The MIAA ended its association with a state dual meet wrestling tournament in 2011, putting the focus on the individual tourneys, but the state coaches were not willing to let the tradition die.
On Saturday, the State Coaches Duals will be held at three sites: Franklin (Division 1), North Andover (Division 2), and Ashland (Division 3), continuing a new tradition hatched in 2012.
“This dual meet tournament started because of the MIAA’s failure to recognize the team aspect of wrestling,” North Attleborough coach Wayne Griffin said.
“A better representation of the sport is 14 kids as a whole going out and competing.”
Franklin coach Carmine Colace had his Panther squad in the finals at the last MIAA-sponsored dual tournament (all three divisions were held at the same site).
Host Franklin enters Saturday’s dual with a 19-0 mark after recording a 45-6 victory over King Philip on Wednesday.
“We’re more jazzed up,” Colace said. “You have to be ready, everybody there is good.”
North Attleborough (19-1) lost in a tiebreaker to Marshfield a year ago.
“As far as I’m concerned, wrestling is very much a team sport,” Griffin said. “All the team stuff just happens to get done behind the scenes, in practice, prior to matches. The actual wrestling bout itself is a result of all the teamwork up until that point.”
Colace and Griffin both noted the similarities in training in practice, but the strategy changes for a dual meet tournament. Wrestlers especially aim to avoid getting pinned or losing by a technical fall in order to give up less points in a dual meet. The result won’t matter as much in an individual event.
Colace said preparing for a dual meet tournament brings different challenges than the team faces for the individual postseason, and makes it more compelling overall.
“My theory is it’s a lot harder to win a dual meet state championship because you have to coach all 14 kids,” Colace said. “In an individual title, if you get six or seven really good kids, you’re in the money. But what about the other kids?”
In a dual meet, Griffin said wrestlers are more excited and focused on their teammates.
“In a regular dual meet, your entire team is buying into it,” Griffin said. “In a tournament format, the kids are spread out across 4, 5, 6, or even 8 mats, and it’s kind of tough for people to follow.”
In the end, Griffin said the dual meet tourney — whether it’s sponsored by the MIAA or the state’s coaches association — is where the real state champion teams are crowned.
“Two state champions don’t make a state championship team,” Griffin said. “14 kids can.”
■ Division 1 Duals seeding: 1. Franklin; 2. Chelmsford; 3. Shawsheen; 4. St. John’s Prep; 5. Springfield Central; 6. Framingham; 7. BC High; 8. Lawrence; 9. Weymouth; 10. Lincoln Sudbury; 11. Lowell; 12. Marshfield.
■ D2 Duals seeding — 1. North Attleborough; 2. Central Catholic; 3. Plymouth South; 4. Nashoba; 5. Woburn; 6. North Andover; 7. Arlington; 8. Oliver Ames; 9. Beverly; 10. Danvers; 11. Milford; 12. Catholic Memorial; 13. Algonquin.
■ D3 Duals seedng —
■ Winchester continued its dominance, moving to 22-0 with a 40-24 win over Woburn on Wednesday night. Whilethe Sachems will not be competing in the Division 2 State Dual Meet tourney on Saturday — choosing the Whittier Tech duals instead, the Sachems could make a case for being one of, if not the top, dual meet teams in D2.
■ BC High rolled to a 4-0 finish on Saturday at a super-quad meet with wins over Lincoln-Sudbury (45-36), Marlborough (43-21), New Bedford (50-27), and Acton-Boxborough (46-12). The Eagles (23-4-1) rounded out the week with a 58-21 win over Catholic Memorial.
Wrestlers of the week
Jake Carlucci, Franklin — The 106-pounder captured a Hockomock League title last Saturday and then registered a pin in a dual meet victory over King Philip on Wednesday.
Dylan Clifford, Brookline — The freshman picked up a key pin at 113 pounds for the Warriors, clincing a 35-26 win over Framingham.
Patrick Doherty, Winchester — The 170-pounder’s win by decision clinched a 40-24 win over Woburn.
Jake Nicolosi, Haverhill — The 138-pound sophomore knocked off last year’s 132-pound New England finalist, Josh Lee of Burlington, with a 3-2 decision in Concord, N.H.
Max Rodriquez, St. John’s Prep — At 220 pounds, Rodriguez delivered a pivotal win in the Eagles’ 36-32 victory over Westford Academy on Wednesday.
Matches to watch
■ Saturday, State Coaches Association Dual Meet tourneys — Division 1 (Franklin); D2 (North Andover); D3 (Ashland).
■ Saturday, Whittier Tech duals — Winchester (22-0) is shooting to keep its unblemished mark intact and repeat as tourney champion.
■ Saturday, Quad at Methuen — The unbeaten Rangers (18-0) welcome in Acton-Boxborough, Peabody, and Westford Academy.
■ Wednesday, Methuen at Central Catholic — After its quad, Methuen (17-0) heads up the road to tackle the host Raiders (16-2) in a key Merrimack Valley Conference dual.
■ Wednesday, Franklin at North Attleborough — In a huge Hockomock battle, the Rocketeers (19-1) host the 19-0 Panthers.David Austin Bumpus can be reached at email@example.com.