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Methuen’s Dom Gangi wins first sectional crown for ill coach; St. John’s Prep gives Manny Costa fifth straight Division 1 North team title

Methuen's Dom Gangi shows his home faithful who came out triumphant, after the Rangers senior captain bested Michael Morris of Haverhill for the 113-pound title in the Division 1 North championships Saturday at Methuen High.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

METHUEN — With time winding down in a match in which he was in control, Dom Gangi kept fighting.

The senior 113-pounder from Methuen had the fans yelling at him not to shoot, but he kept going. After the whistle blew to seal his 3-0 Division 1 North sectional finals victory on his home mat, he pointed to the camera where he knew his injured coach Bill James would see from home, and flashed the heart sign.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “This whole season’s been for him. All this work I put in has been for him. It feels amazing to show him the team’s being successful, I’m being successful. I love that guy.”


It was a chance at redemption for the Ranger, who had lost to Haverhill junior Mike Morris, 15-0, the last time the two faced each other. He knew he was better than how he wrestled last time, and stayed calm. It was his first sectional title.

“I just really wanted to prove it to myself because those two losses [one to Morris, one to Tewksbury’s Nick Desisto] knocked me down a bit,” he said. “If I come in here and I dominate, I can definitely do this.”

One more sectional for Manny Costa’s squad

St. John’s Prep coach Manny Costa saw his heavyweight earn a pin, then turned his attention to the adjacent mat with his final sectional tournament on the line.

With Haverhill not securing points in the fourth-place bout, his team had its fifth sectional win in a row at Division 1 North, and eighth in his 34-year tenure.

“I’m happy for the guys, they’ve worked hard for me all season,” Costa said. “It’s tough to be going, but to win the North five years in a row is awesome.”

Heavyweight junior Alex Bajoras did not know the team score and only cared about winning his own match, but his pin gave Prep (213.5 points) the last bit the Eagles needed to finish ahead of Haverhill (211) and Shawsheen (208).


“It was great,” Bajoras said. “Any way I can help my team is awesome. Manny has done so much for me, and especially it being his last season, helping him win that one last [sectional] tournament, I’m glad I could do that for him.”

Another big win for SJP was at 157 pounds, where an injury left senior Jayden D’Ambrosio unable to see for the second and third period of the final. He hung on to take it 5-2.

“We do blindfold training in practice, so he’s used to being able to see with no eyesight,” said Costa. “I’m proud of him for gutting it out.”

▪ With time winding down, Greater Lowell freshman Antoine Jackman trailed by one point in his 106-pound final. He went for the takedown and got it with no time to spare, winning, 6-5, over Cole Glynn from Central Catholic.

“I knew I could get that move, it wasn’t tough to get it,” Jackman said. I’d gotten it before and I’d gotten it before in matches against [Glynn]. “It felt amazing when I got it to secure that win again.”

▪ Though sophomores Yandel Morales (Andover) and Emmett Logan (Lowell) have split their regular-season matches in their freshman and sophomore years, Morales stayed in control in the postseason.

His 3-2 victory gave him the title at 126, after defeating Logan at sectionals, states, and all-states last year at 106.


Though he had some nerves, having lost to Logan at the Lowell Holiday tournament in December, he earned a takedown just five seconds in. That made the difference.

“Off the whistle, some people back up, some people stay in the fight,” Morales said. “I like to stay in the fight. We’re going to war.”

His eye swollen shut from an injury sustained during the match, St. John's Prep senior Jayden D'Ambrosio persevered to win his 157-pound match at the Division 1 North championship at Methuen High.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Shawsheen's James Tildsley (left) bested Garrett Ayotte of Greater Lowell in the 144-pound final at the Division 1 North tournament in Methuen.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Andover's Yandel Morales went on to beat Emmett Logan of Lowell in the 126-pound division.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Division 1 South — Taunton and Brockton entered the finals with six wrestlers remaining, but the Tigers (227.5 points) pulled out five victories to the Boxers’ three (202), helping Taunton secure consecutive sectional crowns after winning D2 South last year. Michael Leskoski (120), John Mandeville (144), Gabriel Lesksoki (150), and Elijah Prophete (215) were first-time sectional champions for Taunton in its own gym, while Ethan Harris (190) claimed his second title in a row. Walter Rodrigues (165), Aman Khalil (175), and Jallen Jackson (285) won for the Boxers.

