2 NH wrestlers earn crowns at Londonderry Holiday Wrestling InvitationalBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
December 16. 2017 9:50PM
LONDONDERRY - Out-of-state teams took charge at Saturday's Londonderry Holiday Wrestling Invitational at Londonderry High School. However, two New Hampshire wrestlers found a way around the talented field to win individual titles.
Manchester Central's Cam Varney and Londonderry's Craig Santos continued their strong seasons with titles at 195 and 145 pounds, respectively.
Varney took a thrilling 9-7 title-winning decision over Ryan Louis of St. Johnsbury Academy (Vt.) while Santos registered a third-period pin of Dave Spinney of Marshwood High (Maine). The two New Hampshire winners were two of six finalists from Granite State schools.
Varney and Santos took very different paths to their titles on Saturday. The Little Green junior took the less luxurious path to a title as each of his three wins came by decision, including his final two by two points or fewer. Getting to the final was a took quite the effort from Varney, who got a reversal in the final second of his match with Londonderry's Alex Boucher to take a 15-13 win.
"That match was close the whole time," Varney said. "(Alex) beat me twice last year so I had to go in knowing it was a new year. It definitely was a little too close."
Varney used his slippery tactics again in the final as two key moves out of danger helped him battle Louis to a 7-7 tie through two periods. A reversal eight seconds into the third scored Varney the win before he milked the final 1:52 left on the clock.
"I was trying to work, but he is a strong kid," Varney said. "I knew he was gassed and just tried to hold him down as long as I could."
In contrast to Varney, Santos breezed through his first three matches. The senior earned first-period pins to reach the semifinals, where he managed an 11-1 major decision. When it came to the final though, Santos needed two slips of his own to help set him up for the win. A reversal with five seconds left in the first period to give him a 4-2 edge, but Santos deemed an early escape in the second period as his biggest boost.
"It kind of momentum to run with through the match," Santos said. "It showed me I could win with no problem after getting back up from being down."
Spinney earned a late takedown to make it 5-4 at the end of two periods before Santos ended things with his pin 1:18 into the third. Santos went to work on Spinney early in the third, getting on top before seeing his opening.
"I caught his arm underneath coming out the side so I just kept that arm pinned," Santos said. "I kept trying to put his head down before finally picking it up, moving it and then I jerked him over."
New Hampshire schools came close to two other titles with Kearsarge of North Sutton's Mason Benedict (138) and Central's Cam Sweezy. Benedict sat tied 13-13 in is title match before he was reversed and then pinned. Sweezy was up 7-6 in his title match before a takedown turned into a pin. Londonderry's Ben Psaledas also earned a runner-up finish at 182 pounds.
Londonderry's fourth-place finish with 121.5 points was tops among New Hampshire teams as Central (71 points) came in ninth. Andover (Mass.) defeated Marshwood 150-139 to win the team title.
Londonderry Holiday Invitational
At Londonderry High
Team results: 1. Andover (Mass.), 150; 2. Marshwood (Maine), 139; 3. Sanford (Maine), 137; 4. Londonderry, 121.5; 5. St. Johnsbury (Vt.), 118; 6. New Fairfield (Conn.), 92; 7. Westhill (Conn.), 91; 8. Champlain Valley Union (Vt.), 84.5; 9. Man. Central, 71; 10. White Mountains, 61; 11. Man. Memorial, 50; 12. Spaulding (Vt.), 46; 13. Kearsarge, 43; 14. Souhegan, 31; 15. Winnacunnet, 30; 16. Man. West, 10; 17. Sanborn, 4.
N.H. Championship match results
106: Carter Dickson (Spaulding) d. Cam Sweezy (Man. Central), 3:22 pin; 138: Kevin Kiely (Andover) d. Mason Benedict (Kearsarge), 4:44 pin; 145: Craig Santos (Londonderry) d. Dave Spinney (Marshwood), 5:18 pin; 152: Kelvin Davila (Andover) d. Mike Dow (Winnacunnet), 2:40 pin; 182: Isaac Plante (Sanford) d. Ben Psaledas, 1:36 pin; 195: Camren Varney (Man. Central) d. Ryan Louis, 9-7.