SALEM NEWS WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
When looking at Max Leete's high school wrestling accomplishments thus far, it's hard to believe that he still has another year left on the mat.
During the 2019-20 campaign, Leete amassed a perfect 57-0 record. That came just a year after he went 53-3. But his grappling prowess doesn't stop there — not by a long shot.
En route to his first career New England championship crown, Leete secured his fourth straight Division 2 North sectional title, his third straight Division 2 state title, his third straight All-State title, and recorded his 200th career win.
The top-tier accolades prompted the Northeastern Conference to dub him the Wrestler of the Year for the third time in as many seasons. He was also named the Division 2 Outstanding Wrestler.
On the surface, it might seem like the gifted Leete is simply going through the motions at this point, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. His growth and improvements this season alone shine through. Perhaps the best proof of that was his performance in the quarterfinal round at New Englands. Leete was facing an opponent who he'd lost to in overtime a year prior, but this time around he wound up dominating him for a 7-2 decision.
Leete still has another year left to supplant his status as one of the all-time great wrestlers to come out of the North Shore, then plans on growing his legacy at the collegiate level. The proud owner of a 3.8 GPA, Leete is considering several Division 1 institutions including Brown, Bucknell and University of Virginia.
The repeat Salem News Wrestler of the Year considers his coach, Tim Rich, to be his biggest athletic influence and for "pushing me to be the best I can be and giving me wisdom that I'm sure to never forget even after my time at Danvers."
THE ALL STARS
St. John's Prep Senior
Eagles captain finished the winter with a 51-7 individual record ... Finished second overall in Marshfield tournament and third in Woburn ... Was second place finisher in Division 1 North sectional and Div. 1 state meet ... Claimed third place in All-State meet ... Named a Catholic Conference all star ... Helped Eagles to remarkable 34-0-1 campaign and fourth place at All-State tourney ... Topped Springfield Central's Darrien Stewart in overtime at Div. 1 dual meet state semifinals to help team to victory ... Owner of a 4.31 GPA and plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
St. John's Prep Sophomore
Second-year standout was champion in his weight class at both the Marshfield and Woburn tournaments ... Division 1 North sectional champion and Div. 1 state champion ... Finished fourth overall at All-States ... Catholic Conference all-star selection ... Went 56-4 overall and 35-0 in dual meets ... Had 19 pins and 14 technical falls ... Considers his pin against a Springfield Central opponent at duel meet states to be biggest performance ... Hopes to wrestle in college upon graduation.
Two-year Panthers captain helped his team to first-ever CAL/NEC meet crown ... Went 22-7 this winter with 17 pins ... Division 2 North sectional champion ... Div. 2 state finalist ... Was eighth overall at All-State meet and represented Beverly at New Englands ... Panthers' all-time wins leader with 111 wins ... Committed to Worcester Polytechnic Institute to wrestle and will major in Civil Engineering ... Owner of 3.83 GPA ... Says his biggest athletic influence is his brother, Christian, who is the only state champion in Beverly wrestling history.
Hamilton native was most consistent force for Salem wrestling ... Three-year varsity captain ... Two-time CAL/NEC league meet champion ... Two-time Division 2 North champion ... Two-time Div. 2 state champion ... Two-time All-State finalist ... New England finalist ... Will continue his wrestling career at the United States Coast Guard Academy ... Maintains a 3.4 grade point average ... Considers his family and UFC champion Conor McGregor to be his biggest influences.
Saugus High student captained the co-op squad ... Finished first in heavyweight class at the NEC/CAL Championship meet ... Claimed third place individually at state meet ... Recipient of Outstanding Wrestler Award ... Owner of 3.6 GPA ... Considers Olympic wrestling Gold medalist Kyle Snyder as his biggest athletic influence.
Team captain compiled a 54-6 individual record this winter ... Finished second overall at Division 2 state meet and third at All-States ... Was fifth in his class at New England Tournament ... Cape Ann League all-star selection for second straight year ... Maintains a 4.66 grade point average (on a 5 scale) and hopes to wrestle at the Division 1 level in college ... Considers his brother, Jack, also a remarkable wrestler now at Virginia Tech, to be his biggest athletic influence.
Two-time team captain went 31-10 this season ... Division 3 North sectional champion in his weight class ... Finished fourth individually at Division 3 state meet ... Recipient of Outstanding Wrestler Award ... Carries a 3.0 grade point average and plans on joining the Air Force upon graduation ... Considers hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to be his biggest athletic influence.
First-year standout was fourth in his class at Division 2 North sectional meet ... Placed fifth overall at Div. 2 state meet ... Finished his inaugural varsity campaign with 29 wins ... Helped Panthers claim first-ever CAL/NEC meet title ... Became the first BHS freshman to every qualify for All-States ... Had the second-most wins for a freshman in program history ... Hopes to go to a large Division. 1 university to continue wrestling ... Maintains an A-B average in honors level classes ... Credits his brother Lucas, a senior at Beverly, to be his biggest athletic influence.
