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High schools: Concord places nine, takes second at Cap City wrestling

  • Concord's Sam Wagner battles at 106 pounds on his way to second place at the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord’s Tyler Simpson battles on his way to a win in the 160-pound class during the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Concord’s Noah Giffard wrestles at 195 pounds on his way to a semifinal win during the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday. Giffard was crowned tournament champion in his weight class as the Tide placed nine wrestlers overall. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Concord's Sam Wagner battles at 106 pounds on his way to second place at the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord's Noah Giffard wrestles at 195 pounds on his way to a semi-final win during the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Concord's Sam Wagner battles at 106 pounds on his way to second place at the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament at Concord High School on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Sunday, January 28, 2018

He was on his home mats. He was the top seed at 220 pounds. He’s been in top form all winter. Still, Concord High senior Alex Buteau was anxious before Saturday’s Capital City Classic wrestling tournament.

“I put a little bit of extra pressure on myself,” Buteau said. “I wanted to win.”

That extra pressure came from his past struggles at the Cap City Classic, Concord’s annual tournament that attracts some of the best wrestlers in New England. Buteau didn’t place in the tournament as a freshman or sophomore, and last year he wound up sixth.

On Saturday, Buteau put the struggles behind him and rose to the pressure by rolling through his weight class, pinning a tough opponent in the final and claiming the 220 title.

“(Buteau) is wrestling at a real high level right now,” Concord coach Ham Munnell said. “He’s been great all year, but after Christmas break he really kicked it up a notch. That was a great match in the final; that kid is a pretty good kid in our state, and Al destroyed him.”

Buteau was one of three champions for the Tide along with juniors Issac Gladey (170) and Noah Giffard (195). Sophomore Sam Wagner (106) also made the finals, and the Crimson Tide finished second as a team with 215 points. Rhode Island’s Bishop Hendricken was first with 235.5 and Haverhill (Mass.) High was third with 175.

“It was the most competitive tournament we’ve had in a long, long time,” Munnell said. “It was 25 teams, five different states, New England place winners, it was loaded in a lot of weight classes. We placed nine kids and all nine of those kids who placed should be proud of what they did.”

That starts with Buteau, one of the Tide’s senior captains who is undefeated in-state this season and pinned all five opponents he faced on Saturday. The final pin came against Manchester Memorial’s Alex Ashooh, a wrestler Buteau has now beaten three times this year. He claimed a 1-0 decision against Ashooh in the final of Keene’s Minickiello Tournament and then pinned him in a regular-season dual meet. But the third meeting was unlike the first two.

“He definitely mixed it up this time,” Buteau said. “Before he wasn’t really taking shots, but today he was very offensive.”

Buteau handled all of the extra shots, and turned one around in the middle of the first period to take a 2-0 lead that became 4-0 with back points. It stayed that way through the second period, and then Buteau ended things quickly at the start of the third. Ashooh was on top to start the period, but, in one explosive whirlwind, Buteau escaped, controlled and pinned off the whistle to end the match.

“Winning at this tournament in my senior year,” Buteau said, “it’s special.”

Giffard agreed.

“Out of all the tournaments we go to, the one at home is always the best one to win,” the junior said.

Giffard was the top seed at 195, a weight class that only had 14 wrestlers in it on Saturday. So Giffard got a bye into the quarterfinals and only had to wrestle three matches, but he won all three by pin.

In the finals, Giffard faced Bishop Hendricken’s Cameron Bailey, who was extremely cautious. With Bailey playing defense, no one scored in the first period. But Bailey was warned for stalling in the second, and once he came out of his shell, Giffard owned him. He took a 4-1 lead before wrapping Bailey in a cradle at the end of the second period and pinning him at the buzzer.

“Wrestling is give and take, and you need some pressure against you to get off some offense, so wrestling someone like that who is backing off is never fun,” Giffard said. “After he got a stalling call he started to be more aggressive and that’s when I could really get my offense going.”

Gladey also faced a problematic opponent in the 170 final, Goffstown’s David Gibson, a tall wrestler who had a significant reach advantage over Gladey.

“It was very tricky to wrestle him because if you shoot on him he can do some crazy move and score on you,” Gladey said. “So you have to be very careful.”

Rather than shoot, Gladey waited for Gibson to shoot and then used his strength advantage to turn defense into offense. Gibson would hit his shots, but once they were locked up, Gladey quickly took control. That strategy led to a 2-1 lead after the first, a 6-4 edge after two and an 8-5 final score.

