Butler leads HB trio to New Englands

A lot can happen during the six minutes of a wrestling match.

Andrew Butler found that out for the good and the bad at Saturday’s Meet of Champions.

Butler, a Hollis Brookline High School senior, reached the finals at 160 pounds by upsetting Londonderry’s Kyle Byrd in the semifinals 1-0.

The match was scoreless through two periods, as Butler held Byrd down for the entire second. After choosing to be down to start the third, Butler escaped in the first 15 seconds and held Byrd off for the win.

In the final, against Newport’s Stephan Nix, Butler was again up 1-0, this time heading into the third, but soon found himself down 3-1. After getting away from Nix to make it 3-2, Butler took down his opponent with 33 seconds left to go back up 4-3.

But in the final seconds, Nix got two points for a reversal and took the 160 title 5-4.

“That was as much of a heartbreaker as there could be,” HB coach Brian Bumpus said. “To go down a point, and then score the takedown to go up by a point, and then give it up with five seconds left in the match, it was one those matches. That whole thing happened in a matter of 30 seconds.”

Although disappointed, Butler felt good about what he was able to accomplish during the meet, which was held at Nashua North.

“I’m kind of bummed I didn’t get the win, but I definitely did better than anyone thought I was going to do,” Butler said. “I was seeded fourth, I took down the one seed, and I almost won my last match. I’m proud of what I did, but it still stings.”

Butler was one of five Greater Nashua wrestlers to reach the finals, as North’s Cam Bennett (126) and Bishop Guertin’s Jordan Rowlett (106) and Brandon Levesque (152) all won titles. Milford’s Travis Hughes (285) took second after falling to Bedford’s Bobby Heald.

Awards were handed out to the top six finishers in each weight class, and the top three will advance to the New England Championship, which begins Friday at North Andover, Mass.

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.

The best match of the final came at 138, where Londonderry’s Jean-Luc Lemieux and Timberlane’s Danny Scalzo were meeting for the third time this season. Scalzo handed Lemieux his first loss of the season when the teams met for a dual meet on Feb. 4, but Lemieux won when the two met for the D-I title last weekend.

On Saturday, Lemieux led 1-0 until the final seconds of the match, when Scalzo was awarded points for a takedown that the Londonderry coaches disagreed with. The two officials working the mat conferred for nearly two minutes before awarding the takedown, and the title, to Scalzo.

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).