet of Champions, which is scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m. at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.