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Bow LaRiviere, Concord’s Ndi, Benincasa and Losacano earn trips to New Englands

DERRY – After a near-miss fourth last year, Peter LaRiviere’s goal was a top-three at yesterday’s Meet of Champions, which also means qualifying for the New England wrestling championships. So when the Bow junior found himself in the 145-pound finals, a trip to the New England meet already secured, he allowed himself a moment of celebration.

“I was ecstatic to be in the finals,” LaRiviere said.

The emotions didn’t stop during the title bout against Manchester Central’s Azalkhon Sarvolov, the Division I champion and top seed. LaRiviere, a two-time D-III champ, and Sarvolov went back and forth on the mat and scoreboard, riling the crowd at Pinkerton Academy before Sarvolov claimed a 13-9 win and the title.

“The whole match was a rush,” LaRiviere said. “I just wanted to make New Englands, so I’m happy.”

Concord’s Walters Ndi (195 pounds) and Vinny Benincasa (152) also had runner-up finishes, and the Crimson Tide’s Dan Losacano (120) took third, so all three will be joining LaRiviere at the New England meet.

Timberlane won its 10th straight MOC title, as expected, with a staggering 241.5 points. Pinkerton (119) took second with Nashua North (108.5) third. Concord finished eighth overall with 72 points, a drop from last year’s sixth and the six runner-ups the Tide earned from 2004-09, but still not a bad day in the eyes of Coach Ham Munnell.

“We brought seven kids, placed four and qualified three, which is more than I thought,” Munnell said. “We didn’t have a good finals round, but all in all it was a great day.”

John Stark (39 points), the D-III runner-up last week, finished tied for 13th with Bishop Guertin, Bedford and Plymouth. Bow tied for 25th with 22 points, all coming courtesy of LaRiviere, and Kearsarge was 30th with five.

LaRiviere’s day started with a second-period pin against Pinkerton’s Brett Wilson. He followed that up with a first-period upset pin (1:56) against second-seeded Shaun Ahearn of Timberlane.

“I switched him, and then put him on his back from the switch,” LaRiviere said. “That was the biggest win of the day for me.”

A 4-1 decision over Londonderry’s Will Bean then put LaRiviere in the finals against Sarvolov, the top seed. LaRiviere hit the first shot of the match, worked it for the first two points and held a 2-1 lead after the first period.

Sarvolov came out aggressive in the second and built a 9-2 advantage. But LaRiviere answered with five points in the final 20 seconds of the period to make it 9-7 heading into the third. LaRiviere nearly pinned Sarvolov with 58 seconds left in the match, but he muscled out of it and eventually held on for the decision.

“(Sarvolov) was wicked strong,” LaRiviere said. “Too strong.”

It looked like Nashua North’s Joe Chimelski had the same opinion of Concord’s Ndi. Chimelski lost to Ndi in the D-I 185 final last week, and he kept on the defensive in yesterday’s rematch.

“We didn’t think (Chimelski) was going to try to score, just kind of stall and hope for something good to happen, and that’s what happened,” Munnell said.

What was good for Chimelski was a mistake from Ndi, a one-point penalty for locking hands in the second period. That gave Chimelski a 2-0 lead and he made it stand up for a 2-1 decision and the title. It was the first in-state loss of the year for Ndi (37-1), who still has a good chance to make some noise next weekend in Providence, R.I.

Benincasa came through with a 2-1 decision in the semifinals over Nashua South’s Tyler Ellwood, who beat Benincasa for the D-I title. But the Concord senior didn’t do enough in the final against Sanborn’s Jon Scheidegger, the No. 1 seed, and dropped a 4-1 decision.

“(Scheidegger) outwrestled us,” Munnell said. “Vinny is a tough kid, he did a great job getting to the finals and beating Ellwood was a huge win. I just wish he finished his day with a win.”

Losacano did finish his day with a win, which meant a trip to the New England meet after he just missed out last year when he was fourth. Losacano started his day with two wins by decision (11-1 and then 8-6 over John Stark’s Codi Gaudreau), but lost in the semifinals to Salem’s John Rheaume, who also beat Losacano last week in the D-I championship. The Concord senior bounced back with a pin in the consolation semifinals and a 6-4 win over Gaudreau in the third/fourth-place match.

“Codi wrestled him better the second time than he did the first. He’s a special kid and he battled every match,” Stark Coach Bill Walton said of Gaudreau, who finished his career at Stark with the school record in wins (118) and pins.

John Stark also got a fourth-place result from Nick Widman, just a sophomore. Widman won his first match by pin, then beat Central’s Kenton Thompson-Kennedy, 6-5, before losing to Timberlane’s Ryan Peters in the semifinals. Widman took an 11-1 major decision in his first consolation match, but then lost to Thompson-Kennedy in the third/fourth match.

“Nick’s got a heck of a heart and we expect great things from him,” Walton said.

Concord freshman Connor Stadnicki (106) was the fourth Tide wrestler to place, taking fourth at 106. He won his first two matches by decision (5-4 and 8-2) before losing a 3-0 decision to eventual champion Tyler Fitzpatrick of Timberlane. Stadnicki held a 3-1 lead in the second period in the third/fourth place, but he eventually dropped a tough 5-3 decision to Londonderry’s Amir Daouk, who also beat Stadnicki in the third/fourth match last week at the D-I meet.

Concord’s Nick Engel went 1-2 at 160, taking a 9-7 decision in his first bout before dropping the next two. Kearsarge’s Lucas Beltz went 2-2 at 132. Beltz won his first match, an 8-3 decision over Goffstown’s Damin Rakmonov, then lost a 4-2 overtime decision to Pinkerton’s Dakota Krol. Beltz pinned his first opponent in the consolation bracket before losing to Timberlane’s Dan Scalzo.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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