It’s another big win this winter for Gladey, who has made huge improvements from last season.

“I spent all summer practicing, going to different tournaments and just getting a lot better,” Gladey said.

“He’s committed, he’s grown up, he’s matured,” Munnell said of Gladey. “He’s a fun guy to have in the team room. He shows up every day and he works hard every day. He’s a very athletic kid and he’s fun to watch, and he’s only been wrestling two years, so it’s pretty darn good.”

Concord just missed out on a perfect finals record with Wagner’s 1-0 loss at 106. Wagner controlled most of the match against Mike Glynn from Central Catholic (Mass.), but Wagner was penalized a point in the second period for a using a full nelson, which turned out to be the only point of the match.

Concord’s other place winners were Tyler Simpson (fourth at 160), Isaac Habimana (fifth 152), Liddon Ling (sixth 145), Nick Bunch (sixth 138) and Jack Sargent (sixth 113).

Winnisquam’s Kobe Briand took sixth at 152 and led the Bears (36 points) to 21st as a team. Bow’s Mark Borak won his first two matches at 145, lost in the quarterfinals, won his first consolation match and then lost to Concord’s Ling on a late takedown to just miss out on placing. The Falcons were 22nd in the team standing with 32 points.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341, tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Pembroke 43, Merrimack Valley 41

Key players:PA – Noah Cummings (20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), Jake Sherman (6 points, 4 steals), Jack Lehoullier (6 points); MV – Jake Hebert (13 points), Kyle Dube (12 points), Ryan Defina (7 points)

Highlights/key moments: With the game tied in the waning moments, Pembroke called a clear-out play for Cummings and he delivered in the clutch with the game-winning hoop as time expired on a tough shot to give the Spartans a hard-fought victory. MV held a 24-23 edge at halftime, but Pembroke took a 40-37 lead into the fourth. Brandon Linscott, Sean Menard, Tyler Smith and Justin Smith were key to the defensive effort.

Coach’s quote: “It was a great high school basketball game. We feel really fortunate to win the game. I take my hat off to Merrimack Valley. They’re going to be a tough out down the road.” – Pembroke’s Rich Otis

Records: Pembroke 6-3; Merrimack Valley 8-3

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Hopkinton 32, Mascoma 13

Key players: Hopkinton – Taylor Signor (11 points, 3 steals), Ellie Owen (7 rebounds), Amelia Thomas (6 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: The Hawks held Mascoma to five points in the second half en route to a 10th striaght victory.

Coach’s quote: “It’s tough to play back-to-back, but I was happy with the way the girls played defensively.” – Hopkinton’s Patrick Roye

Records: Hopkinton 10-2; Mascoma 4-9

Franklin 54, Somersworth 21

Key players: Franklin – Hannah Hicks (15 points), Lauren Marsh (13 points)

Highlights/key moments: Marsh knocked down a shot at the halftime buzzer on Friday night to give the Golden Tornadoes a 10-point lead at the break and Franklin expanded the advantage from there.

Coach’s quote: “The first half was sloppy, but we did a good job of controlling tempo in the second half.” – Franklin’s JJ Winters

Records: Franklin 4-8; Somersworth 0-9

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Concord 6, Kingswood 0

Key players: Concord – Jaelyn Kelleher (goal), Emily Forward (goal), Madelyn Farrelly (goal), Joanna Dustin (goal), Chantelle Levasseur (goal), Nicole Jones (first goal of season), Maria Armaganian (3 assists)

Highlights/key moments: Concord cruised as Crimson Tide goalie Abigail Corbett kept Kingswood off the board for her second shutout of the season.

Coach’s quote: “Tide continues to roll with another good team win today. I thought we did a great job of creating opportunities for ourselves all over the ice. We continually had all five players involved, which is how we want to play.” – Concord’s Patrick McDonough

Records: Concord 5-6; Kingswood 2-7

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Concord 7, Central-West 1

Key players: Concord – Drew Livingston (3 goals), Mike Stoddard (2 goals), Devin Philbrick (goal, 2 assists), Derek Kelleher (goal, 2 assists), Colin Kastle (3 assists), Matt Hauschild (2 assists), Alex Reynolds (9 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Concord built a two-goal cushion after the first period and coasted to victory, marking the first career win for Reynolds between the pipes.

Coach’s quote: “It was a good team win. We moved the puck well and got contributions from everyone.” – Concord’s Dunc Walsh

Records: Concord 8-1; Central-West 1-9