Coach Pat Coleman had high hopes for his Norton High wrestling team this past season, even without more than a year of competition to fall back on.
Having had the winter wrestling season canceled by the MIAA due to the health safety concerns of “high risk” sports during the pandemic, Coleman and the Lancers were happy just to have a handful of matches in the re-configured spring season of wrestling.
Minus the regular slate of tri-meets and quad invitational meets that usually dot the wrestling calendar from December through February, the Lancers made the very best of the situation — winning the MIAA Division 3 South and MIAA Division 3 State tournament titles.
Six members of Norton’s title-taking team — Jason Winston, Anthony Tripolone, Gabe Thomasson, Nick Andreasen, Danyel Ayala and Steven Chaffee — highlight the selections to The Sun Chronicle 2021 Wrestling All-Star Team.
“I referred to this crew as a championship team as opposed to a team of champions,” Coleman said.
The Lancers claimed their third state wrestling title by defeating previously unbeaten, North sectional titlist Triton Regional on its home football field.
“Only one wrestler was an MIAA champion last season (Chaffee won South Sectionals), but the rest were pretty much unproven going into this spring season and rose to the occasion,” Coleman said. “Each week, it was a different wrestler who came through in the clutch to pick up a key win”
The Lancers’ sensational six on the mat are joined on The Sun Chronicle All-Star Team by a trio of Mansfield High grapplers, three more from King Philip Regional High and five members from Foxboro High’s MIAA Division 3 South Sectional finalist squad.
The Hornets are represented among the area’s elite matmen by four-year veteran and 100-win club member C.J. Glarapolous, junior Max Farley and sophomore Colton Johnson. Glarapolous was unbeaten (11-0 with seven pins) this season, coming off of a junior year in which he was the Mass. State 182-pound champion. Farley posted 10 win in the 113 and 120 pound classes, while Johnson scored nine of his 10 wins on pins in the 220 pound class.
King Philip’s Sun Chronicle All-Stars include senior Yousef Lotfi and juniors Sam DeBaggis and Hunter Hastings. Lotfi, the KP captain, won eight matches at 285 pounds coming off of No. 2 spot in the South Sectionals as a junior. DeBaggis had eight wins at 132 pounds while Hastings went unbeaten at 220 pounds, taking eight of his nine wins via pins.
Foxboro seniors Jeremy Neale and Trent Rennie, along with junior Ryan Addeche and a pair of sophomores — Ian Marcotte and James Fraser, represent the Warriors.
The Virginia Tech-bound Neale won all 14 of his matches at 170 for Foxboro, while Rennie had nine pins among his 12 wins at 195 pounds. Addeche posted 11 wins wrestling in the 170, 182 and 195 pound classes, Marcotte earned 11 wins at 120 and 126 pounds while Fraser also won 11 matches at 113 and 120 pounds.
As for the Lancers, “as we entered the post season we knew that we had a legitimate shot and worked hard to be ready,” Coleman said of his team’s depth and mindset coming off of a dual meet season in which Norton lost just once (to Division 1 power New Bedford) and won the Tri-Valley League title.
The Sun Chronicle All-Star Wrestling Team roster includes just one Norton senior in Andreassen, the Lancers’ captain and a South Sectional runner-up as a junior, who posted eight wins at 160 pounds.
Joining him are Lancer juniors. Tripolone captured nine wins at the 145 and 152 pound classes for Norton, while Chaffee who won eight matches at 113 pounds.
A trio of Norton sophomores earned their varsity letters and Sun Chronicle recognition. Winston had nine wins with six pins at 132 pounds, Thomasson collected eight wins at 170 pounds and Ayala logged nine wins with six pins at 285 pounds.
“This was, perhaps, the best practice team yet at Norton High and we’ve had some very good ones,” Coleman said of the Lancers’ no-nonsense preparation every day in practice. “We adopted Russell Wilson’s motto — ‘Someone’s got to win, it might as well be u.’ We believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”