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A recording: Timberlane wrestlers favored

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 17. 2017 12:28AM

Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

Seeking a fresh storyline for this year’s Division I wrestling championship meet? Looks like you’re out of luck.

As is the case almost every year at this time, Timberlane Regional of Plaistow enters the Division I meet as an overwhelming favorite. The Owls, who have won the Division I championship 16 times in the last 17 years, have the top seed in eight of the 14 weight classes.

This year’s championship will be determined Saturday at Londonderry High School. Matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

“We have eight No. 1 seeds, and that’s more than I’ve had in a long time,” Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian said. “We have some kids seeded second or third who are just as good. We’re really good in the lightweights.”

Many consider Windham to be the favorite in the Division II meet, which will take place Saturday at ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough. Windham, which nipped Hollis/Brookline to win last year’s title, has four No. 1 seeds, including Riley Millette at 113 pounds. Millette won last year’s Division II championship at 106 pounds.

Bishop Guertin of Nashua and Merrimack are among the other Division II contenders.

Plymouth appears to be the team to beat in Saturday’s Division III meet, which will take place at Winnisquam Regional in Tilton. The Bobcats have six top-seeded wrestlers. Campbell, last year’s Division III champion, figures to be in the hunt again as well. The Cougars have three No. 1 seeds, and eight wrestlers seeded among the top four in their respective weight class.

The top six wrestlers at each weight from the Division I meet will advance to the Meet of Champions, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 25 at Nashua South. The top five wrestlers from each weight class in Division II, and the top three from each class in Division III will also advance.

Concord, which has two top-seeded wrestlers, may be the only team that can keep the Division I championship away from Timberlane. Timberlane handed Concord a 42-24 loss last week. It was the only dual-meet loss for Concord (14-1) this season.

“It was tight, and then they outscored us at the end,” Concord coach Ham Munnell said. “They have a good team, but nobody is going into the Division I meet to lose. We would have to wrestle well, and that’s the plan. We feel like we have a pretty good wrestler in each weight class.”

Timberlane’s victory over Concord was the program’s 143rd consecutive in-state victory in dual meets. Timberlane is 21-1 in dual meets this season, with the only loss coming against Danbury, Conn.

“I think most people think that it’s a two-team race,” Chooljian said. “(Concord and Timberlane) are too deep for the other teams, although those teams will have a lot to say about who wins.

“We’ve had a good week of practice. I can tell you our kids are not overconfident.”

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