Thursday, February 21, 2013
HOLLIS – Joe Albina was one of the most feared wrestlers in Division II this season, but that didn’t stop the Milford High School senior from being nervous Saturday.
As Albina prepared to take on Winnacunnet’s Colin Currier for the 182-pound final at the D-II championship meet, he tried to remember his only previous match against Currier.
“I didn’t know much about him,” Albina said. “I had wrestled him once. It was like a 17-second match. He made a silly mistake and I capitalized on it. I was nervous for the match because it was an unknown. He had big legs, so I knew I had to stay away from his hips.”
Albina did just fine, pinning Currier in 59 seconds, to win the D-II 182-pound title and help the Spartans finish third as a team. Milford had 169 points to come in behind Hollis Brookline (223) and Bedford (1711⁄2).
Although Milford had been hoping for another run at the title – the Spartans finished second by two points in 2012 – coach Dana Bourassa was pleased with how his team performed.
“We’re very pleased with our performance,” Bourassa said. “For the most part, we wrestled up to or above our seeds and that’s all you could ask.”
Bourassa wasn’t surprised to hear that Albina had some nerves going into the title match.
“That’s the sign of a good wrestler, to be nervous going into a match,” Bourassa said. “You should have a few butterflies going into a match, and when the whistle blows, it all goes away and that’s how Joe Albina is. He respects every opponent until he beats him and then he moves on.”
Milford had two other finalists, including Scott Danewitz, who left the meet after the semifinals to get five stitches in his head before returning for the 170 final. Danewitz lost that final in the final minutes to Bedford’s Robert Bernard, while Devin Dolliver finished second at 132, falling 8-7 to HB’s Zach McPherson.
The Cavaliers also got individual titles from Nate Ashe (195), Jonathan Lopez (106), Caleb Lomme (145), Zach Jennings (152) and Hisham Hafez (285).
Goffstown had three individual champions and finished fourth with 150, and Merrimack came in fifth with 123.
While the meet was less dramatic than a year ago, it wasn’t any less satisfying for the Cavs.
“We’ve been talking to the seniors for four years now of building a tradition and everything they do is geared toward winning,” HB coach Brian Bumpus said. “Since the first day of the season, we talk about winning Division II. This year, we sat down during the summer and I asked the guys, what do we want to accomplish this year, and every single one said we want to win Division II. It’s a true testament to our guys.”
Albina will move on to the Meet of Champions, along with all of the top five wrestlers in each weight class. HB will take 11 to the MOCs on Feb. 23 at Pinkerton, while Milford has 10 and Merrimack nine.
All of Milford’s wrestlers going for third place were successful, as the Spartans got wins in the third-place matches from Michael Pellitteri (120), Joe Pellitteri (152), Connor Borne (160) and Stephen Dumais (285). Travis Hughes (220), Dominic Nguyen (113) and Rueben Carson (126) all placed fifth for Milford and Jacob Girouard (106) came in sixth.
The Cavs also got two third places from Hunter Longland (220) and Austin Bumpus (182), who battled Merrimack’s Joe Rodriguez through three scoreless periods and almost two minutes of overtime before winning 1-0.
“Those kids who wrestled back, those are the kids who win the championship,” Brian Bumpus said. “It’s great to have the individuals as champs, but you don’t get a team championship without those guys wrestling back and hopefully place high. We had five wrestling for third and fourth and that’s huge team-wise.”
HB also got three fourth places from Ryan Alquist (126), Wyatt Farwell (138) and Andrew Butler (160) while Kayne Robert (170) took sixth.