The Mount Greylock wrestling team enters this weekend's Western Massachusetts Division III tournament with a lengthy reputation.
The four-time defending champions may have the reputation as a strong team, but no current Mountie has every stood on the top poduim after the Western Mass. tournament.
Seniors Ross Jackson, 182 pounds, and Mitch Graves, 145, both enter as the top seeds in their weight classes and hope to bring home their first individual titles. Monument Mountain will host the tournament this season. The tournament is scheduled to begin this afternoon with the opening rounds. It should conclude Saturday evening.
After finishing the season as Berkshire County champions and with an overall record of 24-4-1 the Mounties feel prepared for the tournament. With the tournament pushed back a week due to last weekend's snow storm, the Mounties had an extra week to prepare.
"We're looking great," Greylock coach Ray Miro said last week. "The reality, though, is we are missing some weight classes. It's going to be a stretch for us to compete at all the levels."
The Mounties entered the season with just three seniors and one junior on the roster. The thought of winning a Berkshire County title -- let alone a Western Mass. title -- seemed like a stretch. That Western Mass. title might not be such a far-fetched idea, though. Two weeks ago, the Mounties defeated Dean Tech in a dual meet. Dean Tech enters Western Mass. as the top Division III team and is favorited to win.
Miro beleives the top three teams entering the event are Dean Tech, Hampshire and Franklin Tech.
"I don't really know where we will place as a team," Graves said. "We just beat Dean Tech, who was supposed to be the Number One team, so I think we'll do well. I'm really impressed this year with all the new kids we have."
A fifth straight team title could be tough to capture considering Greylock doesn't fill all of the weight classes. The Mounties will forfiet points in the heaviest three weight classes, 195, 220 and 285.
Graves finished second last season, while Jackson came in third.
"I'm not really thinking about that," Jackson said. "It's a brand new meet, so you really need to just start fresh. I try to keep a fresh mind and clear my head going into every match."
That hasn't prevented Jackson from setting goals. He hopes to win the title and also wants to record the tournament's fastest pin. All season long, Jackson has had some of the quickest matches in the county. He's not expecting all quick matches this weekend, however. He's been working on improving his cardio in case he has to wrestle a long match.
"That 6-minute match [in the championship round of the Mountie Invite] kind of showed me how bad I was," Jackson said. "I really needed to get [my cardio] up a bit. With quick matches like I have, I'm not used to 6-minute] matches. I need to be ready in case."
Graves is hoping to draw from his experiences of finishing in second last season. He also plans on using his top seed as an advantage to prepare for his upcoming matches.
"I can figure out the matches that are supposed to happen and see who I'll [wrestle] in the top brackets," Graves said. "I can see who I might see in the later rounds like semis and that stuff later on. It allows you to see the guys who wrestle early that you might end up seeing later on."
Seventh-grader Jude Rorke is also a top seed, but he is wrestling in the 100-pound weight class. It is an exhibtion class that does not count toward the final results.
Devon Pelletier (120), Travis Hilchey (126), and Caymen Mead (132) are all four seeds in their brackets. David O'Brien (152) has the third slot and CJ Lillie (138) controls the fifth. Johnny Colon (170) is the seventh seed. Dante Richards (106), Allison Crews (113) and Maurice Nemtzow (160) enter as unseeded entries.
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