Wrestling Notebook: Milford takes on all comers

Wrestling Notebook: Milford takes on all comers
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Milford coach P.J. Boccia backs the adage that iron strengthens iron.

Boccia jumped at the opportunity to compete against state powers St. John’s Prep and Central Catholic in a quad-meet early in the season. The Scarlet Hawks didn’t win either match, but made the Eagles (37-25) and Raiders (34-32) work to win.

“It was a great opportunity for us to go up against the best,” said Boccia, whose team is 17-2. “When I wrestled here for Nick Zacchilli and Garth Yohn, they always scheduled the toughest teams to get us ready for the postseason.”

Boccia was a New England champion at Milford before earning All-Southern Conference honors twice at Appalachian State. Boccia joined the Milford coaching staff then took over the program in 2006.

The Hockomock League was still a power conference. The competition was tough and Boccia relished that atmosphere.

“It was always a tough league,” Boccia said. “When I was there, we won the league one year, then you had Franklin, North Attleboro and Foxboro all winning state team titles. The league was deep and is getting even better now – there really is no easy match in our league.”

Boccia knew heading into the Fall 2 season last spring that his team was going to be strong for the next few years. A host of talented underclassmen to go along with a trio of eighth-graders helped the Scarlet Hawks go 11-2 and advance to the Div. 2 Central final before losing to eventual state champion Natick.

“It was a little tough with the shortened season,” Boccia said. “I knew we were going to be good but I was hoping we could have gotten more matches.”

Boccia praised Dan Duset for his work with the Milford youth program. Many of those wrestlers are playing key roles now. Serving notice are a trio of junior captains, 220-pounder Hampton Kaye-Kuter (25-1, third at the Lowell Holidays), 170-pounder Ryan Donovan (24-5), 152-pounder Paul Hough (12-8) and senior captain Danny Alves (21-5 at 160).

Freshmen start the lineup as Aiden Baum is 23-1 at 106 pounds and Mike Boulanger is 24-4 at 113. The rest of the starting crew consists of seniors Alex Castro (13-9 at 126) and Jake Cruz (14-10 at 182), juniors Joseph Testa (14-4 at 132), Patrick Murray (10-12 at 138), Cameron Phillips (17-2 at 195) and Michael Mastroianni (14-11 at 285), sophomore Robbie Lyons (22-5 at 120) and freshman Luke Donis (9-5 at 145).

Pulling ranks

Former Connecticut wrestler turned reporter Max Schwartz has taken on the daunting task of trying to rank the top high school wrestlers in New England. Many Bay State wrestlers cracked his latest poll on Jan. 26.

Start at 106 pounds where freshmen rule as James Tildsley (Billerica), Scotty Moreau (Lowell Catholic) and Milford’s Baum are the top three ranked wrestlers in New England. Monty Tech standout Isiac Paulino is No. 1 at 113 with St. John’s Prep’s Alex Schaeublin fourth. Matthew Botello of Hingham is second at 120, while Stanford-bound Tyler Knox of St. John’s Prep is the top-ranked wrestler at 126, with Monty Tech’s Jonah Paulino fourth.

A trio of wrestlers crack the top four at 132 pounds: Sid Tildsley (Shawsheen) is first, Adam Schaeublin (St. John’s Prep) is third and Austin Monteiro (Minnechaug) checks in at fourth. Dracut’s Ty Stewart is third at 138, followed closely by Jimmy Glynn (Central Catholic). Hingham’s Mark Botello is second at 145 and Brent Nicolosi (Haverhill) is third. St. John’s Prep’s Rawson Iwanicki is the top-ranked wrestler at 152, while Michael Bobola (Xaverian) and Rafael Knapp (Algonquin) are 1-2 at 160.

Nashoba’s Josh Cordio is No. 1 at 182, Springfield Central’s Desmond McLaughlin comes in at No. 14 at 170. Natick’s Bennett Sonnebohn is seventh at 195, while Burlington’s Tim Vadnais and Kaye-Kuter are fourth and fifth, respectively, at 220.

Chelmsford freshman Thomas Brown was ranked the No. 1 heavyweight, though Bridgewater-Raynham junior Dominic Silva served notice by defeating Brown (2-1) and Lowell’s Gustavo Ventura (1-0) to capture the Woburn Invitational.

St. John’s Prep as a team was ranked No. 1 in New England, while Hingham checks in at No. 10.

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