Hampshire Regional brothers ready to pin down competition
Hampshire Regional sophomore Brendan Weir, left, seen here wrestling Josh Lacosse of Franklin Tech in the 120-pound class during January, is undefeated this season in that class and the top seed for the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament.
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Hampshire Regional senior Frankie Weir of Hampshire Regional, top, seen here wrestling against Gabe Vorce of Franklin Tech in January, is the top seed in the 170-pound class for the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament.
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WESTHAMPTON — Frankie and Brendan Weir are brothers in very much the traditional sense. They look alike, they sound alike and they’re nearly inseparable. But when the two don their spandex singlets and headgear and take to the mat for the Hampshire Regional wrestling team, their unique identities become more clear.
“It’s funny, one of our coaches said watching me and my brother wrestle is like watching two different sports entirely,” Frankie, a senior, said. “I mean, we hit the same moves, but we have different styles.”
Together, Frankie and his younger sophomore brother Brendan, have combined to help lead the Raiders to a 17-6 record this season. Individually, the Raiders’ vaunted wrestling duo tasted defeat only twice.
“I had only two losses, and they were good close matches,” said Frankie, who competed in the 170-pound weight class for a majority of the season. “One of them was a legit kid who’s a strong wrestler. The other one was the first tournament back (from winter break). I wasn’t really in shape, and I’m going to see the kid at All-States.”
Brendan, who is the reigning Division 3 106-pound state champion, wrestled primarily in the 120-pound class this year and finished his regular season undefeated.
“I’m very proud of my season (and) going into the postseason undefeated, 34-0,” he said. “I’ve already beaten everyone in western Mass., but I’m definitely going into this weekend knowing that they’re tough kids.”
Both enter the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament as the top seeds in their respective weight classes. Brendan is also ranked 10th (third in Division 3) and Frankie third (first in D-3) in the state, according the Masswresling.com.
They said their goals are to win at sectionals, win the state tournament and make enough noise at the All-State tournament to be considered for the New England championship meet.
“I’ve still got to get prepared, and I’ve been working hard at practice,” Brendan said. “I’m definitely looking forward to having some fun this postseason.”
The sectional tournament starts today at Monument Mountain in Great Barrington. First-round matches start at 3 p.m. Quarterfinal matches and the first two consolation rounds will follow. The championship continues into Saturday with semifinal matches at 11:30 a.m. The championship round starts at 6 p.m.
These last few tournaments will be an especially emotional time for the Weir brothers, as, after nine years wrestling together, it will be the last time the pair will compete as teammates.
Frankie, who will attend Westfield State University this fall, major in criminal justice major and play football, said the separation from his brother will be tough to swallow.
“It’s going to be hard leaving the team, especially (Brendan), because we do everything together,” he said. “We train together and we always coach each other, so it’ll be weird next year not being here.
“But it just makes you want to wrestle that much harder, because for me, being a senior, this is it.”
Added Brendan, “It’s gonna be different, I think, especially in a team aspect. I’m going to have a bigger role in practice, and I’ll have to take on a big responsibility.”
Part of what makes the Weir brothers’ relationship special is how closely the two have worked in helping to improve each other’s craft. Frankie and Brendan square off once a week in practice, and though they don’t go full out because of their 50-pound weight differential, they’ve learned a lot from one another.
“We like to work off each other, and we try to blend our styles,” Frankie said. Brendan is “more technical, I’m more funky and like to invent stuff. But we definitely try to influence each other and get as many moves as we can in our arsenals.”
“During matches,” Brendan added, “he always sees stuff that I don’t see. He tells me ‘do this, do this’ and I do it and I score points and win matches.”
Brendan is looking forward to continuing that relationship even after his brother leaves for college.
“Hopefully (Frankie) can get to some of the tournaments next year,” he said. “But, when he’s not there, I just get even more focused, look at films of me wrestling and pick it apart and send him films of me wrestling. So, we’ll still work together.”
With his brother’s guidance and support, Brendan hopes to one day surpass Frankie’s career win total of 147 and reach a lofty individual goal: There are only 10 four-time state champions, four from Division 3 and none from western Massachusetts.
“I definitely want to be a four-time state champ,” he said. “Not many people have done that, and I’d love for my name to be (in the record book) with those guys.”
For now, Frankie and Brendan are content to prepare for this weekend’s tournament and enjoy their remaining time together as teammates.
“Watch out for the Weir brothers,” said the Weirs, almost in unison.