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Mills captures state title

Winnisquam freshman Richard Mills outwrestles the field at 170 pounds

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Winnisquam freshman Richard Mills holds the bracket of the 170-pound weight class he won on the podium at the Division III State Championship on Feb. 18 at Pelham High School. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 20, 2012
PELHAM The ride through the 170-pound weight class continued for Richard Mills on Feb. 18.

The Winnisquam Regional High School freshman took care of business in a big way, capturing the title at the Division III State Wrestling Championship held at Pelham High School.

Mills, the top seed at 170 pounds, drew a bye in the first round Saturday before pinning Matt Blanchard of Pelham in 3:16 during their quarterfinal match. Mills got past a tough opponent in the semifinals, as Plymouth's Will Melanson went back-and-forth all match long before the Winnisqum grappler pulled out a 7-5 decision.

That set up a championship showdown with Campbell's Jared Saunders, where Mills capped off the strong day of wrestling with a 6-3 win to claim the D-III crown.

The three wins on Saturday put the freshman's record at 27-8 on the season, and he will next compete on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the NHIAA Meet of Champions. That tournament will be held at Londonderry High School.

Winnisquam's Christian Duquette was the only other Bear to pick up a victory during competition at the state championship meet. Duquette lost his first match of the 138-pound class to eventual champion Peter LaRiviere of Bow via technical fall, but regrouped in the consolation bracket to record a tight 10-9 victory over Patrick Henniq of Newport. Duquette finished his day off with a loss to Caleb Cole of Oyster River in the next round.

Newfound's Eddie O'Malley, who trains and travels with the Winnisquam team, won the state championship at 182 pounds thanks to three convincing victories. O'Malley defeated Caleb Welch of John Stark in the first round before outgunning Carson Cape of White Mountains, 11-2, in the semifinals. Windham's Chris Ferri was the only obstacle left in the way of a state crown, and O'Malley handled him in the finals, 8-2, to make it a memorable afternoon of action

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