BEVERLY, Mass. — In the wake of his friend’s tragic murder three years ago, Central Catholic wrestler Mando Binet made a solemn promise as a sophomore “to win a state title for him.”
“I didn’t even break the starting lineup,” Binet said.
Initially, Central Catholic head coach Pat O’Keefe thought Binet was joking. Then he saw his training regimen. “Mando was a short, chubby kid,” O’Keefe recalled with a chuckle. “So he spent the last two years of his life working out, as you can see from his legs.”
On Saturday afternoon at Beverly High, Binet fulfilled his ambitious promise as the 195-pound senior secured a state championship with an overtime takedown of King Philip’s Shawn Conniff, sealing Central Catholic’s first Div. 2 wrestling state title since 2004.
Binet brought home one of two individual titles for the Knights, who showcased their depth with nine wrestlers placing in the top five. With 167 points, Central Catholic finished well ahead of second-place North Attleborough, which edged the Knights in 2016 and 2018.
The Rocketeers had their early momentum crushed by Tyler Glynn, who won the Knights’ other first-place honor with a powerful first-period pin of Michael Burns.
Masconomet’s Jack Darling became one of just 12 wrestlers in Div. 2 history to win four individual state championships with a clinical victory in the 132-pound weight class. After watching his younger brother, Ian, fall short in the 106-pound bout, Darling dominated Hingham’s Kaya Bogle to improve his career record to 204-12. The Darlings were one of four sets of brothers competing on championship Saturday.
“We just got to get back in the room training together,” said the elder Darling, who will be wrestling at Virginia Tech next year. “If [Ian] can hang with me, he can beat anyone in the state.”
The highlight of the tournament came in the 195-pound bout between Binet and Conniff. The matchup of the big men was a physical back-and forth battle in which an exhausted Binet forced overtime with the score knotted, 7-7. The two grappled for position in the waning seconds before Binet broke free from a headlock and pinned Conniff for the win.
“When you work hard, your body knows it,” O’Keefe said. “So when you’re in that situation, where it’s 7-7 in the third period, your body’s going to know whether you can do it or not.
“He’s the hardest worker in the group. So to see him win, he deserves it. He really does.”
Binet could only manage a few postgame handshakes before collapsing onto the mat in front of his coaches and teammates. “I was just trying not to cry for that whole moment,” Binet said of the emotional moment after the win. “And then I just started breaking into tears and everyone was so happy, so I was just trying to live in that moment and enjoy what I accomplished.”
It was a promise he made to his deceased friend.
“That’s mainly why I did this,” Binet said. “For him. He’s been motivating me the whole way through. Wrestling is a tough sport. I hate it, but I love it at the same time. I hate it, but he motivated me through it, and here we are.”
The Mansfield wrestling team, among a deep and talented field of grapplers, finished second out of 42 teams in the Division 1 state tournament Saturday at Methuen High School. The Hornets, as a result, earned their highest finish since a runner-up effort in 2004.
Mansfield, the South sectional champion, scored 113 points, far behind Springfield Central (199.5), the juggernaut West champion, which won its fifth state title in seven seasons.
But six of Mansfield’s seven wrestlers placed in the top six and sophomore CJ Glaropoulos defeated St. John’s Prep’s Achilles Gikas, 2-0, to win the 152-pound weight class.
“We had five [sectional] champs from last week and they just did a great job today,” Mansfield coach Mark DiSanto said.
Juniors Antonios Sevastos (120), Will Stratton (145), and seniors George Glaropoulos (160) and Jayden Curley (170) all reached the semifinals and lost before they each wrestled back in the consolation brackets to take third place. Senior Ethan Nirenberg (182) placed sixth.
“Instead of letting that one match ruin the tournament for them, they came back and got all those points for us,” DiSanto said.
Springfield Central had two champions and eight other All-State qualifiers.
Brookline had the most champions with Luke Albanese (126), Abraham Spurlock (182), and Daniel Solomon (195) winning titles for the Warriors.