Division 1 Central/Metro — With three individual champions, five finalists, and 11 placers, Arlington (215 points) edged Brookline (201) to capture a sectional crown, a year after finishing as runners-up behind host Newton South. Cedrick Daniel (113 pounds), Sam Neal (144), and Dan Carreira (150) won for the Spy Ponders. The Warriors were led by wins from Jamie Evarts (165) and Gabriel Thomas (285).

Division 1 West/Central — New to the section, Chelmsford sent six wrestlers to the finals, twice as many as any other school, unseating two-time sectional champ Natick by a 230-197.5 score. Jose Bethel (190) and Thomas Brown (285) won for the Lions, who got finals’ appearances from Mustafa Lubowa (106), Romio Rosario (113), Michael Canada (150), and Ian Mwangl (215). Monty Tech had the most individual champions, but lacked depth and finished tied for sixth.


Division 2 North — In one of the closest competitions of the day, Melrose (190.5) had just enough depth to overcome finishing with just one champion in Burlington. The Red Hawks, who were second in D3 North last year, got a win from 126-pounder Johnny Moraes and held on, despite Whittier (187) crowning two champions and Tyngsborough/Dracut (170) claiming three. Jack Seha (113) also reached the finals for Melrose, which accumulated points through three fourth-place finishers and three fifth-place finishers, winding up with 11 placers.

Division 2 South — After claiming the D3 South crown in 2022 and finishing as runners-up last year, Duxbury moved up a level and left Stoughton as D2 South champions, scoring 232 points to edge out defending sectional champ Bridgewater-Raynham (223). Cole Bonner (165) and Jonny Radzevich (285) won their weight classes for the Dragons, while Noah Price (113), Jack Mahone (132), Phoenix Soares (144), Nick Bizzozero (157), Matt Walsh (175), and Will Marani (215) reached the finals. The Trojans were led by champions Brent von Magnus (132), Luke Driscoll (175), and Jackson Rinke (215).

Division 2 Central — Milford dominated, wining five of 14 weight classes and sending eight wrestlers to the finals, easily out-pacing North Attleborough, 275-190.5, at Bellingham. Derek Marcolini (113), Robert Lyons (126), Michael Boulanger (138), Aidan Baum (144), and Kevin Coelho (175) finished with their hands raised for the Scarlet Hawks, who are coming off back-to-back Division 2 West titles. Defending champion Sharon finished third (157.5).


Division 2 West — West Springfield (244 points) beat out Minnechaug (232) and Agawam (202). Devon Mateo (106 pounds), Hood Mohsin (138), and Salim Madjidov (144) earned individual titles for the Terriers.

Division 3 North — With the benefit of home cooking, Tewksbury cruised to a second straight sectional title, placing wrestlers in all 14 weight classes en route to 274.5 points, easily clearing Wakefield (229) and Gloucester (213). The Redmen dominated the lower weights, with wins from Jack Lightfoot (106), Nick Desisto (113), and Benjamin Barrasso (120), as well as Hunter Johnson (157). Cameron Helchman (144) also reached the finals. In the highly anticipated 215 final, Gloucester’s Jayden Toppan earned an 11-3 major decision over Triton’s Douglas Aylward.

Division 3 South — Adam Addeche (132 pounds) was the lone champion for Division 3 South winner Foxborough (235 points), which placed a tournament-high 12 wrestlers top-5 in their weight class. Bristol County/Dighton-Rehoboth finished just behind with 232.5 points, and Scituate took third with 169.

Division 3 Central — Ashland secured its second sectional title in three years with a dominant showing on home turf, sending nine wrestlers to the finals and watching four finish with their hands raised en route to 291.5 points. Wayland was second with 205. The Clockers were led by wins from Logan Costello (106), Adrian Guzman (157), Anton Puhach (175), and Cauan Amaral (190). Bobby Beyerle (120), Dante Merloni (144), Cameron Antonluk (165), Kevin Botsis (215), and Matt Terry (285) placed second.

Division 3 West ― Led by wins from Rory Norton (113), Michaell Harris (126), Jedhlael Vazquez Agusto (157), and Jerameel Vazquez (215), Hampden Charter East made quick work of a second straight sectional title, sending six to the finals at Mount Greylock and finishing with twice as many champions as second-place Taconic (153.5).

Brendan Kurie contributed to this report.

AJ Traub can be reached at aj.traub@globe.com.