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Wrestling

Tsongas move is bigger, and possibly better

Two weeks ago, wrestlers across the state competed for individual division championships in Reading, Pittsfield and Weymouth. This weekend many of those same wrestlers will focus on their teams.

For the first time since the team format inception in 2006, 38 schools, spanning three divisions, will compete at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. The two-day event begins tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., with quarterfinals at 2 p.m., and finish Monday with semifinal matches at 1 p.m. and finals at 7 p.m.

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Tournament director Bill Wassel decided to move the event to Tsongas Center to allow more matches to take place at once, while also providing more seating. In previous years, the team tournament was in smaller venues barely offering enough room for three matches to take place at the same time.

The Tsongas space will feature six matches simultaneously. Not only should this format make the tourney more efficient, but Wassel’s hope is it will also attract more spectators.

“We wanted to see if we’d generate a bigger crowd in a place that could hold one,’’ Wassel said. “We’ve always changed the tournament a little every year, but this year [with the adding of more mats and the larger venue] we’ve changed it a lot.

“It’s been a lot of work and we’re hoping having a place as known as Tsongas helps out.’’

In Division 1, Framingham, Franklin, West Springfield, Springfield Central, and Methuen will compete for the title. Methuen, ranked No. 1 in the state all season by MassWrestling.com, had three individual champions two weeks ago, including Christian Monserrat in the 113-pound weight class, Paul Sughrue in the 126-pound weight class and C.J. Doherty at 145 pounds.

North Andover in Division 2 is going for its third straight championshipunder coach Carl Cincotta. The Scarlet Knights also crowned three individual champions, including two-time champ Jason Ricketts at 152, Dan Connolly (160), and Ryan Neals (180). Winchester and Natick also had stellar seasons in Division 2 and should not be overlooked. In Division 3, Mount Greylock, Norton, Wakefield, and Hingham all figure to be in the running.

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