St. John’s Prep senior Ryan Garlitz (138) won his third consecutive state championship, defeating Haverhill’s Jake Nicolosi, 12-0, in a rematch of last Saturday’s Div. 1 North final.
Haverhill (106.5 points), Shawsheen (101), and Brookline (90.5) rounded out the top five teams. The top six wrestlers from each weight class will participate in the All-State tournament next Friday and Saturday at St. John’s Prep.
Taconic’s Jeremy Tetreault knew coming into the Division 3 state championships it would be close. In his fifth year as the Braves’ coach, he just hoped his team had enough to make the 145-mile drive to Wakefield pay off.
Tetreault’s hopes were realized, and Taconic (113 points) held off second-place Dedham (111) and third-place Foxborough (105) to win its first state wrestling title.
“After we pinned at the 145 match [Zabion Powell], it didn’t really matter what we did at 182 or 195, we were ahead by so many points,” said Tetreault, a teacher in the Pittsfield school’s special education department. “We needed Dedham to win at 220 without a pin to win the championship. That’s why after the 220 match you saw us cheering.”
“This is really big. This was our goal since the beginning of the year.”
Taconic’s only win was from Powell at 145 pounds. The senior improved his season record to 47-4 by pinning Melrose’s Stephen MacIntosh.
Taconic’s Dylan Burke lost, 3-2, in the 182 final to Athol’s Chris Waslaske and teammate Shawn O’Shea was pinned by Quabbin’s Sam Ware at 195.
With 113 points in the bank and two matches to go, Taconic just needed help to secure the title. The help came when Dedham’s OJ Pekacar beat Foxborough’s William Ogbebor, 9-8, at 220, leaving Dedham two points short of the Braves.
In addition to Pekacar, Dedham senior Finbar Heaslip won a state title for the Marauders at 160.
Foxborough’s Shayne Kerrigan (132) and Tommy Gallagher (139) went home with individual titles, as did undefeated Melrose juniors Hunter Adrian (113) and Sean Hebert (152).
Adrian improved to 49-0 this winter and Hebert to 41-0.
In the best match of the afternoon, Holliston’s Brian Garry rallied from a 6-5 deficit to score four points in the 126 final with a takedown of Middleboro’s Jaden Estrada in a 9-6 buzzer-beating win.
Other state titles were won by Sandwich’s Connor Keegan at 120, Middleboro’s Jacob Studley at 170, and Wayland’s Brooks Jones at 285.
MIAA Division 1 Championship
at Methuen High
106 pounds — Evan Kinney, Chelmsford def. Ben Davoli, Haverhill, 8-1.
113 — Dylan Beddow, Agawam def. Austin Dube, Shawsheen, 2:46.
120 — Jake Ice, Minnechaug def. Nate Chandler, Newton North, 8-6.
126 — Luke Albanese, Brookline def. Jarmany Colon, Methuen, 8-4.
132 — Calvin Curtis, West Springfield def. Jordan Carlucci, Franklin, 7-4.
138 — Ryan Garlitz, St. John’s Prep def. Jake Nicolosi, Haverhill, 12-0.
145 — Matt Cabezas, Methuen def. Cqari Bacote, Springfield Central, 5-2.
152 — CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield def. Achilles Gikas, St. John’s Prep, 2-0.
160 — Cesar Alvin, Springfield Central def. Sam Prescott, Haverhill, 9-1.
170 — Dohnivin Harvey, Springfield Central def. Dominic Sackley, Franklin, 4-2.
182 — Abraham Spurlock, Brookline def. Dom Ledoux, Agawam, 7-4.
195 — Daniel Solomon, Brookline def. Aaron Diaz, Lowell, 6-5 TB2.
220 — Omar Eldaly, Shawsheen def. Joe Pomella, Marshfield, 1:19. 285 pounds — Grant Laws, Xaverian def. Brandon Santell, Lawrence, 7-3.
