MARSHFIELD — Senior Danielle Coughlin knew North Andover entered the final round of the Division 2 state championship just behind Winchester — and needing all five of its finalists to win the team title.
The task began in the 106-pound final, and Coughlin came through, defeating Winchester’s Jordan Darby, 5-3, to become the first girl to win a Massachusetts state wrestling championship.
Coughlin had control of her match for much of the three periods. She was determined to put her team on a path to a championship.
“We knew going into Danielle’s match that she was the key to us winning. If she didn’t win, we would have still had a chance [to come back] but one of our guys would have needed a pin,” North Andover coach Carl Cincotta said.
After Coughlin’s historic victory, the Scarlet Knights reeled off the other four wins it needed and left Marshfield High School as Division 2 state champions.
Coughlin was aware of the pressure on her shoulders.
“Going into [the match], I knew it was up to me not just individually but for my team to come out as state champs,” she said. “Coach was counting on me to start things off.”
The 106-pound champion believes the biggest reason she was able to pull through was a mental edge.
“I had a little advantage; I’ve been in this atmosphere before. There’s a lot of pressure when yours is the only match going on and everyone is watching. Being familiar with the setting was an advantage,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin was the first Scarlet Knight to win their weight class title, but not the last.
Teammate Zane Mellillo added to the team’s championship run by defeating Milton’s Jon Carrera, 6-4, to win the 132-pound title.
Fritz Hoehn, Brad Drover, and Ryan Neals would also win their weight classes for North Andover to complete the comeback run.
Hoehn earned the only pin in the finals by defeating Hopkinton’s Nolan Cornu to win the 152-pound weight class.
“It’s very exciting to win them all. It was hard telling my kids, ‘You have to all be state champs for us,’ ” said Cincotta.
Coughlin’s fellow Scarlet Knights were able to finish what she started, something she surely appreciated.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere without my team,” she said after North Andover had been crowned state champion.
The Scarlet Knights were not the only team that had multiple wrestlers finish the best in the state in their weight classes.
Dracut’s Jim Ryan and Mike Steward took home the 145-pound and 138-pound titles, respectively. Ryan defeated Silver Lake’s Tom Grifa, 5-1, and Stewart beat Mikhail Khibkin of Needham, 6-0.