Ranked first going into the state tournament, Norton fell just short of its goal to win a state title, and finished second out of 54 teams in the D-3 State Tournament at Taconic High School in Pittsfield on Saturday. Western Massachusetts powerhouse Hampshire Regional High School finished first.
It had been a tough week with illness and injuries for the Lancers. Senior co-captain and two-time defending state champion Brett Gallagher (120 lbs) suffered a bad knee sprain in practice on Tuesday. He soldiered on winning his first match but had to default in the quarter finals and was out of the tournament. Had he been healthy, he may have made it to the finals and earned enough points for Norton to win the team title. In addition to his two state titles, Callagher has won two sectional championships and has 121 career wins.
Scott Coleman (145), also a senior co-captain, endured a relapse of pneumonia after last week's sectional tournament and was a questionable entry at states. Despite having no practices all week, he managed to pin his first two opponents, win a close match against the North sectional champion in the semi-finals and then defeat the number one ranked wrestler at his weight in the state 6-1 in the finals, joining Gallagher as Norton's second state champion. Coleman has won three sectional championships ("Outstanding Wrestler" in 2010) and holds the school record for most career wins with 144.
Senior co-captain John Royle (138), "Outstanding Wrestler" award winner at sectionals last week, lost a hard-fought 5-4 decision in the finals to finish in second place. Royle is a two-time sectional champion, a two-time state runner-up and has 92 career wins in just three seasons.
Senior Cam Hale (132) finished third, battling his way back with five straight victories in consolation after taking a 6-4 loss in the opening round to the eventual champion and tournament "Outstanding Wrestler.” Hale finished sixth at states last year and was runner-up at sectionals this year. At states he avenged his loss in the sectional finals. Hale has 40 wins this season, the most on the team.
Junior Steve Hudson (220), despite a sprained shoulder, also finished in third place. He was a runner-up at sectionals last week. Hudson has 30 pins this season, the most on the team.
Junior Jack Cuneo (170), also a runner-up at sectionals, fought his way to sixth place and along with Coleman, Royle, Hale and Hudson, has qualified to compete in the All-State tournament in two weeks. Cuneo has 37 wins so far this season.
Seniors John Norton and Matt Pelletier wrestled tough but did not place. Pelletier injured his knee and had to default out of the tournament. Both Norton and Pelletier have 29 wins this season.
The Lancers will travel to Lowell next Sunday to compete in the D-3 State dual meet tournament where they are seeded number 1 against a strong field.
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