Gazette Wrestler of Year: Frankie Weir of Hampshire
Hampshire Regional senior Frankie Weir, top, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Wrestling Player of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »
Frankie Weir entered his senior season at Hampshire Regional with lofty expectations and left with a lasting wrestling legacy.
After a season in which he placed third in the 170-pound weight class at the all-state tournament, second at the state Division 3 tournament and first at the Western Massachusetts Division 3 meet, Weir has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Wrestling Player of the Year.
Using a blend of strength, smarts and an experimental array of “funky” techniques he often invented himself, Weir dominated opponents on the mat this season, just as he had throughout his career with the Raiders.
“The kid finished a career with 160 high school wins,” Hampshire coach Todd Bryant said. “That’s unbelievable. I mean, there’s not a whole lot of kids in the state that have done that.”
Weir aimed high entering his final high school season, saying before the postseason began that he wanted to “make enough noise” at all-states to warrant consideration for the New England championships.
“I had never placed at all-states before, so I really wanted to make my senior season count,” Weir said. “My dad kept on reminding me that it was my last season, and I had to go out with a bang.”
Bryant said Weir tapped into a side of his wrestling game at the all-state tournament that he hadn’t seen in his star pupil before.
“It looked like he took away that caution that he used to wrestle with and he really went after kids,” Bryant said. “It was an amazing thing to see. It really was rewarding in a lot of ways, to just see him relax, let loose a little bit and just wrestle beautifully.”
Weir’s impressive showing against the best wrestlers in Massachusetts earned him the trip to New Englands he was looking for.
“I got two wins there and any wins at New Englands is huge,” he said. “It was definitely fun.”
Bryant said he most proud of the way Weir embraced the mentorship role that came with being the team’s lone senior. That outlook not only made his job as coach easier, but also made the season more enjoyable for the other kids on the team.
“I think the thing that impressed me most this year was his whole approach coming into the season,” Bryant said. “He came in looking to help the team. He came in with a perspective that he was gonna be the captain, and he had some ideas and directions and focus for the team. He really emerged as a leader.”
For Weir, filling that leadership role was a way of giving back to the team and making sure the Raiders would be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
“I wanted to set the bar for everyone and raise the intensity, especially at practice,” he said. “That’s just gonna make the team that much better in the coming years.”
Though Weir will graduate this spring and play football at Westfield State University in the fall, his younger brother Brendan, a sophomore who placed first at 120 pounds at the D3 state tournament, is primed to step right into his shoes.
Frankie Weir said he plans on making it back next year for as many of Brendan’s matches as he can and hopes to get into coaching through guiding his younger brother.
“They’re definitely in good hands,” Frankie Weir said.
Bryant doesn’t think it’ll be possible for Hampshire to ever truly replace Frankie Weir, but he is looking forward to seeing who steps up in his sizable absence.
“Somebody will have looked up to Frankie enough to say ‘I wanna be that kid, I wanna be him when I’m older,’ he said. “I think that’s a legacy that Frankie’s leaving for us, he’s leaving some room for somebody to really fill his shoes.”
John Lachowicz, junior, Hampshire Regional
Bobby O’Connell, junior, South Hadley
Sam Rexer, senior, Gateway Regional
Chris Rojas, junior, South Hadley
Brendan Weir, sophomore, Hampshire Regional
Frankie Weir, senior, Hampshire Regional
Riley Baker, junior, South Hadley
Andrew Goskowicz, senior, Gateway Regional
Joe Jones, eighth-grader, Gateway Regional
Shane O’Connor, junior, Granby
Harrison Tremaine, senior, Northampton
Chris Toomey, senior, Frontier Regional
Travis Warren, senior, South Hadley