Hampshire’s Michael Baldwin, Frontier’s Jackie Phong crowned WMass wrestling champions

  • Hampshire Regional’s Michael Baldwin, front, competes against Hampden Charter’s Tyreece Cherival in the 160-pound final during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships, Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Baldwin won to capture his first sectional title. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • South Hadley’s Joe Podolak, top, competes against Taconic’s Mike Lafreniere in the 132-pound Western Massachusetts Division 3 final, Saturday in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • South Hadley's Joe Podolak, left, competes against Taconic's Mike Lafreniere in the 132-pound final during the Western Mass. Division 3 championships Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Hampshire Regional’s Kobe Clifford, top, competes against Taconic’s Dylan Burke in the 182-pound final during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships, Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Clifford lost the match. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Frontier Regional’s Nate Austin, right, competes against Taconic’s Shawn O’Shea in the 195-pound final during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships, Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Austin finished second. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Frontier Regional’s Jackie Phong, left, competes against Taconic’s Isiaha Hartman-Caesar in the 285-pound final during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championships, Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Frontier's Jackie Phong, left, competes against Taconic’s Isiaha Hartman-Caesar in the 285-pound final during the Western Mass. Division 3 championships Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Frontier's Jackie Phong, left, competes against Hampshire Regional's Angus KaneLong in the 285-pound semi-final during the Western Mass. Division 3 championships Saturday afternoon in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 2/10/2019 12:35:52 AM

TURNERS FALLS — Michael Baldwin has been a man on a mission this season.

After finishing second at 152 pounds at the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Wrestling Tournament one year ago, the Hampshire Regional junior put in the work over the past year to ensure he would be the one celebrating at Western Mass. this winter.

Baldwin did just that on Saturday as he captured the 160-pound title with a 9-2 victory over Hampden Charter’s Tyreece Cherival in the finals during the tournament at Franklin County Technical School.

Frontier Regional’s Jackie Phong joined Baldwin as a champion after Phong picked up a finals’ pin to win the 285-pound title. Four other area wrestlers finished second and a total of 17 area wrestlers finished among the top four in their weight classes to punch their tickets to the Division 3 State Tournament this weekend at Wakefield High School. Four more area wrestlers finished fifth and will serve as first alternates.

Baldwin went 34-1 in the regular season to earn the top seed at 160 and he looked every bit the part with three consecutive pins to pave his path to the finals. There, he met Cherival, who he dominated from start to finish. Baldwin led 4-1 after the first period, and took a 6-2 lead into the second period before finishing things off with an escape and a takedown in the final period.

“I’ve wrestled him before this and he’s a big strong kid and he knows his stuff, but I just kept working him and came out on top,” Baldwin said.

The victory punctuated a year of hard work by the junior.

“Last year I came in second place, it was a really close match,” Baldwin said. “I knew if I worked hard I could get it today.

Phong closed out the championship meet against Isiaha Hartman-Caesar of Taconic. The match went back and forth, as Phong took a 3-2 lead after one, but Hartman-Caesar came back to take a 5-3 lead early in the second. Phong then scored an escape and a takedown later in the second, and he turned the takedown into a pin to end the match 1:34 into the second period.

“It felt very good to finish it off with a pin,” Phong said. “It feels amazing to win a Western Mass. title and to get this as a sophomore, I want another two.”

Phong’s teammate Nate Austin had a chance to win a title at 195 where he faced Taconic’s Sean O’Shea, the second seed who had just earned his 100th career win with a semifinal victory. The two wrestled to a scoreless first period, before O’Shea earned an escape and a takedown in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Austin got a point back late in the second with an escape, and then closed to within one point in the third when he picked up a point late for O’Shea stalling. That was all Austin could get as he fell 3-2 to finish second in the weight.

Hampshire’s Kobe Clifford wrestled for a title at 182 but came up short against Taconic’s Dylan Burke, who pulled out a 9-6 victory. Clifford led 4-3 midway through the second period but Burke stormed back to take a 7-4 lead into the third. Clifford cut it to 7-6, but a late takedown by Burke sealed his victory.

Granby’s Emmett Seibert wrestled for a title at 106 but fell, 6-1, to Lisandro Martinez of Hampden Charter. Martinez opened a 4-0 lead in the first period and was never threatened. South Hadley’s Joe Podolak finished second when he was pinned by Taconic’s Mike LaFreniere early in the second period at 132 pounds.

Taconic won competition with 239.5 points, while Franklin Tech (156) and Hampden Charter (154) were second and third. Hampshire was fourth place with 131 points, while Frontier was sixth, and South Hadley was eighth.

Alex Willard took third place for Hampshire at 106 pounds with a 13-7 decision over South Hadley’s Cayden Henriques. Teammate Angus Kanelong took fourth at 285 after getting pinned by Pathfinder’s Zach Beeman.

Frontier’s Ovidiu Nichita earned a third-place finish at 113 with his 18-4 major decision victory over Granby’s Joseph Deprey. Jake Mattson took fourth at 138 pounds when he was pinned in the second period by Sabis’ Xavier Reyes, while Ito McMillan took fourth at 152 pounds after getting pinned by South Hadley’s Alex Schenker.

South Hadley’s Jacey Rondeau added a fourth-place at 182 after losing to Smith Vocational’s James Buddluph, 2-1, in the third-place bout. Smith Voke added another third-place at 220 when Zach Hall picked up a pin over Mount Everett’s Eduardo Rodriguez.

Hampshire’s Bryce Illingsworth (145), Mason Willard (170) and Nathaniel Picard (113) each finished fifth, as did Granby’s Christian Perez (132).




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy