By Jean DePlacido
---- — After being runner-up for the past three years, Ryan Garlitz became the second New England champion from the Masco Youth Wrestling Team.
Garlitz, a seventh grader from Manchester, who won the state championship last month by defeating the same wrestler from Connecticut he had lost to last year in the 81-pound weight division.
Another state champion from Masco Youth Wrestling, Jack Darling of Boxford, was second at the New England Meet. His only loss came against Hayden Brown of New Hampshire, who is nationally ranked.
Darling, who is 12 years old and in the seventh grade, and his father Todd recently went to the 25th annual National High School Coaches Association Wrestling Championships at Virginia Beach, where Jack placed third. There were over 200 high school wrestlers and 300 middle schoolers at the NHSCAs, and Darling defeated opponents from Oklahoma (8-0), New York (6-0) and Connecticut (by pin) before dropping a tight 2-1 decision to another New York wrestler.
In the consolation round, Darling defeated a boy from Maryland (7-0) before besting an opponent from Connecticut (4-1) to capture third place in the 88-pound class.
At New Englands, Masco Youth Wrestling finished third as a town team while Masco’s Mercury Rising took fourth as a club team. Josiah Burns of Middleton was third in the Middle School division, and Colby Holland placed fifth.
Other place winners included Max Leete of Danvers, who was third in the Novice class. In the Intermediate division Nick Sirota finished first, Alex Schaueblin took second, Ian Darling and Miles Darling placed third, and Luke Connolly and Colin Nugent were fifth.
“The surprise of the tourney for us was Burns, who went 5-1 on the day and beat two opponents he had lost to at sectionals and states,” said Todd Darling, who founded the Masco Youth Wrestling program. “He nearly pinned the Mass. state champ with a devastating cradle; that same kid had pinned him four weeks ago. Leete was also 5-1 and took third by beating the Mass. state champ, 6-0, after losing to him 3-1 at sectionals.
“Garlitz competes all over the country. He’s technically our best wrestler and makes all the kids in the room better.”