Braves wrestle their way to Western Mass. title
By Howard Herman, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Sunday February 6, 2011
Taconic, at home, ends Greylock's two-year run as champion of the sectional team tournament.
PITTSFIELD -- Members of the Taconic wrestling team were scanning the wall in the school gym late Saturday afternoon, looking for a place to put the team's first championship banner.
The Braves earned their first-ever Western Massachusetts wrestling championship, knocking off two-time champ Mount Greylock in the championship dual match of the eight-team tournament.
"We're Western Mass. champs," Taconic heavyweight Tajaye Davis said with a big smile. "My coach said at the beginning of the wrestling season that no matter what happens, stay together as brothers and sisters, no matter what."
Taconic reached the championship match by knocking off second-seeded Sabis, while Greylock dumped Granby.
"It's a goal we set for ourselves back last year at our banquet," Taconic coach Matt Chamberlain said. "We knew we had some tough freshmen coming up, and we had kids who were going to do summer wrestling. You can see the difference between this year and last year for us."
Taconic reached the final by beating Belchertown 76-6, Hampshire Regional 54-26 and Sabis 56-21. Greylock beat Frontier 60-12, Dean Tech 54-27 and Granby 46-27, before losing to Taconic 43-31. The Braves won the final four matches of the dual.
"The first time we went against [Greylock], we won by one" point, Taconic's Stefan Petell said. "The second time, we lost by 12. This time, we just kept wrestling."
In the semifinal round, the Mounties pulled away when Dylan Walker (152 pounds), Ross Jackson (160) and Jarrett Ferriter (171) all recorded pins. In the final against Taconic, Walker and Jackson got pins. But they were preceded by Zach Larabee's technical fall win over Xavier Powell (140) and Jay Krutiak's major decision over Travis Kuni (145).
"In the matches we were winning, we needed to pin," Greylock coach Ray Miro said. "We didn't get that.
"We were hoping to pin at 145, we were hoping to pin at 140 and 135," he added. "We get those, we make up some of the points."
After Greylock's Zach Bantle won by forfeit, it was 31-17 for the Mounties. Pimpesan Supple started Taconic's run with a 9-2 decision over Greylock's Anthony Carvalho at 215. Then Davis pinned Colin Dezess in 1:54, the first time the Taconic heavyweight beat Dezess this year. That gave the Braves a big boost, and it propelled the next Taconic wrestler to a win.
"That got me going good," said Petell, who needed only 54 seconds to pin Greylock's Travis Hilchey. "I said if he could pin his kid, I could pin my kid."
The pin gave the Braves a 32-31 lead and when Eric Hermann defeated Greylock's Allyson Crews 25-10, the Western Mass. trophy was moved to Valentine Road.
The other two Berkshire County participants in the tournament had shorter days. Both Mount Everett and Monument Mountain finished 1-1.
The Eagles fell to Hampshire Regional and then beat Pioneer Valley in the consolation round.
Monument lost to Franklin Tech in the first round and then came back to beat Gateway in the consolation.
Taconic is scheduled to wrestle in the state semifinals on Wednesday. Then all comers will head to Williamstown for this coming weekend's individual championships.
"We've got another shot," said Miro. "I think we're a little bit better than some of the other [contenders]. It depends on what these guys do in a week of practice."