Area wrestling preview: Concord appears ready to challenge for more D-I hardware

  • Concord’s Isaac Gladey competes in the 170-pound final of last season’s Division I Wrestling Tournament in Londonderry. Gladey won. Monitor file

  • Concord's Isaac Gladey competes in the 170-pound finals, taking first place, during the Division I Wrestling Championships at Londonderry High School in Londonderry on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Concord’s Isaac Gladey reacts following his victory in the 170-pound final of last season’s Division I Tournament in Londonderry. Gladey is one of the Tide’s three returning New England qualifiers. Monitor file

  • 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

  • Concord's Noah Giffard competes in the 195-pound Division I semifinal championship match at Londonderry High School in Londonderry on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Concord’s Noah Giffard (right) competes in the 195-pound semifinals of the D-I Tournament at Londonderry High School in February. Giffard finished third in Division I and third at the Meet of Champions as a junior. Monitor file

  • 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

  • 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
Published: 12/5/2018 12:03:18 AM

Most of the biggest guns from last year – Isaac Gladey, Sam Wagner and Noah Giffard – are all back for the Concord High wrestling team. Add to that five more wrestlers who finished in the top five at the Division I meet last winter, an influx of promising new talent and some depth at heavyweight, and the Crimson Tide looks like it will once again be in the mix for some championship hardware in what could be a very intriguing D-I wrestling season.

“The state is strong,” said Ham Munnell, who is entering his 23rd year as Concord’s head coach. “We’re relying on some kids who have only been wrestling for a year or two. They’ve done a lot of offseason stuff and they seem like they’re doing really well, but I don’t know how they’re going to compete.”

Concord finished second at the D-I championships for a third straight time last season and was also second at the Meet of Champions. The Tide finished behind Timberlane at both events as the Owls won their 17th D-I title in the last 18 years and claimed their 15th consecutive MOC crown.

But there’s actually some uncertainty swirling around the Timberlane program as the 2018-19 season is set to begin. Concord, which opens Wednesday night at Manchester Central, has the talent and potential to take advantage of an opportunity in a big tournament if the Owls somehow slip. But the Tide will also be contending with loaded teams from Salem and Pinkerton, the third- and fourth-place teams, respectively, from last year’s the D-I championships.

Wagner was the 106-pound champ at both the D-I meet and the MOC last season, despite battling the lingering effects of pneumonia at both events. The senior will likely bounce between 106 and 113 this season. Gladey was the D-I champ at 170 and finished runner-up at MOC a year ago. Giffard finished third at 195 in the D-I meet and at MOC. Gladey will be wrestling at 182 to open the season at Central while Giffard will be at 220.

“(Wagner, Gladey and Giffard) all look good and look like they’ve been doing the right stuff during the offseason,” Munnell said.

Gladey, Giffard and Nick Bunch will be Concord’s three senior captains. Bunch was one of six Concord wrestlers who took fifth at the 2017-18 D-I championships. Bunch wrestled at 138 last year but he’s getting a chance to compete at 152 this winter.

The other returning fifth-place wrestlers are senior Tyler Simpson, junior Ethan Comeau and sophomores Jack Sargent and Trey Fortier. Simpson took that D-I fifth place at 160, but he’ll be competing at 170 on Wednesday night while Comeau will stay at 120 pounds for now. Fortier was at 126 last year but he’ll be at 132 on Wednesday while Sargent jumps from 113 to 126.

Junior Tristain Sharich has been extremely dedicated during the offseason and could grind out some points this year at 195. Ghana Darjee (106), Ricky Nava (113), Evan Berube (145), Dan Rosales (160) and Hunter Jeffers (285) will also be in the starting lineup against Manchester Central. Jeffers, a freshman, is one of three new heavyweights on the roster along with senior Cam Thompson and sophomore Dyar Muneam.

Junior James Bonnell (138) will also get a chance to start on Wednesday. Bonnell, junior Amiri Khan and sophomore Abbas Abdulrahman have all gotten Munnell’s attention during preseason.

“They have really just blossomed and look like they could be diamonds in the rough,” Munnell said.

Concord won’t have to wait long to see just how rough. The Tide will wrestle at Salem’s Blue Devil Classic this Saturday.

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


Division: III

Coach: Brock Hoffman (5th year)

Last year: D-III runner-up

Returning starters: Wyatt Reinhardt, so.; Colby Rousseau, so.; Zack Anderson, sr.; Anna Krause, so.; AJ Bliss, so., Alex Boufford, sr.; Eli DiPhilippo, so.; Matthew Pingree, so.; Alex Shultz, jr.; John Sutera, sr.; Will Zachistal, jr.

Top newcomers: Skylar Hattendorf, fr.; Ryan Nicholls, so.

Outlook: The Falcons return a ton of talent from last year’s team that finished as the D-III runner-up. Anderson (126 pounds), Boufford (170), Sutera (195) and Zachistal (285) all finished second at the division championships last year, while Rousseau (113), Pingree (120) and Bliss (138) all took third. The Falcons will be looking to challenge Plymouth, the two-time defending champs who have won three out of the last four team titles and finished in the top two in seven of the last eight years. “Our lineup is pretty solid and we’re prepared for war,” Hoffmann said.

Teams to beat: Plymouth, Pelham, Campbell

John Stark

Division: III

Coach: Stephen McDonald (1st year)

Last year: 10th at D-III meet

Returning starters: Thomas Johnston, so., 170; Dawson Ruoff, so., 160; Jaxson Wood, so., 152; Gifford Colburn, so., 160

Outlook: The Generals graduated their only wrestler who qualified for the Meet of Champions last season, Jeffrey Johnston, and return with a small and young team totaling eight strong, including six sophomores. As a result, John Stark may struggle to fill out a complete lineup each match, but first-year coach McDonald sees the potential in this group. “We are very aggressive, young, and hungry wrestling team that wants to see how far we can go,” McDonald said. “(We’ve) got a lot to learn about the sport of wrestling. I would honestly say our main goal is to keep growing and learning as a team, we are young so we should take advantage of that. All I need to say is get ready because we are coming in hard.”

Teams to beat: Plymouth, Bow


Division: III

Coach: Brian Kellogg (1st year)

Last year: 8th at D-III meet

Top returners: Reilly Moskalenko, sr. 220; Andrew Tucker, sr. 120; Gabe Benedict, sr. 138; Brady Lombard, sr., 170

Top newcomers: Max Salathe, Sr. (152)

Outlook: Moskalenko, who finished third at the D-III championships last year at 220, is the only returning D-III place winner, but first-year coach Kellogg is optimistic about this team. “With lots of experienced seniors, some proven younger wrestlers in the ranks and a fuller roster than it has seen in many years, Kearsarge looks to have a much stronger showing this year at dual meets and at end-of-season tournaments,” Kellogg said.


Division: III

Coach: Tom Osmer (2nd year)

Last year: 7th at D-III meet

Returning starters: Kobe Briand, sr., 160; Hunter Finemore, sr., 132; Caden Remillard, sr., 220; Cam Roberts, sr., 145

Outlook: Finemore finished second at the D-III championships last year at 120 while Briand took fourth at 152. Both will move up in weight this year, leaving the Bears a little thin in the lower weight classes. Remillard and Roberts are part of a strong senior class looking to make some noise this winter in D-III. In order to do so, they’ll have to give less experienced wrestlers some guidance. “We have a lot of younger kids stepping into varsity roles for the first time and some new faces on the team,” Osmer said. “We’re looking to develop through the season.”

Teams to beat: Plymouth, Bow, White Mountains

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