GREAT BARRINGTON -- Mount Greylock's lighter wrestlers did the heavy lifting, and thanks in part to that, the Mounties are Berkshire County champions.
Greylock earned big wins in all contested matches between 106 and 126 pounds, beating Monument Mountain 47-21 in an intense dual at Monument on Tuesday night. The victory keeps the Mounties unbeaten in the county. They previously defeated Monument 46-26 in Williamstown on Jan. 9.
"Coming into the year, I thought Monument had an edge on us. We'd lost a lot of kids," Greylock coach Ray Miro said. "For these kids, to come from the beginning of the season and have a little adversity in terms of kids not sticking it out with them, they've shown a lot of mettle in what they've done."
Mountie wrestlers earned wins by pin at 120 (Devon Pelletier), 126 (Travis Hilchey) and 195 (Ross Jackson), as well as major-decision wins at 106 (Jude Rorke) and 152 (Mitch Graves), and a technical-fall win for Hunter Abriel at 285.
They weren't all easy. The Spartans pushed the Mounties to the limit in matches like Stephen Cormier's 2-0 loss to Greylock's Cayman Mead (132), Sebastian Zapata's thrilling 6-4 loss to CJ Lillie (138) and Mark Leon-Duque's 1-0 loss to David O'Brien (160).
Couple that with Craig Cooley's 9-7 win over Greylock's Johnny Colon at 170 and Marcos Cando's 4-minute, 56-second pin of Carl Swanson at 182, and Monument coach Gordie Soule thinks the future is bright -- with less than two weeks left until the school hosts the Western Mass. tournament, no less.
"I think they're just a little more seasoned than us right now, and that really was apparent," Soule said. "Greylock came in here and made a good statement.
"The kids were ready. They were prepared to wrestle. [Greylock] just took it to us down low. Hopefully, we'll see [that] we have to wrestle a little bit tougher and more desperate, not so methodical."
When Lillie and Zapata met three weeks ago in Williamstown, Zapata earned a triple-overtime victory. Lillie earned a 10-9 decision at the Mountie Invite on Saturday and followed it up with another victory. Lillie trailed 4-2 in the third before getting the crucial back points he needed late to secure a win.
"I was on bottom, got out and was thinking to myself, ‘The clock's running down,' " Lillie said. "I'm getting nervous. I hooked that leg and got to put him to his back for those two extra back points. When I saw that clock narrowing down, I was pretty excited."
Two of the county's best 145-pounders -- Greylock's Graves and Monument's Alex Dupont -- were scheduled to meet in Tuesday's dual. However, that meeting was scrapped at the last minute. Dupont pinned Dakota Lane in 17 seconds at 145, while Graves wrestled up and beat Mike Molina 16-2.
Miro said Graves is wrestling through a sore shoulder, and he doesn't want to risk Graves losing a chance to wrestle Dupont in the postseason.
"If they're meant to wrestle again, they'll probably wrestle again," the coach said. "The way it looks right now is that they might meet in the [Western Mass.] semifinals ... the way the seeding looks. But that could change. It'll be interesting to see when the time comes."
Despite Greylock taking charge of the dual by the heavier weight classes, the Spartans and their fan base kept the intensity high during Cooley and Cando's victories. The Monument bench, to a man, celebrated loudly as Cando got the pin at 182, and he was met with emphatic hugs as he left the mat.
"I'd say this is pretty much the best thing in Berkshire County right now, these two teams," Lillie said. "They [Monument] bring a full roster. They have some good kids in the tough weight classes."