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St. Bernard’s Lucas Bowman wins New England title

NEW HAVEN, March 7, 2009 – His own coach called him a diamond in the rough. On Saturday night, St. Bernard’s Lucas Bowman was beaming after becoming the only Connecticut wrestler to win a New England championship.

Bowman, the Class S and State Open champion, hit a reversal with 42 seconds left in the third period and made it stand up in a 4-2 victory over Travis Spencer of Belfast, Maine in the championship match at 189 pounds.

“I’m so proud of him,” St. Bernard’s coach Kirk Jenkins said. “He busted his tail all year.”

Bowman (35-4) was one of 13 Connecticut wrestlers to bring home medals after finishing in the top six of each weight class. Three other state wrestlers fell in the finals.

At 119 pounds, Massachusetts champion Miguel Guzman of Greater Lawrence picked up a key takedown with 20 seconds left in the second period to earn a 5-1 win over Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo. At 152 pounds, Bethel’s Andrew Ford slipped trying for a takedown with 26 seconds left and lost to New Hampshire champion Cody Byrd of Londonderry, 5-3. And at 171, Massachusetts’ Mike Wrin got a takedown with two seconds left in regulation to beat Somers’ Tim Vollaro, 5-3.

“This was a very tough tournament,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian after his Owls from Plaistow, N.H. won the New England championship for a record seventh time and fourth time in the last five years. “It is one of the toughest tournaments depth wise. You have to be mentally and physically tough.”

Farmington High coach Eric Misko added, “There is no margin for error here. You have to wrestle a perfect match at this level. It’s a great tournament.”

Danbury was the top Connecticut team in sixth place with two medalists. Southington, Bethel and St. Bernard’s were second among Nutmeg schools with 31 points in 17th place.
Simsbury’s Lawton Arnold (215) won six matches in the consolation round to finish third.

Bowman had a takedown in the second period but a pair of escapes by Spencer tied the match at 2-2 going into the third period. Spencer, who came into the match with a career record of 175-9, began the third period on top.

But he made a mistake, riding too far over the top and Bowman was able to sneak out and get a reversal with 42 seconds remaining.
Bowman’s three previous wins in the tournament came on pins.

“In the last few weeks, he really turned it up a notch,” said Jenkins, who also credited the hard workouts with ECC neighbor Windham High for helping as well.

Chooljian was thrilled with the performance from Timberlane, which scored 110½ points, the second-most in tournament history with five medalists. Two wrestlers took second along with a third, fourth and fifth place finisher.
Timberlane went 16-0 this year, won the New Hampshire Division I tournament and their version of the State Open called the Meet of Champions.

“We’re awfully proud of the kids,” he said. “We had the perservence to place five kids. We’re very humbled to win this again.” In the consolation quarterfinals and semifinals, Timberlane went 5-0 to solidify its title.

Cranston West, R.I. finished second with 91½ points and five medalists. It’s best finish by a Rhode Island school since Bishop Hendricken in Warwick took second in 2003. “I feel bad for Cranston West,” Chooljian admitted. “They certainly wrestled well enough to win a New England title. We just had a little bit more.”

Six men were also inducted in the New England Council Hall of Fame. Former Nonnewaug High coach John Lawless, former Bristol Central coach and tournament administrator Patrick Parente were inducted along with Chooljian, Don Woodworth, a former coach and official from Timberlane, Mt. Anthony, Vt., head coach Scott Legacy and Blaine Isham of Vermont.

Here is a rundown on Connecticut wrestlers in each weight class:

Jonathan Law’s Robert Lonergan finished fourth. Lonergan nipped New Hampshire champion Tanner Burke of Pinkerton, 7-6 in the quarterfinals before dropping an 11-3 decision to eventual New England champion Shaidai Lariviere of Cumberland, R.I. in the semifinals.

Massachusetts champion Sam Shames of Newtown North beat Longeran in the consolation final, 3-0 with a third period escape and takedown in the span of 25 seconds. In the final, Lariviere beat Zach Bridson of Timberlane, 8-2 for the title.

In the final, Corey Melo of New Bedford, Mass., won 3-2 when he awarded a penalty point with 32 seconds left in regulation. Massachusetts champion Matt Buco of Greater Lawrence was penalized for fleeing the mat after driving Melo out of bounds. It wasn’t the first time that Buco drove Melo off the mat to stop play.

A year ago, Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo received his New England championship trophy during the summer after Billerica’s Kenny Anderson was ruled ineligible for the tournament. This time, Costanzo wanted to win the tournament in front of his peers.

