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March 6, 2012

Masco Youth Wrestling wins state championship

Masconomet Youth Wrestling stars Ryan Garlitz, Jack Darling, Colby Holland and Joey Perkins all emerged as Massachusetts state champions, as their team captured the Novice (grades five and six) state title recently at Algonquin High School.

Garlitz, who is from Manchester, successfully defended his state crown in the 70-pound category, and Holland, a Danvers resident, turned in a dominating performance to win at 84 pounds after being runner-up a year ago. Topsfield's Perkins copped the crown at 104 pounds with a decisive second-period pin, and Darling pinned his way to the finals and won the championship in the 73-pound class, 4-0. In state and sectional tournaments, nobody scored a point against him.

Masconomet piled up 175 points to handily beat runner-up Springfield (138) and third-place Chelmsford (135). The Masco program sent 10 wrestlers born in 2000 and 2001 to the competition, and six made it all the way to the finals.

There were other very strong performances, including a fine effort by Trevor Nugent of Boxford, who placed fourth at 64 pounds. Harrison Shapiro of Boxford fell behind 0-5 in his final match (99 pounds) but rallied before losing a 5-2 decision. Colin Vallis of Boxford went to the finals in the 89-pound class before losing to Matt Cabezas of Methuen, who has won quite a few national titles. In the three losses to Cabezas this season, Vallis wrestled better every time.

Tim Puglisi of Boxford, Achilles Gikas of Peabody and Jesse Burns of Middleton also competed at states.

The coaching staff includes Todd Darling, Peter Vallis, Bob Garlitz, Mike Shapiro, Joe Nugent and Frankie Gwynne.

Three years ago, the program branched out to include not only Topsfield, Middleton and Boxford (although 70 percent of the youngsters are still from the Masco district) but also such places as Salem, Georgetown, Ipswich and Peabody that did not have youth programs.

Masconomet will be well-represented at the New England Youth Championships at Nashua (N.H.) High School on Saturday.

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