Panthers' captain claimed first place in weight class at CAL/NEC meet ... Also helped his team claim its first-ever title there ... Finished the season with a 27-6 individual record ... Was unable to compete at Division 2 North sectionals or states due to injury, but coach Paul Casey says he "probably would've gone really far." ... Maintains 3.2 grade point average in the classroom ... Cites his parents as his biggest influences.
Chieftains' captain wrapped up his high school career by going 47-4 ... Took home CAL/NEC champion status ... Division 2 state champion and Div. 2 North sectional runner-up ... Finished sixth at All-States but likely would've done better if it wasn't for a dislocated elbow ... Owner of a 3.7 grade point average ... Will wrestle next season at Rochester Institute of Technology ... Considers his coach, Todd Darling, to be his biggest athletic influence.
Black-and-Blue captain went 44-9 individually with 24 pins this season ... Finished fourth in his weight class at Division 3 North sectionals ... Was third overall at Division 3 states ... Wakefield Tournament champion ... Finished third at Pentucket Holiday tournament and third at CAL/NEC meet ... Named Team MVP and NEC all-star ... Recorded his 100th career win during podium performance at sectionals ... Plans to enroll in the military upon graduation.
Marblehead/Swampscott co-op member finished first at CAL/NEC meet in his weight class ... Was third at Division 3 North sectionals and third at Div. 3 state meet ... Finished eighth at All-State championship ... Named an NEC All-Conference selection ... Compiled an impressive 34-3 record this season ... Strong student carries a 3.8 GPA and is interested in pursuing a health profession.
St. John's Prep Junior
Eagles captain went 54-7 individually this past season ... Marshfield Tournament champion also finished second overall at Woburn ... Second at Division 1 North sectional meet ... Second at Division 1 state meet ... Fifth overall at All-States and fourth at New Englands ... Catholic Conference all-star ... Irreplaceable piece for 34-0-1 Eagles, who won their 22nd straight Catholic Conference title ... Owner of a 3.96 GPA.
Black and Blue captain recorded 46 wins in final high school campaign ... Was third at Division 3 North sectional ... Claimed fourth place at Pentucket Holiday Tournament and third at Wakefield Memorial Tourney ... Finished fifth in his weight class at Division 3 state meet ... Named a league all-star ... Team captain carries a 4.38 GPA and plans to study computer science at a polytechnic college.
Captain of Peabody/Saugus co-op program was CAL/NEC champion in his weight class ... Division 3 North sectional champion also finished fifth at Div. 3 state meet ... Reached 100 career wins this season to wrap up career with a 114-28 individual record ... Team MVP and Northeastern Conference all-star selection ... Maintains a 3.66 grade point average and would like to wrestle at the Division 1 college level.
St. John's Prep Freshman
First-year standout burst onto the high school wrestling scene with impressive 54-5 individual record ... Woburn Tournament champion ... Finished third overall at Marshfield Tournament in his weight class ... Division 1 North champion and Div. 1 state champion ... Finished third overall in weight class at All-State meet ... Catholic Conference all-state selection ... Helped Eagles claim Div. 1 state championship and 22nd straight Catholic Conference title ... Hopes to wrestle at Division 1 college level.
Falcons' captain once again formed formidable 1-2 punch on the mats with teammate Max Leete ... Compiled impressive 54-4 record at 182 pounds this winter ... Division 2 North champion ... Div. 2 state champion ... Division 2 All-State champion ... Considers his overtime win in his opening All-State match to be his top performance ... Team captain for both wrestling and Northeastern Conference champion Danvers football team ... Carries a 3.85 grade point average and will attend Gettysburg College.
Beverly: Garrett McNeil, Soph., 106; Luis Rodriguez, Jr., 120; Luke Loureiro, Jr., 126; Eamon Callahan, Jr., 152; Edan Piedad, Sr., 285.
Bishop Fenwick: Jacob Vargas, Soph., 145.
Danvers: Matt Dowling, Fr., 120; Connor McCarthy, Soph., 132; Chad Abboud, Sr., 195; Brendan Whelan, Soph., 220; Evan Glynos, Soph., 285.
Essex Tech: Louis Shkliew, Sr., 195
Georgetown/Ipswich: Tre Aulson, Jr., 120; Troy Forgitano, Sr., 132.
Marblehead/Swampscott: Jorge Maldonado-Rios, Marb. Sr., 120; Noah Faverman, Marb. Soph., 106; Connor O'Brien, Swamp. Soph., 113; Erik Bazarov, Swamp. Sr., 160; Cole Patrick, Marb. Sr., 182; Brendan Rowe, Marb. Sr., 220.
Masconomet: Nick Mandracia, Soph., 113; Drew Howard, Soph., 145.
Peabody/Saugus: Dante Olowu, Jr., 160; Chase Ledbury, Soph., 138; Will Pinto, Fr., 182.
St. John's Prep: Cam Paolillo, Jr., 120; Alec Runnals, Sr., 126; Quinn Alexander, Sr., 132; Jordan Young, Jr., 145; Matt Mitchell, Soph., 152; Marty Roach, Sr., 170; Owen Gaffney, Sr., 196; Jack Blizard, Soph., 285.