Michael Baldwin, Mason Willard win WMass wrestling titles to pace Hampshire Regional

  • South Hadley’s Eli Pietrzykowski, back, competes against Southwick’s Mason Iglesias for a fifth place finish at 195 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional senior Michael Baldwin, right, secures a first-place finish against Pathfinder’s Markys Lissaint in the 182-pound final, Saturday during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 wrestling championship, hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Mason Willard, top, competes against Duggan Academy’s Cassius Coates in the 170-pound final, Saturday during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. Willard won the title. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Michael Baldwin, right, competes against Pathfinder’s Markys Lissaint for a first place finish at 182 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Michael Baldwin, right, competes against Pathfinder’s Markys Lissaint for a first place finish at 182 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Smith Vocational’s Casey Baldwin, right, competes against Hampden Charter’s Tyreece Cherival in the 160-pound final, Saturday at the Western Massachusetts Division 3 wrestling championship at Taconic High School in Pittsfield. Baldwin placed second. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Smith Vocational’s Casey Baldwin, left, competes against Hampden Charter’s Tyreece Cherival for a second place finish at 160 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ito McMillan, top, competes against Gateway’s Brett Bonenfant for a third place finish at 152 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ito McMillan, left, competes against Gateway’s Brett Bonenfant for a third place finish at 152 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Tanner Finch, top, competes against Taconic’s Ryan Scott for a fourth place finish at 145 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Josh Brunelle, top, works to pin Smith Voc’s Forrest McSweeney for a third place finish at 138 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, front, competes against Smith Vocational’s Joe Podolak in the 138-pound weight class Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier Regional’s Payton Sladeski, top, competes against Mount Everett’s Nick Lupiani in the 106-pound final, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships. Sladeski finished second. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Josh Brunelle, top, competes against Smith Voc’s Forrest McSweeney for a third place finish at 138 pounds Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • South Hadley’s Cayden Henriques, top, competes against Hampden Charter’s Lisandro Martinez in the 113-pound final, Saturday. Henriques finished second. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, top, competes against Smith Vocational’s Joe Podolak in the 138-pound weight class Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, right, pins Smith Vocational’s Joe Podolak to win the 138-pound weight class Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, top, competes against Smith Vocational’s Joe Podolak in the 138-pound weight class Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship hosted by Taconic High School in Pittsfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 2/15/2020 11:58:22 PM

PITTSFIELD — It was a tournament to remember for Hampshire Regional’s Michael Baldwin.

The senior took home a championship at 182 pounds in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament at Taconic High School on Saturday, winning four matches to do so. His first win of the day over Ethan Peaslee of Taconic was extra special, as it gave him a school-record 182 wins in a career.

“It feels good,” Baldwin said. “It’s cool. A really good wrestler, Brendan Weir had the record. My first year with the team as a freshman, he was a senior. I learned a ton from him that year. He helped me set the pace for hard work and accomplishing this.”

Getting a win in the championship match wasn’t easy for Baldwin. Going up against Markys Lissaint, of Pathfinder, Baldwin struggled to get points.

The first round ended scoreless, with Lissaint getting a point in the second. Baldwin got a point to tie it at the opening of the third round and forced Lissaint off the mat to get a second point and take the lead. For the final minute, the senior held strong and didn’t surrender any more points to earn the win.

“I wrestled him recently,” Baldwin said. “It was a good match. He had a game plan coming in, he wasn’t shooting as much and he wanted to make me push my offense more. It’s one of the best feelings. It’s one of the only sports where you’re out there alone. Everyone in the gym is watching you. It wasn’t relief at the end but it’s a different feeling.”

Hampshire placed third with 123½ points. Hampden Charter (198) won the title and Taconic (186½) was second.

Mason Willard came through with a top finish at 170 while Adin Clifford (106), Alex Willard (113) and Nathaniel Picard (120) all took third for Hampshire and advanced to the State Division 3 Tournament.

Mason Willard took a 6-4 lead in the third period and held on for the final 45 seconds of the round to claim victory of Cassius Coates, of Duggan Academy.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Willard said. “I’ve been wrestling for six years. My brother DJ got first here and this has been what I’ve been working up to. It feels amazing.”

Baldwin wasn’t the only one in his family celebrating a great day on the mat.

His younger brother, Casey Baldwin, is a freshman at Smith Vocational and he upset top-seeded Bobby Burke, of Pathfinder, at 160 to advance to the finals. Casey settled for second after a loss via pin to Tyreece Cherival, of Hampden Charter.

“I feel pretty good but it would have been nice to get a win,” Casey said. “Our team is new so we don’t have a lot of placers or people who place high. I’m glad I made it there.”

When he topped Burke, his older brother was the one cheering him on the hardest, despite being on a different team.

“He had beaten the No. 1 seed and I was screaming my head off cheering him on,” Michael said. “He had a good day and I’m super proud of him.”

Joe Podolak also took second for Smith Vocational at 138. Forrest McSweeney (132), James Buddluph (170) and Race Drobiak (182) each placed fourth for the Vikings, who finished eighth with 93 points.

Frontier Regional sophomore Payton Sladeski entered as the No. 3 seed at 106 and won three matches in a row to make it to the finals. There, he was pinned by top seeded Nick Lupiani, of Mount Everett, in the championship to settle for second.

“Moving on to states is all I wanted to do,” Sladeski said. “I want to work my way up to the finals, I don’t really care if I won or lost. I just wanted to make it to states and go from there.”

Two other Red Hawks qualified for next week’s state Division 3 tournament. Ito McMillan secured third at 152 and Tanner Finch came in fourth at 145 to lead Frontier to an 11th-place finish.

South Hadley placed 14th behind Cayden Henriques.

He won two matches as the No. 2 seed at 113 to make it to the finals, but was bested by Lisandro Martinez, of Hampden Charter, by decision.

“I’m tired now, it was a tough match,” Henriques said after the finals. “It was a good day. I feel like I performed by best. Going on to states, hopefully I can do some work there.”

Noah Will (220) was fourth for the Tigers. Eli Pietrzykowski (195) was fifth.

Gateway Regional was 12th behind Brett Bonenfant (152) and Mathew Small (106), who each placed fourth. Dominic Zajko (138) and Eli Gilbert (126) were fifth.

Granby was 17th as Isaiah Mejias (285) was fourth.

The top four finishes advance to states. The fifth finisher in each class is an alternate,




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