The Nicolosi legacy at Haverhill is continuing and it’s going to be around for a few more years.
One year after the graduation of Jake Nicolosi, the program’s career leader in wins (177) and the 2020 New England champion at 145 pounds, Brent Nicolosi is claiming his brother’s old weight class as a freshman. And he’s already raising eyebrows.
Before he had wrestled his first MIAA match, Nicolosi competed at the National High School Coaches Association Freshman Nationals last month in Virginia Beach, Va., placing fifth at 138 pounds. He became Haverhill’s second All-American (Isaiah Williams, the runner-up at 171 pounds at the 2010 Senior Nationals, was the other) and first freshman All-American, with Jake coaching in his corner.
“It made me more confident and now I want to place at those tournaments more often,” Brent Nicolosi said.
Jake Nicolosi was proud of his younger brother.
“I was happy,” he said. “He wrestled tough. He kind of surprised me. Placing there is huge.”
The younger Nicolosi started the season wrestling at 145, but Tuesday in a nonleague dual meet against Tyngsborough, he bumped up two weight classes to take on Tyngsborough captain Matt Tyros at 160. Tyros, who recorded his 100th career win earlier this season, was no match for Nicolosi, wrestling just his sixth MIAA match.
Nicolosi garnered a first-period takedown, a reversal 10 seconds into the second period, and won 4-0. He’s now 6-0 with four pins.
“He’s unbelievable,” Haverhill coach Tim Lawlor said. “Bumping up two weight classes to face a senior that has 100 wins, he never had any doubt in his mind. This year being kind of a strange year, we just wanted to make sure a lot of our top guys got good matches, got good competition.”
Nicolosi, naturally, followed his brother — who is four years his senior — into wrestling through Haverhill’s youth program. Although their personalities are different (Jake is the quiet, stoic one while Brent is affable and known for his sense of humor), their work ethic and abilities, Lawlor says, are similar.
Brent is already following in his brother’s footsteps after just a handful of matches. As Jake became a more polished wrestler during his career at Haverhill, Brent was right there with him, watching, studying, waiting for his turn on the mat.
“Jake came in as a guy who came and dominated because he was so athletic. When we started to teach Jake how to wrestle, Brent was around and he was able to see it. He just got it four years younger,” Lawlor said.
In July, shortly after the season ends, Brent will wrestle in the vaunted Fargo 16U Nationals freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments in Fargo, N.D. It will be his first national competition since his showing in Virginia Beach and wrestling against elite opponents in the offseason will continue to increase his stock in Massachusetts and New England.
“The ceiling is as high as it can go for Brent,” Lawlor said.
As for someday possibly breaking his older brother’s record? It doesn’t seem likely because the pandemic-shortened season won’t give Brent enough matches to get close to Jake’s total over the course of four years, but . . .
“He might come close,” Jake said.
▪ After much delay and deliberation, there will be a wrestling postseason. By a 17-0 vote, the MIAA tournament management committee approved sectional and state dual meet tournaments. Of the 137 responses the MIAA wrestling committee received from programs, 54 percent (or 74 teams) said they would participate. Wakefield AD Brendan Kent, chair of the wrestling committee, was happy the TMC gave the tournament the green light.
“I wasn’t sure how they were going to receive it because some people were saying if all the other winter sports didn’t get to have a tournament . . . it’s not really fair,” Kent said. “So I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received, but they were great about it.”
The dates for the tournaments will follow the same dates set for all spring tournaments. Teams must opt in/out by June 2, the cutoff date for the regular season is June 15; seeding is scheduled for June 16 and 17; and first-round dual meets begin June 18. The higher seed will host through all rounds.
“It’s going to be a good way to end the season. Obviously an individual tournament would have been much better, but I don’t think that was in the cards,” said Burlington coach Paul Shvartsman, the Burlington coach and the coaches’ representative to the wrestling committee.
▪ Morning weigh-ins before school-day dual meets will end next season.
Among the host of rules change proposals approved Wednesday by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council was Rule 84.4.8, which calls for weigh-ins at the site of a school-day meet, plus a 3-pound allowance if the wrestler makes weight in the morning.
These weigh-ins are now outlawed by National Federation of High Schools. The updated MIAA rule automatically gives wrestlers an additional 2 pounds at the match site for any match beginning after 3 p.m. For example, 120 pounds would become 122 pounds, 126 pounds would be 128 pounds, etc.
▪ Two Massachusetts stars are in the Class of 2025 wrestling recruits announced by Bucknell. Calvin Dalton graduated from Hamilton-Wenham in 2020, but wrestled for Salem because H-W did not have a wrestling program. He took a year off after graduating. Dalton went 169-33 for Salem, won two Division 2 state titles, and placed second at New Englands at 120 pounds in 2020. Joining him is Governor’s Academy senior Trevor Nugent. The Winchester resident posted a 153-28 record, won two Independent School League titles, and became the program’s first Prep All-American.