Hovan, Damata lead Tomahawks into championship mode

MERRIMACK — Coach Tim McMahon let his Merrimack High wrestlers know exactly what kind of team returns this winter.

He challenged them, urged them to pay their dues and get the offseason work accomplished, just so they could reap the benefits this winter.

If seniors Julien Hovan and Dom Damata are any indication, the message was received loud and clear.

“If we can stay healthy this is perhaps the most talented team from top to bottom that we’ve had in the last 10 years,” said McMahon “We are very excited about the time and commitment that many of these wrestlers put into offseason training from Gate City to

Doughboys to Smitty’s.”

Hovan, a state Division II champ and the runner-up in the Meet of Champions at 132 pounds a year ago, took the coach and went several steps farther.

“I went to Smitty’s Barn (in Plaistow) and I did some more martial arts training in New Jersey, I’ve been training all the time,” said Hovan. “Working with good people all the time, I feel I’m improving every time I do.”

The senior, who is looking at the Coast Guard Academy or prestigious McGill University in Canada as a potential college home, knows it’s now or never.

He knows that Bedford’s A.J. Pagliaruilo, the defending MOC champ at 132, will be moving up a weight to 138, just like Hovan.

The Tomahawks star understands he has to be better.

“I really just want to win (MOC) and go back to New Englands and do something,” said Hovan, who didn’t place at the 2017 New Englands. “Most of all, I want our team to win Division II. We were second to Windham last year, and this time around I want to win it all.”

Does Merrimack have the guns to contend for the Division II title? McMahon seems to think so, on paper. He’s piled up a challenging slate of invitationals and tournaments, all to get the Tomahawks ready for battle.

MERRIMACK HIGH WRESTLING

CO-HEAD COACHES: Tim McMahon (11th Year) and Bryan Dine (9th Year)

RETURNING VARSITY STARTERS: Mark Slade, Sr., 106; Andy Almonte, Jr., 132; Julien Hovan, Sr., 138; Adam Parenteau, Sr., 145; Brendan Parr, Sr., 152; Sam Serrentino, Sr., 160; Griffin Ostrom, So., 170; Nathan Kennedy, Sr., 182; Eric Griffin, So., 195; Dom Damata, Sr., 220; Joey Lapiana, Sr., 285

PROMISING VARSITY NEWCOMERS: Molly Brody, Fr., 113; Anson Dewar, Fr., 126

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have some very tough freshmen that will be stepping into the lineup and a great group of seniors to lead the way. Its an exciting year to be a Tomahawk wrestler!”

TOURNAMENTS ENTERED:

Milford/Souhegan Invitational, Dec. 9

Hollis Nor’Easter Tourney, Dec. 16

Northport, NY Dual Tourney, Dec. 30

Natick, MA Dual Tourney, Jan. 6

Nashua Hall of Fame Tourney, Jan. 13

John Marshall Hall of Fame Dual Tourney (at Merrimack), Jan. 20

Concord Capital City Classic, Jan. 26

Haverhill, MA Dual Tourney, Feb. 3

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