PETERBOROUGH – The road to defending a title started a year ago for Travis Hughes.
After winning the 285-pound title at the Division II wrestling championship as a junior, Hughes knew he was going to have to work just as hard – maybe harder – if he was going to win again.
The Milford High School senior did just that Saturday, winning his second-straight title when he pinned Windham’s Patrick Humme in the 285 final in the division championship at ConVal.
Hughes was one of two individual champions for the Spartans, as Michael Pellitteri took home the title at 145, as Milford finished fourth overall with 119 points.
Hollis Brookline won its third team title in four years, finishing first with 200.5 points, while Windham, which had won three straight Division III titles before moving up, recorded 193 points to take second. Winnacunnet (149) was third, while Bishop Guertin (114) took fifth and Merrimack (112) was sixth.
“Winning last year, it was very exciting and it was new to me,” Hughes said. “Going into this year, knowing how much it takes, and how much hard work you put in, and getting into pressure situations, it helped me with what I needed to do and knowing what I needed to do.”
Milford coach Dana Bourassa got to see that work firsthand this season, and the longtime Spartans mentor felt good when both his wrestlers took first.
“We’re pretty happy about that,” Bourassa said. “Travis has been awesome all year long for us and I’m glad he can hang another banner. The thing about him, he’s a heavyweight who is willing to work and that can wrestle.
“There is a kid (Pellitteri) who has really worked hard all summer long, lifting and doing all the right things. He’s easy to coach and he’s great in practice.”
Pellitteri pinned Goffstown’s Ben Francoeur in 1:29 to win the 145 final, while Hughes recorded his pin of Humme in 1:33.
“(Pellitteri) works harder than anybody,” Hughes said. “The kid puts in so much time and effort, and now he knows the great feeling.”
Josh Smith (220) was third for Milford, while Jacob Girouard (138), Jake Ricca (170) and Kyle Faucher-Clancy (182) each finished fourth. Peyton Dannewitz (132) took fifth.
“We were hoping, as a team, to wrestle up to or above our seeds,” Bourassa said. “Pretty much, we did that all day long. We’re taking the amount of kids I thought we’d take (to the Meet of Champions).”
A total of nine wrestlers from Greater Nashua took home individual titles, and a total of 30 finished in the top five and will move on to next Saturday’s Meet of Champions, which will be held at Nashua North.
Hughes now has his eyes set on the MOC title that alluded him last season, but he knows it doesn’t get any easier from here on out.
“You have to focus and you have to keep working,” he said. “There are people out there, like (Bedford’s) Bobby Heald, who is having a great year. I need to keep working and the whole week is very important.”
Heald, who won the Division I 285 title, is the No. 1 seed for the MOCs, while Hughes is No. 2. Pellitteri is the fourth seed at 145.
HB had three individual champions at the D-II, as Andrew Butler (160), Caleb Lomme (182) and Kayne Robert (195) each took home a title. The Cavaliers had three other wrestlers take second – Thomas Hoey (126), Nathaniel Lindsay (132) and Wyatt Farwell (170). Garrett Klausner (120), Lucas Cummings (138) and Christian Lopez (152) each took third, while Savannah Eliza (113), Nick McPherson (145) and Clement Sherwood (220) were fifth.
Merrimack’s Eric Theriault won at 126 to give the Tomahawks their lone champ while Bishop Guertin also had three champions, as Jordan Rowlett (106), Jacob Bue (113) and Brandon Levesque (152).