NHIAA Wrestling: Central, Timberlane go to mat tonight
The Manchester Central wrestling team, runner-up at the Meet of Champions last season, is driven to become the best.
Tonight, the Little Green have a chance to beat the best.
Central hosts powerhouse Timberlane of Plaistow at 7 p.m. It's the biggest dual meet of the year for the emerging Little Green grapplers.
"We're honored to take the challenge," said Central coach Jason Cumming, in his fourth season with the program. "I think we match up very well with them. Our guys are working hard as a team and pushing each other to reach the top."
Timberlane (2-0) has won a state championship for 13 consecutive years and posted a 450-44-5 record under coach Barry Chooljian. The Owls (2-0) opened the season with dominant wins over Londonderry and Nashua North, defeating the division foes by an average of 56 points. Timberlane senior wrestlers Adam Corey and Josh Burnham, who've both won individual NHIAA titles, have both reached the 100-win career win mark.
Central (2-1) won non-division matches against Bedford and Winnacunnet of Hampton and lost to Pinkerton of Derry in the Division I opener.
Central freshman Ezra Pinder has been perfect, pinning his three opponents in a combined time of four minutes. Pinder, wrestling at 120 pounds, defeated a Bedford wrestler in 64 seconds. Kyle Peterson, a state champion at 126 pounds last season, will be putting his undefeated record on the line at 132. Keaton Peterson is undefeated at 145.
Captain Nathan Boilard, Azalkhon Sarvolov, Noah Owens and Kenton Thomson-Kennedy have also gotten off to strong starts for Central. The Little Green and Owls each have six Meet of Champion qualifiers in their lineup.
"We think we have a strong chance of standing up to them," Cumming said.
Timberlane will have its hands full all week. Following tonight's meet against Central, the Owls will prepare for a Saturday dual meet against North Andover, Mass., a Division 2 defending champion in the Bay State.
"We respect the Central program," said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian. "Their program has jumped quite a few notches over the last few years. We need to be prepared."