Pair of champions
Ben Dow and Bobby Heald looked like they were put through the wringer.
Worn out, battered and in Heald’s case bloodied, both Bedford High School wrestlers were smiling. They had every right after winning titles during Feb 21’s NHIAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Nashua High School South.
It was an even bigger accomplishment for the duo, who were both coming off Division II titles, as the Bulldogs jumped to Division I this winter.
In Division I’s 120-pound final, Dow (D-II 120 champion in 2014) held off a late rally by Alvirne’s Taylor Thyne for a 7-6 win.
“When he got me on my back I was so scared,” the Bedford senior said. “I was like I’m getting the heck out of here. I flipped right over and I ended up getting a reversal on one of them and that gave me some confidence.”
Heald (D-II 220 champion in 2014) recorded his 285-pound championship by pinning Pinkerton Academy’s Deene Hill in 5:16.
“I just wanted to set the tone early,” the Bulldogs junior said, “kind of push the pace and attack his legs. He’s a bigger guy. So I wanted to stay away from the upper body and shorten my shots and get a takedown.”
Now it’s on to Saturday’s Meet of Champions at Nashua High School North.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” said Dow, who finished third in MOCs last winter. “I’m so overwhelmed. Two time state champion – first in D-II and now D-I. It’s such a great feeling.
“I’ve got some confidence now. I’d like to end my high school career with a bang.”
Heald’s 2014 MOCs result was the same as his teammate. Just like Dow, Heald is already envisioning an amazing end to the season.
“I’m feeling on top of the world. I feel great,” Heald said. “There’s a couple of really good guys in D-II. I’m just going to try and do the same thing and get up on top of that podium again.”
As a team, Bedford finished fifth with 113.5 points. Londonderry won the event 188-175 over 15-time champion Timberlane.
Concord (152.5 points) and Pinkerton Academy (143) finished ahead of the Bulldogs, who were followed by Alvirne (89), Exeter (78), Nashua North (67), Salem (66.5), Keene (65), Manchester Memorial (35), Manchester Central (31) and Nashua South (29).
With the Top 6 individuals in Division I qualifying for MOCs, Dow and Heald aren’t alone as Bedford representatives on Saturday.
Yurii Gromokov finished second at 145, losing 10-0 to Timberlane’s Ryan Peters in the final.
Also placing in the D-I meet to earn a spot in the MOCs were Ethan Lavalle (132) and Ryan Belz (220) in third; Jake Hall (113) in fifth; and Justin Mello (152) and Liam Jackson (182) in sixth.