Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division I championships
At Concord High School, 9 a.m.
Top-seeded area wrestlers: Concord – Nate Engel (4th at 113 pounds), Connor Stadnicki (3rd at 120), Brandon Simpson (4th at 126), Alex Kamau (4th at 132), Chris Munnell (3rd at 138), Ian Wagner (4th at 152), Calvin Crowell (4th at 170), George Tarwo (3rd at 182), Walters Ndi (2nd at 195), Dylan Naylor (4th at 285).
NOTES: After finishing fifth in this event last year, the Crimson Tide is hoping to jump up a few spots this season. Concord will have to work to get there, but effort is something Tide Coach Ham Munnell doesn’t have to worry about with this team.
“The kids have wrestled tough all season and they always show up,” Munnell said. “We don’t have to talk about showing up with this group; they don’t know how to not wrestle tough, but this is a pretty tough tournament.”
Timberlane is the favorite to win its 15th straight D-I title, but Londonderry may give the Owls the kind of challenge they haven’t had in recent years. Nashua North has big-time point scorers, but the Titans don’t have the same depth as Concord. Ndi, the defending D-I champ, is the only proven star on the Tide’s roster. After that, Concord is hoping to get some breakout performances from its young talent and use some of the edge that comes from wrestling in its home gym.
“We’ve got a lot of good wrestlers, we just don’t have a lot of great wrestlers yet, but we have 14 guys with goals of placing, and they like wrestling at home,” Munnell said. “But some of those weight classes are pretty deep, so they will have to wrestle for everything they get.”
Division III championships
At Windham High School, 9 a.m.
Top-seeded area wrestlers: Bow – Brendan Mooney (4th at 126), Pete LaRiviere (1st at 138), Anthony Roberts (1st at 195); Franklin – Patrick Kaplan (3rd at 285); John Stark – Nick Widmann (1st at 126), Colton Millette (4th at 138), Terry Zervos (3rd at 145), Andrew Hewey (2nd at 152), Kellan Brien (4th at 182), Zach Feudner (3rd at 195), Isaiah Prevo (4th at 285); Winnisquam – Tristan Mulleavey (4th at 106), Logan Patten (3rd at 113), Blake Duval (4th at 120), Richard Mills (1st at 170), Dakota Van Tassel (4th at 195), Billy Chavenelle (4th at 220).
NOTES: Two-time defending champion Windham looks poised to claim another D-III crown, although Plymouth should challenge the Jaguars on their home mats. John Stark was the runner-up at this event last year and in 2011, but after losing half of the ’13 starting lineup to graduation, it might difficult for the Generals to reach that level again this year.
“Our goal for this weekend is to place in the top three,” Stark Coach John Widmann said. “It’s going to be tough. Windham, Plymouth and Campbell are all very strong, and we don’t have a full lineup, but that’s what we’re striving for.”
Winnisquam was fourth last year and the Bears certainly have the potential to finish there or maybe even higher this season. Mills was upset in this tournament last year and finished fourth, so this year he’s been on a redemption mission and is the favorite at 170. Patten was a runner up at 106 last winter.
Bow’s LaRiviere was a D-III champ at 130 as a freshman and at 138 as sophomore, and he was the 145 runner-up last year. He’s back down to 138 this year and has put together an impressive season. Roberts has battled through some injury this winter to earn the top seed at 195.