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Bobcat wrestlers fall short in trophy bid

February 25, 2010
BEDFORD — The Plymouth Regional High School wrestling team continued its show of strength with several individual accolades this past weekend, but fell just short of bringing home a team trophy as they took third place in the Division II State Championship, held Saturday at Bedford High School.

Tyler Dustin and Casey Barney earned state titles as the Bobcats collected eight Meet of Champions bids, but it would not be enough for a three-peat, coming up short in a three-way bid for the title which saw Con-Val come out on top, with Goffstown grabbing the runner-up spot by just 5.5 points over Plymouth.

Dustin, a fourth place finisher in the 103 division last year, lived up to his top-ranked status as he returned to the Bedford this year. Dustin finished off Con-Val's Kyle Brissette midway through the second round of the championship bout to pick up the title.

Barney, a third place finisher in the 140 division last year, has been the 152 division's top wrestler throughout the 2009-10 campaign. Barney wrapped up his title run with a 5-1 decision over Caleb Cejka of Goffstown.

One of the most disheartening matches of the day for Plymouth came in the 189 division, where top-ranked Jake Bissell faced off with Milford's Josh Kilgore, whose brother Jonathan defeated Bissell in the championship last year. The Bobcat senior dominated the first stages of the tournament, winning his first two matches by a combined 15 seconds, and seemed to be on his way to winning the title bout as well, but Kilgore stayed off his shoulders long enough to abruptly turn the tables midway through the second round, pinning Bissell for the upset.

The consolation finals also got plenty of visits from Plymouth wrestlers. Nick Burke, ranked fourth in the 130 division, bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to reach the consolation final, where he topped Hollis/Brookline's Jake McPherson for a third place finish. Gabe Horton, who a year ago took third in the 125 division, earned the same finish despite rising to the 145 class this year, beating Goffstown's Ryan Moran.

Kevin Reisert, who made a strong return to wrestling at one of 171's top grapplers, came away with a fourth place finish, getting to the semifinals but losing in the consolation finals to Pelham's Warren Greenhalge. Jake DeBow (112) and DJ Clogston (135) also reached the consolation finals, but did not fight due to the five match rule, which prohibits more than five matches in a day. DeBow took fourth in the forfeit, while Clogston's position will be decided by a coin flip, as his opponent also reached five matches on the day.

Plymouth also got support from Tanner DeCosta (119), Ryan Farina (125), Tom Bonaccolto (140), Jordan Hoyt (160) and Dakota Simula (215).

Con-Val, a non-factor in last year's championship race, stormed to the top with 188 points to capture its first-ever state title. Goffstown finished just off the pace with 179.5 to take its second-straight runner-up trophy, while Plymouth fell just short of its ninth consecutive plaque, placing third with 174 points. Goffstown has the distinction of winning the runner-up trophy despite having no individual champions, losing four championship bouts and two out of four consolation finals. Both third place victories came by forfeit, as their opponents fell under the five match rule.

The top three faced little challenge in the standings from the rest of the field. Hollis/Brookline was the only other team to earn 100 points, placing fourth with 117.5, followed by St. Thomas (99), Bedford (97), Pelham (92), John Stark (90), White Mountains (74), Milford (71.5), Newport (66.5), Franklin (49), Newfound (36), Campbell (31), Bow (29), Oyster River (25), Souhegan (22.5), Winnisquam (10), Sanborn (10), Windham (10) and Kearsarge (3).

Plymouth leaves the tournament without a plaque for the first time since 2000, a nine-year streak during which they won six titles and three runner-up honors. With a large program training to take over on the mat and the middle school programs continuing to bring in more talent, the Bobcats aim to stay among Division II's elite next season, but will face plenty of rebuilding challenges with a strong core of seniors heading out.

The season isn't quite over yet though, as Plymouth will send its eight top four finishers Dustin, DeBow, Burke, Clogston, Horton, Barney, Reisert and Bissell to the NHIAA Meet of Champions on Saturday at Londonderry High School, where they will compete with the top wrestlers in both high school divisions. Wrestlers who take third or better will then have a chance to compete in the New England Championships, scheduled for March 5-6 at the New Haven Athletic Center in Connecticut.

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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