Danbury’s State Open champion lived on the edge during his route to the finals. “Hopefully, he hasn’t run out of lives,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook joked. “He won a lot of matches late. He knows how to win. He wrestles full matches.”

In the semifinals, Costanzo beat Matt DelGallo of Gardiner, Maine, 3-2, with a takedown with six seconds left in regulation. In the quarterfinals, Costanzo got a takedown in the last 15 seconds to beat New Hampshire champion Matt Morris of Timberlane, 5-3.

In the final against Massachusetts champion Miguel Guzman of Greater Lawrence, Costanzo took a 1-0 lead with a second period escape. But Guzman spun behind with 20 seconds left in the period with a takedown to take a 2-1 lead.

In the third period, a Guzman escape with 1:17 remaining increased the lead to 3-1 and put the pressure on Costanzo, who had to take chances in the final 30 seconds for a match-tying takedown. Guzman (41-0) got a clinching takedown with five seconds remaining.

In the final, sophomore Mike Meyers of Warwick Vets, the Rhode Island champion, easily handled Deering’s Ryan Toussaint, the top-seeded wrestler from Maine, 10-0. Meyers improved to 90-1 career.

In the final, Alex Hayek of East Greenwich, R.I. outlasted Rhode Island champion Nick O’Connell of Cranston West, 5-4 in an all-Rhode Island final, handing O’Connell (39-1) his first loss of the season.

In the final, Cranston West’s Shawn Giblin (41-0) had three pins in four wins including a 3:37 pin of Massachusetts champion Isaac Melo of Somerset.

Dan Telhada of Franklin, Mass., finished fourth in Massachusetts but won five bouts including a 6-3 victory over Maine’s top-seeded wrestler, Peter Gilman of Massabesic in the final. Telhada used three takedowns to control this bout and improve to 42-2. Gilman fell to 49-3 and 170-18.

In the final, Massachusetts champion Victor DeJesus of Lowell turned in a dominating performance in a 9-1 win over Joey Eon, Maine’s top-ranked wrestler from Massabesic.

Nursing a very sore foot that he hurt on Thursday, Bethel’s Andrew Ford nearly came away with his first New England championship.

“We weren’t sure if we would be able to wrestle,” Bethel coach Bob Owen admitted. “He has been wrestling through a lot of pain. His foot has been up and there has been plenty of ice on it.”

Ford got the first takedown in his championship match with New Hampshire’s undefeated champion Cody Byrd of Londonderry but turning a single leg into a double leg takedown and tackle. But Byrd (45-0) escaped and got a takedown of his own to take a 3-2 lead after a single period.

After a scoreless second period, Ford escaped with 13 seconds gone into the third period. The two wrestlers looked for positions to get a takedown for nearly a minute. Ford tried to throw Byrd with about 36 seconds left but he slipped and fell, enabling Byrd to collapse on him for the match-winning takedown.

It was the first loss of the year for Ford, 45-1, who had a 5-3 semifinal victory over Massachusetts champion Ryan Harding of St. John’s Prep. He also had a 6-3 win over Peter Bronder of Noble, Maine in his first match.

“He’s moving slower but he’s wrestling a lot tougher,” Owen said. “He has shown more intensity. I think as the day wore on the adrenalin masked the pain.” Ford, a junior, is a three-time Academic All-State wrestler.

In the final, Massachusetts champion Isaiah Williams of Haverhill dominated in an 11-2 victory over Nick Bedard of Lowell.

As a junior, State Open champion Tim Vollaro of Somers went to the New England tournament dropped a one-point decision and was eliminated when the wrestler that beat him lost his next decision.

Vollaro took no chances with his tournament this year, aggressively working to get the first takedown in every match to earn a berth in the New England final at 171 pounds.

“We had a game plan and he executed it flawlessly,” Somers coach Scott Gregory said. “We wanted to be aggressive from the start and get that first takedown. It puts the other guy on the defensive and they have to come to him to score.”

He beat Stephen Martin of Bonny Eagle, Maine in the semifinals, 10-8 and outlasted Cameron Bubar of Lisbon, Maine in the quarterfinals, 10-6.
In the finals against Mike Wrin of Algonquin, a regional high school near Framingham, Mass., Vollaro took a 1-0 lead in the second period on an escape only to see Wrin get a takedown . But Vollaro (40-2) escaped 25 seconds later to tie the bout at 2-2.

