Bedford’s Heald wins MOC title

Bobby Heald knew that if he was going to go back to the New England Wrestling Championship, he wanted to do it as a New Hampshire champion.

The Bedford High School junior achieved that goal Saturday, winning the 285-pound title at the Meet of Champions.

Heald is one of three Bulldogs who qualified for the New England tournament; the top three in each weight class advance to the regional.

Ben Dow (120) lost to Goffstown’s Jacob Nault in the final while Yurii Gromokov (145) came in second to Timberlane’s Ryan Peters. Jake Hall (113) and Ryan Belz (220) also placed fourth for Bedford.

Heald defeated Milford’s Travis Hughes, who was the Division II champ, by a count of 5-1 and was happy to not have to go into this weekend’s competition as a second- or third-place wrestler.

“It’s where I wanted to be from the beginning of the year, and I can’t believe I’m finally here,” Heald said. “I had confidence in what I wanted to do and I was able to get the win, and it feels great. I felt like I had a good shot and (as the No. 1 seed) I was expected to win, so I really wanted to meet those expectations.

“I was third at 220 (last year). It’s a lot different. It feels a lot better. Being the NH3, you don’t know where you’re going to fall at New Englands. I’m hoping to win a few matches and place.”

Having never faced Hughes before, Heald was able to watch a little bit of the Milford senior’s semifinal match and tried to pick up things he could use in the final.

“I watched for tendencies in what he was doing in his semifinal match, what he does on his feet and his first moves on top and bottom,” he said. “I took that to my match and used it effectively.

“After I got the first takedown, I was more comfortable, and then I got the second one and I had a more comfortable lead. I was able to just rid him out to the end of the match.”

Four other area wrestlers reached the final, as Nashua North’s Cam Bennett (126) and Bishop Guertin’s Jordan Rowlette (106) and Brandon Levesque (152) also won titles. Hollis Brookline’s Andrew Butler (160) finished second.

Also moving on are HB’s Caleb Lomme (182) and Kayne Robert (195) and North’s Wayne Nolette (145), who each finished third in their weight class.

Timberlane had three individual champions to record 139 points and win the team title. Concord was second with 136 and Londonderry third with 134.5.

HB was the top area team, taking seventh with 82.5, while Bishop Guertin (57) was eighth and Alvirne and North tied for ninth with 56.

Bennett’s win came against Londonderry’s Ryan Cabezas, the same wrestler he defeated the week before for the Division I title.

“I kind of knew what he wanted to do, but you can’t really have a game plan going into these ones,” the North senior said. “You have to put everything you have on the mat and score.

“It makes it a hundred times better to do it at home. You don’t have to ride a bus, you just wake up, come here and win a title. It feels pretty good.”

Levesque pinned Salem’s Avery Santiago in his final, a match that went a lot like the Bishop Guertin senior expected it would.

“I was expecting him to come out strong and I was ready to get the first takedown,” Levesque said. “I played it out a couple of times in my head, what would happen, and most of it was me getting the first takedown and working my top stuff. I was pretty confident.”

Alvirne got three fourth places from Taylor Thyne (120), Nick Milinazzo (126) and Evan Manning (182) while Cam McClure (106) came in sixth. Campbell had three wrestlers place, with Tyler McCrady (138) taking fifth and Dayton Chandonet (113) and Marc Boomhower (145) coming in sixth.

HB also got a fourth place from Nathaniel Lindsay (123) while North’s John Sweeney (170) took fifth. Merrimack’s Eric Theriault (126) finished sixth, as did South’s Pat Sullivan (138).