Team results — 1. Springfield Central, 199.5; 2. Mansfield, 113; 3. Haverhill, 106.5; 4. Shawsheen, 101; 5. Brookline, 90.5; 6. Franklin, 87.5; 7. Methuen, 80.5; 8. St. John’s Prep, 69.5; 8. Lawrence, 69.5; 10. Agawam, 67.
MIAA Division 2 Championship
at Beverly High
106 pounds — Zach Soda, Burlington def. Ian Darling, Masconomet, 7-2 (3OT).
113 — Calvin Dalton, Salem def. Cam Soda, Burlington, 3-1.
120 — Maximilian Leete, Danvers def. Mike Glynn, Central Catholic, 4-1.
126 — Joey Valentino, North Andover def. John Lafferty, Woburn, 1:36.
132 — Jack Darling, Masconomet def. Kaya Bogle, Hingham, 11-2.
138 — Tyler Glynn, Central Catholic def. Mike Burns, North Attleborough, 2:55.
145 — Lucien Perla, Nashoba def. Mohammed Lofti, King Philip, 10-4 (TB2).
152 — Brevin Cassella, Nashoba def. Nick Marcolini, Milford, 1:46.
160 — Andrew Goddard, Algonquin def. Richard Canova, Danvers, 1:32.
170 — Russ Canova, Danvers def. Dave Langlois, Woburn, 8-0.
182 — Allyn French, Dracut def. Sean McCullough, Lynnfield, 9-8.
195 — Mando Binet, Central Catholic def. Shawn Conniff, King Philip, 9-7 (OT).
220 — Will Dion, Plymouth North def. Bobby France, Concord-Carlisle, 2-1 (TB2).
285 — Mattuez Kudra, North Attleborough def. Dylan Chandler, Tewksbury, 5-0.
Team results — 1. Central Catholic, 167; 2. North Attleborough, 104.5; 3. Dracut, 81; 3. Masconomet, 81; 5. Nashoba, 76.5; 6. Danvers, 73; 7. Burlington, 68.5; 8. King Philip, 68; 9. Hingham, 62; 10. Woburn, 61.
MIAA Division 3 Championship
at Wakefield High
106 pounds — Tyler Knox, Pentucket def. Benny Herrera, Keefe Tech, 8-2.
113 — Hunter Adrian, Melrose def. Ari Dinerman, Keefe Tech, 0:22.
120 — Connor Keegan, Sandwich def. Christian Rivas, Sabis Charter, 4-3.
126 — Brian Gary, Holliston def. Jaden Estrada, Middleborough, 9-6.
132 — Shayne Kerrigan, Foxborough def. Patrick Griffin, Tri-County, 15-3.
138 — Tom Gallagher, Foxborough def. Josh Ducharme, Tyngsborough, 2-0.
145 — Zabion Powell, Taconic def. Stephen Macintosh, Melrose, 4:36.
152 — Sean Herbert, Melrose def. Brandon Reyes, Dedham, 10-5.
160 — Finbar Heaslip, Dedham def. Mike Mansfield, Georgetown, 18-1.
170 — Jake Studley, Middleborough def. Anthony Ostrander, Triton, 3:56.
182 — Chris Waslaske, Athol def. Dylan Burke, Taconic, 3-2.
195 — Sam Ware, Quabbin def. Shawn O’Shea, Taconic, 3:05.
220 — OJ Pekacar, Dedham def. William Ogebebor, Foxborough, 9-8.
285 — Brooks Jones, Wayland def. Arthur O’Neill, Norton, 8-0.
Team results — 1. Taconic, 113; 2. Dedham, 111; 3. Foxborough, 105; 4. Wayland, 104.5; 5. Melrose, 90.5; 6. Norton, 90; 7. Ashland, 71; 8. Georgetown, 69.5; 9. Keefe Tech, 66; 10. Holliston, 65.5.
Globe correspondents Brandon Chase reported from Methuen and Bob Holmes from Wakefield.
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