In the third, Wrin escaped two seconds into the third period for a 3-2 lead and stayed away for most of the third period. Forced to take a chance in the final seconds of the match, Vollaro went for a takedown but Wrin was able to slip behind for another two points and 5-2 victory.

Vollaro and Gregory thought they had a takedown in the first period but the referee ruled Vollaro and Wrin had rolled out of bounds.

Simsbury’s Lawton Arnold lost his first match of the year when he got pinned in 4:19 by Josh Wainwright of North Attleboro, Mass., in the first round of the tournament. But Arnold (47-1) won six straight matches to finish third. He capped off his scholastic career with a 6-4 win over Massachusetts champion Peros Hologitas of Rockland. Arnold took a 2-0 lead with a two-point reversal with 28 seconds left in the second period.

In the third period, Hologitas cut the lead to one after escaping early in the period. But with 40 seconds left, Arnold scooped up one of Hologitas’ legs, tripped him and put him on his back for four points and control of the bout with a 5-1 lead.

In the loss to Wainwright, the match was tied at 6-6. “We got a little lazy and let him inside and he took Lawton down twice,” Simsbury coach Ernie Goodwin said. “Lawton tried to flip him over and got pinned.”
Arnold met Wainwright again in the consolation semifinals and won easily, 18-7.

“Lawton wrestled very well, probably the best he has all season,” Goodwin said. “He’s aggressive, scoring points and he isn’t waiting around. It’s been a good way to go out. It’s good to see that smile back on his face.”
Arnold becomes just the 10th Simsbury wrestler to earn a medal at the New England tournament and first since Joey Martin won a New England title at 119 in 2005.

Bristol Central’s Tim Chambers got as far as the semifinals before he dropped a 3-0 decision to defending New England champion Brian Nicholl of Timberlane, N.H. Chambers finished sixth, dropping the fifth place bout to Doug Vollaro of Springfield Cathedral, 11-1. Vollaro is the brother of Somers’ Tim Vollaro and attends the catholic school in Springfield. He finished fourth in Massachusetts to qualify for the New England tournament.

