Special day for Andy Almonte at MOCs

Merrimack High brought eight wrestlers to the New Hampsire Meet of Champions. Three placed, two qualified for New Englands and one enjoyed a very special memory.

The top three finishers in each weight class move on to the New Englands, and the top six collected medals at the MOC’s.

Merrimack senior Andy Almonte finished third overall and added further excitement to his day by collecting the 100th victory of his fine career in the consolation semifinals to advance into a spot in which he could claim a trip to New Englands in the third-place match.

Ruminating on big career win 100 while awaiting his consolation finals bout, the University of Southern Maine-bound Almonte said, “It just feels really good to get into such an exclusive club. When I started wrestling as a freshman I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know how to shoot or anything. I didn’t even know wrestling was a sport. This really came with hard work. There was never a day when I questioned how I got better.”

Joining Almonte at the New Englands this weekend in Providence will be sophomore Anson Dewar, who also placed third for the Tomahawks, who were 10th overall in the team race.

Tomahawk 195-pounder Griffin Ostrum just missed advancing. He placed fourth in the rugged MOCs.

Merrimack skaters

in playoffs Saturday

Playoff time is in full swing here in the Granite State.

In Division II boys hockey, No. 6 Merrimack (9-7-2) waits until the quarterfinals Saturday to face No. 3 Goffstown (14-3-1).

Beware of the Tomahawks, who have gotten good goaltending from Ben Hardy and balanced scoring, led by Zach Stimeling.

Although they went 1-2-1 over their last four, they did beat Goffstown 4-2 back on Jan. 16 after losing to the Grizzlies 10-5 in the season opener. The ‘Hawk will be a tough out.

Merrimack girls bow out on Seacoast

No. 6 Portsmouth defeated No. 11Merrimack on Wednesday night, 50-31, behind 15 points from Abbe Laurence in the Division I girls basketball opening round.

Merrimack, which finishes the year at 9-10, trailed 34-11 through three quarters and just could ignite the engine.

The Tomahawks got 12 points from Theresa Twardosky and eight from Makenna Desfosses.

“We’ve struggled all year to score and when you’re playing a good defensive team, it just gets tougher,” said Tomahawks coach Courtney Cheetham.