LOWELL — Methuen’s Christian Monserrat was battling more than his opponent Saturday night.
In addition to his match with Canton’s Quinn Merrigan in the 138-pound division of the All-State wrestling championships at Tsongas Center, Monserrat had to overcome a midmatch illness that forced him to the sideline. And with that, he also had the pressure on his shoulders of trying to become just the second wrestler in the 21-year history of the event to win four titles.
None of the obstacles were enough to stop Monserrat, who defeated Merrigan, 9-6, to take home his fourth consecutive All-State championship, joining Central Catholic’s Joe Fendone in accomplishing the feat.
“It definitely takes heart and passion [to overcome the pressure],” said the senior, who will wrestle at West Virginia University. “I knew all my friends were here, my family, my coaches, my supporters. I just needed to win for everyone else out there in the stands looking at me.
“The pressure that people think is on me, it makes me more motivated, more hungry. It makes me blessed to be out there doing what I’m doing.”
Leading, 4-2, in the second period, Monserrat retreated to the sideline feeling ill. But he returned quickly and took a 6-4 lead into the third.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Monserrat, who improved to 53-0 this season and 208-2 in his career, with both losses coming in the finals of the New England championships.
“I just felt like something was stuck in my throat. Right when I walked out there something didn’t feel right in my throat.”
While it was tough for Monserrat to put into words the level of his accomplishments, Methuen coach Bill James had little trouble.
“He’s right up there with everybody else in the history of our sport,” said James. “He’s never lost to a Mass. kid — four-time state champ. He’s had just an outstanding career.”
Springfield Central took home the team competition with a score of 150, edging Catholic Memorial (89), North Andover (88), Lincoln-Sudbury (84), and Franklin (82).
Central had three individual winners, the most of any school. Richard Viruet (152) defeated Canton’s Chris Sullivan, 11-0; Jonathan Viruet (160) defeated North Andover’s Fritz Hoehn, 11-5; and Kamron Anderson (285) beat Westfield’s Austin Shrewsbury, 2-1. The wins were made even more special for Richard and Jonathan Viruet — they are brothers — who both won in their division for the second consecutive year.
“We’ve both trained for this moment,” said Jonathan, a junior, who is 47-0 this season. “My family was in the stands. Winning it with my brother makes it even more special. Winning two back-to-back with my brother is surreal.”
Other winners were Catholic Memorial’s Michael Aquino (106), who beat Tyngsboro’s Kevin Morris, 8-0; Lincoln-Sudbury’s Mac Hamilton (113) defeated Franklin’s Cam Kelly, 4-1; St. John’s of Shrewsbury’s Peter Robinson (120) defeated Billerica’s Nick Derosa, 3-2, in seven periods; Dracut junior Jon Ryan (126) defeated Catholic Memorial’s Mark Gutierrez, 5-1; North Andover’s Zane Melillo (132) defeated Central Catholic’s Brandon Desfosses, 4-3; Dedham’s Eric Reyes (145) defeated Silver Lake’s Thomas Grifa, 15-4; North Andover senior Brad Drover (170) defeated North Attleboro’s Evan Packert, 13-3; Lincoln-Sudbury’s Nico Dionisotti (182) defeated East Longmeadow’s Connor Humphries, 5-2; Franklin’s Griffin Tighe (195) pinned Springfield Central’s Matt Paris at 4:17; and St. John’s Prep’s Ian Butterbrodt (220) defeated Stoughton’s Frank Girolamo, 12-0.