Northampton wrestling seniors leaving their mark (PHOTOS)

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-02-2023 8:06 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Keagan Hollister wagered with Quane Randall last season: if he didn’t make the varsity basketball team, he would come out for wrestling.

“It was a joke. He’s always trying to recruit people,” Hollister said. “Then I got cut. He told the coach and was like ‘you’ve got practice tomorrow.’”

Randall recruited many of Northampton’s wrestlers in his four years with the program. No one brought him in, though. The senior made that decision himself as a freshman after dallying with the sport in middle school.

“It was new. Instead of doing basketball and stuff like that, I wanted to use my strength,” Randall said.

He qualified for the Division 3 state tournament last season, one of three Northampton wrestlers to reach that point along with Hollister and Schuyler Trapani. All three were recognized Thursday for senior night in a dual against Franklin Tech. The Blue Devils fell 45-24 and recognized all six of their seniors, but all three of the returning state qualifiers had their hands raised after pinfall victories.

Hollister pinned Franklin Tech’s Cameron May in 2 minutes, 28 seconds at 160 pounds. He pointed at assembled friends in the stands after shaking the Eagles coaching staff’s hands and executed a standing back flip on the mat.

“For me it’s the process. I enjoy the constant suck of it, almost. You show up to practice every day knowing you’re not going to have fun. It’s gonna be tough,” Hollister said. “You have to push yourself, and you grow in those moments. You learn that you grow in those moments. You connect the dots where you’re going to grow a lot.”

At 220 pounds, Trapani finished Jackie Churchill in nine seconds. He joined the team his sophomore year during the COVID restrictions and only practiced. Trapani practiced jiu jitsu before starting wrestling as a school sport.

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“It’s such a personal sport. There’s no pushing boundaries. We get very comfortable with each other very fast,” he said.

Randall ended the night with a bang in the heavyweight class. He grappled with Franklin Tech’s Joshua Lynde for a few seconds before picking him up by the legs and slamming him onto his back for a pin in 45 seconds. His football teammates in the front row erupted holding camera phones and shooting video.

“Level changes, learning how to move and not get knocked off balance easily, I think that translates from football,” Randall said.

Northampton coach Josh Bialek believes Randall can earn the No. 1 seed at 285 pounds in the upcoming Division 3 Western Massachusetts tournament, set for Feb. 11 at Mohawk Trail. He finished the weekend’s Mountie Invitational atop the podium after a 4-0 day at Mount Greylock.

“He’s the only person returning to that weight class that placed at that weight class last year,” Bialek said.

Hollister could also contend for the title at 160 due his strength and athleticism. His technique and athleticism just need to show up at the tournament.

After none of the three placed at the state tournament last year, Bialek is hoping a couple can reach the podium. 

Randall doesn’t want to stop there. He looks up at championship banners in the Northampton gym during practices and wants to put his name on one.

“I want to be one of the students that gets my name on a banner so my name can stay in the school forever,” Randall said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>