2009 New England brackets

2009 New England championships
At New Haven
Team results – 1. Timberlane NH 110, 2. Cranston West RI 91½, 3. Cumberland RI 58, 4. Lowell, MA 56, 5. Concord NH 55, 6. Danbury 47, 7. Massabesic ME 46, 8. Greater Lawrence MA 44, 9. Framingham MA 37½, 10. Burlington MA, Pinkerton MA 37, 12. Haverhill MA 35½, 13. Tyngsboro MA 33½, 14. Franklin MA 32½, 15. Spaulding VT 32, 16. Warwick Vets RI 31½, 17. Bethel, Southington, Marshfield, MA, Springfield Central, St. Bernard, 31; 22. New Bedford MA 29, 23. Belfast ME 28½, 24. Nashua South NH 26, 25. Algonquin MA, East Greenwich RI, LaSalle MA 25; 28. Londonderry NH, Mt. Anthony VT, Quincy MA 24; 31. Simsbury 22½, 32. Goffstown NH, Noble ME, Somerset MA, Tewksbury, Waltham MA 22; 37. Hand-Madison, Somers, West Springfield, MA 20; 40. Bonny Eagle ME 19½; 41. Derring, North Attleboro MA, Shelton, St. John’s Prep MA 19; 45. Longmeadow MA, Newton MA 18; 47. Fairfield Warde 17. 48. Central Catholic MA, Greater Lowell, Jonathan Law, Lisbon, North Providence RI, South Kingston RI 16
Other Connecticut scores
62. East Lyme 12, 66. New Fairfield 9, 70, Bristol Central, Immaculate, Killingly, South Windsor 8; 77. Glastonbury, Ledyard 7, 85. Farmington, Middletown and Windham 6; 97. Amity 5½, 98. Berlin and Xavier 5; 106. East Hartford, Guilford and Platt High 4; 125. Cheshire 2
Individual results
Final: Shaidai Lariviere (Cumberland RI) dec. Zach Bridson (Timberlane NH) 8-2; Third: Sam Shames (Newton North MA) dec. Robert Lonergan (Jonathan Law) 3-0; Fifth: Chad Roberts (East Longmeadow MA) dec. Sami Baghdady (Belmont MA), 4-0
Final: Corey Melo (New Bedford MA) dec. Matt Buco (Greater Lawrence MA), 3-2; Third: Shonneil Lariviere (Cumberland RI) dec. Mike Bradley (Mt. Anthony VT), 15-5; Fifth: Bob Daniels (Concord NH) pin Steve Duran (Cranston West RI) 4:26
Final: Miguel Guzman (Greater Lawrence MA) dec. Charlie Costanzo (Danbury), 5-1; Third: Everette Desiletes (Cranston West RI) dec. Matt Morris (Timberlane NH), 8-1; Fifth: Kyle Edmunds (Spaulding VT) forfeit over Mike Sugermeyer (Minnechaug MA), injury
Final: Mike Meyers (Warwick Vets RI) dec. Ryan Toussaint (Deering ME) 10-0; Third: George Wilson (Springfield Central MA) dec. Joe Pronl (Marshfield MA), 10-0; Fifth: Josh Gerry (Quincy MA) dec. Rob Ferrante (Shelton), 12-1
Final: Alex Hayek (East Greenwich RI) dec. Nick O’Connell (Cranston West RI), 5-4; Third: Alex Smith (Timberlane NH) dec. Matt Sherman (Burlington MA), 4-2 OT; Fifth: Jordan Gray (Essex Junction VT) dec. Andrew Lischke (Bethel), 5-3 OT
Final: Shawn Giblin (Cranston West RI) pin Issac Melo (Somerset MA), 3:37; Third: Chris Deluca (Longmeadow MA) dec. Curtis Watkins (Fairfield Warde), 3-2; Fifth: David Clemens (Timberlane NH) dec. Eric Harrison (Weymouth MA), 12-2
Final: Dan Telhada (Franklin MA) dec. Peter Gilman (Massabesic ME), 6-3; Third: Colin Crowell (Pinkerton NH) dec. Walter Pope (Framingham MA), 3-2; Fifth: Kevin Barrucci (Burlington MA) dec. Jesse Broderick (New Fairfield), 4-2
Final: Victor DeJesus (Lowell) dec. Joey Eon (Massabesic ME), 9-1; Third: Brandon Fleming (Marshfield MA) dec. Ethan Farrell (Narragansett RI), 8-6 OT; Fifth: Tucker Schaefer (Danbury) forfeit over Jack DiBurro (Central Catholic MA), injury
Final: Cody Byrd (Londonderry NH) dec. Andrew Ford (Bethel), 5-3; Third: Matt Dehney (Dracut MA) dec. Brian Onofrio (Hand), 5-3, OT; Fifth: Matt Donohoe (Tyngsboro MA) pin Ryan Harding (St. John’s Prep MA), 4:21
Final: Isaiah Williams (Haverhill MA) dec. Nick Bedard (Lowell MA), 11-2; Third: Derek Golder (Tyngsboro MA)  dec. Corey Graham (Reading MA), 12-1; Fifth: Mike Monson (Southington) dec. Derek Bisson (Concord NH), 6-2
Final: Mike Wrin (Algonquin MA) dec. Tim Vollaro (Somers), 5-3; Third: Stephen Martin (Bonny Eagle ME) dec. Joel Altavesta (Tewksbury MA), 10-6; Fifth: Connor Nelson (South Kingston RI) dec. Matt Willey (Arlington MA) , 8-4
Final: Lucas Bowman (St. Bernard) dec. Travis Spencer (Belfast ME), 4-2; Third: Steve Saul (LaSalle RI) dec. Josh Maru (North Providence RI), 3-2, OT; Fifth: Steve Wrona (West Springfield MA) win by forfeit overDillon Ritchie (Southington), injury
Final: Mike Grilakis (Nashua South NH) dec. Ricky Caruso (Waltham MA), 9-5; Third: Lawton Arnold (Simsbury) dec. Petros Hologitas (Rockland MA), 6-4; Fifth: Josh Boyd (Catholic Memorial MA) dec. Josh Wainwright (North Attleboro MA), 7-5
Final: Dan Herrick (Concord NH) win by forfeit over Brian Nicol (Timberlane NH), injury; Third: Tom Foote (Goffstown NH) dec. Mike Gregory (Greater Lowell MA), 6-5; Fifth: Doug Vollaro (Springfield Cathedral MA) dec. Tim Chambers (Bristol Central), 11-1
Outstanding wrestler: Shawn Giblin, Cranston West RI (135)
Most outstanding final: 189 pounds, Bowman vs. Spencer

Video of New England finals

2009 New England brackets,-1&itemid=4898&parid=-1&Org=cnesspa&CFID=7865620&CFTOKEN=87817

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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