Spartans take 2nd at D-II meet

HOLLIS – Travis Hughes had just one thought – get off your back.

The Milford High School junior found himself looking at the ceiling of the Hollis Brookline gym during the 285-pound final at Saturday’s Division II wrestling championship meet.

Instead of panic, Hughes fought back, flipping Bedford’s Robert Lamy and tying the match at 4 as it went to the second period. And a little more than a minute into the second, Hughes returned the favor, pinning Lamy to win the 285 title.

“I’d beaten him before and I just had to pull through and do it,” Hughes said. “I only won 2-0, so I knew (the final) was going to be a tough match. I was just thinking to get up. I knew if I got up, I’d have to keep wrestling. I knew it wasn’t over and I just had to get up.”

It was one of two individual championships for Milford, which wrestled as well as it could as a team, and finished as the runner-up in the division meet. The Spartans recorded 192 points, finishing behind first-time winner Bedford (218.5) and ahead of third-place Hollis Brookline (155.5).

“It was an outstanding team effort,” Milford co-coach Dana Bourassa said. “I can’t say anymore about our guys. They came here, they had purpose and they knew what they wanted to do and they went out and did it. We weren’t expected to be the runner-up. The coaching staff of Jeff Sellars and Ken Goodine did a wonderful job all year long.”

Alvirne also had two champions and took sixth with 94 points while Merrimack came in eighth with 72.5.

Although the Spartans had the lead through the quarterfinals, it was Bedford’s match to lose. The Bulldogs put eight wrestlers in the finals, with six of them winning titles.

“It feels fantastic,” Bedford coach Bob Benincasa said. “It’s an excellent way to end the season. It’s for the seniors, they’ve been working real hard since freshmen year to get to this point.”

Three of those six titles came at the expense of HB. Josh Belz defeated Christian Lopez 9-0 at 145 and Chris Conery followed that up by holding on for an 11-8 win over Wyatt Farwell at 152.

And at 195, Matt Houston pinned Austin Bumpus, who was wrestling for the first time after suffering a knee injury about six weeks ago.

Although all six of his finalists were shut out, HB coach Brian Bumpus was hopeful for the future.

“As a whole, I was pretty proud of our performances on the mat, given that we had eight sophomores and three juniors and one senior,” he said. “For those sophomores to step up the way they did, we had six finalists and four were sophomores. The future looks pretty good. We have five finalists returning.”

Milford’s Scott Dannewitz also finished as a champion, returning to the 170 final for the second straight year, where he defeated HB’s Andrew Butler 11-1.

“I was a runner-up last year and I worked really hard for it,” Dannewitz said. “I had studied Butler a lot. I’ve been watching film on him and I knew he was a good wrestler. I had to hide from his power because he is a big kid. It was my type of match and it worked well.”

Dannewitz had one thing going in his favor over last year’s trip to the finals. During his semifinal match a year ago, Dannewitz suffered a cut to his head that required stitches, forcing him to leave in between matches.

“I split my head open in the semifinals,” he said. “It threw me out of my groove. I had to go all the way back to Milford and get my head stitched up and come back.”

The Spartans had two other wrestlers reach the finals – Dominic Nguyen (113) and Devin Dolliver (138) – and both took second.

The Spartans also had four wrestlers finish third – Rueben Carson (126), Mitchell Rota (145), Jake Ricca (160) and Alex Parkhurst (195). Alex Nguyen (106) and Mike Pellitteri (132) both finished fourth and Ryan Hamilton (152) added a sixth.

Alvirne also had two winners, as Taylor Thyne defeated Dominic Nguyen in the 113 final with a pin at 1:05 of the match. Evan Manning won the 182 title with an 11-3 victory over Bedford’s Ryan Belz. The Broncos also got a third from Nicholas Milinazzo (120), a fifth place from Ben Katsohis (126) and Trystan Davio (152) and a sixth from Chad Cunningham (132).

For HB, joining Butler, Lopez, Farwell and Austin Bumpus as runners-up was Nathaniel Lindsay (126) and Caleb Lomme (160). The Cavaliers also got fourth places from Kayne Robert (182) and Chris Lazich (220), fifths from James Lazich (113) and Thomas Hoey (120), and a sixth from Lucas Cummings (138).

Eric Theriault (113) and Mitchell McMahon (152) were the top finishers for Merrimack, as both finished third. Sean Hebert (126) and Jason Theriault (195) were both fourth and Corey Little took fifth at 285. The Tomahawks also had four wrestlers place sixth – Ben Cronin (120), Phoenyx Stopyra (160), Shane Heath (170) and Lucas Gardenour (220).

The top five finishers in each weight class will advance to the Meet of Champions, which will be held March 1 at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.