With a one-day delay due to the snow and the absence of Weston turning this quad into a tri-meet, the Norton Lancers maintained their almost perfect record (15-1, 4-0 TVL) against both the Billerica Indians and the Oliver Ames Tigers. The Lancers defeated the Indians 38-21 and the Tigers 51-30.
With a smaller squad due to miscellaneous injuries and illnesses, the Lancers were forced to shuffle the lineup against both the Indians and the Tigers to maintain a competitive match.
“We don’t make excuses but we had to use our strategy as best we could to secure a team victory,” Norton head coach Pat Coleman said. “We moved some guys around in weight classes. We gave up some forfeits here and there but we had our eye on the scoreboard the whole time.”
Without defending division 3 state champion Brett Gallagher in the lineup, the Lancers were lucky to get a no contest against the Indians in the 120 pound match but were forced to take a forfeit against the Tigers.
In the first meet against Billerica the Lancers found themselves in unfamiliar territory when the Indians took an early 9-6 lead against Norton. While the Indians were getting wins by decision, they were unable to get the pins needed to really widen the lead.
The turning point for the Lancers came at 145 pounds when Scott Coleman defeated Danny Cassidy by way of a technical fall. With a 15-0 lead during the second period, the Lancers’ senior captain was able to get the win after maintaining a 15 point lead during a stoppage.
Two more pins from James Cuneo (152 pounds) and Mike Travers (160 pounds) help extend the lead but clincher for the Lancers came at 195 pounds when a sick Matt Pelletier was able to pin Mike Eggleston at 1:41 of the first period.
“He (Matt) basically came in today to weigh in and see how he felt and I was hoping not to have to wrestle him,” Coleman said.
Being forced to use Pelletier to help lock up a win against the Indians, Pelletier did not wrestle against Oliver Ames.
Despite taking four forfeits against the Tigers, the Lancers’ got pins in eight of their nine victories to get past Oliver Ames with an undermanned team.
Wins from Cam Hale (132 pounds), John Royale (138 pounds), Scott Coleman (154 pounds), and Cuneo (152 pounds) helped the Lancers run up the scoreboard early in the meet.
OA’s only win against the Lancers came from Matt Harding who defeated Elliot Johnson in the 182 pound match by pin in the second period.
Steve Hudson continued to dominate with a win against John McCabe in the 220 pount match. Eariler the day Hudson was forced to move up to the 285 pound match against Billerica where he was successful in pinning Dillon Higgings.
“He’s been very reliable this year. We’re hoping for a real run with him in the sectionals and the state,” Coleman said.
Next up for the Lancers will be the combined team of Ashland and Keefe Tech for the Tri-Valley League Championship. Ashland/Keefe Tech’s recent loss to Holliston means Norton’s worse case scenario is a tie for first with Ashland/Keefe Tech but a win would give the Lancer’s sole possession of the league title.
The Lancers wrestle Ashland/Keefe Tech Jan. 25 7 p.m. at Ashland High School.