LONDONDERRY — The season began with allegations of NHIAA rules violations and ended with another Division I championship. That’s each end of the timeline for the 2018-19 Timberlane High School wrestling team, which won its 19th Division I championship in the last 20 years Saturday at Londonderry High School.
Timberlane finished first in this year’s Division I meet by earning 270.5 points. Concord took second with 253 points and Pinkerton Academy was third with 187. Salem (170.5) and Windham (139) rounded out the top five.
Concord led Timberlane by 8.5 points entering the medal round, where five Timberlane wrestlers won individual state championships: Konrad Parker (106 pounds), Nick Roeger (113), Codey Wild (126), Connor McGonagle (132) and Nick Pallaria (138).
“They (Concord) had 14 guys in the medal round with an 8.5-point lead and we had 12,” Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian said. “We had a lot of guys in the finals, but that’s a tough place to win, so we really had our hands full. Really impressive from my team in the medal round with their backs against the wall.
“You always want to know how your kids will perform when there’s pressure on them and things don’t look good. That’s the situation we were faced with. I told the guys, ‘You’re gonna have to step it up or you’re not going to win.’”
Salem’s Matt Adams (120), Exeter’s Hayden Brown (145), Pinkerton’s Tyler Mackiernan (152), Salem’s Tristen Cabinta (160), Concord’s Isaac Gladey (170), Pinkerton’s Sterling McLaughlin (182), Salem’s Beau Dillon (195), Concord’s Noah Giffard (220) and Keene’s Kyle Garrapy (285) were the other wrestlers who prevailed in their weight class. Cabinta, who became the first Salem wrestler to win four Division I championships, was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Salem co-head coaches Wes Decker and Nick Eddy were named the Division I Coaches of the Year.
The top six finishers in each weight class earned an invitation to the Meet of Champions, which will be held Saturday at Nashua South. The Meet of Champions will also include the top five wrestlers in each weight class from the Division II meet, and the top three wrestlers in each weight class from the Division III meet.
Before the season began, some rival Division I coaches assembled a document that questioned the residency of some current and former Timberlane wrestlers. Timberlane said the accusations were unfounded and conducted an investigation that seemed to satisfy the NHIAA, since no penalty was imposed.
A Right-to-Know request that was submitted in an attempt to produce documents related to the investigation was stonewalled by lawyers representing Timberlane and the NHIAA.
“I told my team at the beginning of the year and throughout the year … we’re going to focus on ourselves,” Chooljian said. “I feel like when you coach high school athletes you have to teach them the right lessons. When other people want to focus on us, I think they’re doing their kids a disservice. So I told my kids, ‘We’re not gonna pay attention to that. We’re gonna focus on us. We’re gonna believe in what we do,’ and they rallied. They stuck together and trained really hard.”
The off-the-mat controversy didn’t cause the Owls to lose focus. Timberlane finished the season unbeaten (19-0) and has won its last 172 meets against New Hampshire competition, a streak that began in 2007. The last time Timberlane didn’t win the Division I meet was 2015, when Londonderry claimed the Division I title.
DIVISION I WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
106: Konrad Parker, Timberlane, pinned Ryan O’Rourke, Salem, 3:49
113: Nick Roeger, TImberlane, pinned Colby Spencer, Nashua South, 3:22
120: Matt Adams, Salem, def. John Leavitt, Timberlane, 12-1
126: Codey Wild, Timberlane, pinned JackSargent, Concord, 2:23
132: Connor McGonagle, Timberlane, pinned David Hammond, Pinkerton, 0:46
138: Nick Pallaria, Timberlane, def. Riley Millette, Winnacunnet, 16-3
145: Hayden Brown, Exeter, pinned Antonio Pallaria, Timberlane, 3:56
152: Tyler Mackiernan, Pinkerton, def. Tom Cullerton, Nashua South, 7-3
160: Tristen Cabinta, Salem, def. Austin Morris, Keene, 14-2
170: Issac Gladey, Concord, def. Nick Beebe, Exeter, 3-0
182: Sterling McLaughlin, Pinkerton, pinned Abbas Abdulrahman, Concord, 2:45
195: Beau Dillon, Salem, def. Kyle Setzer, Pinkerton, 5-1
220: Noah Giffard, Concord, def. Richard Fahey, Pinkerton, 3-2
285: Kyle Garrapy, Keene, def. Josh Ozoria, Salem, 6-1
Team scores: 1. Timberlane 270.5; 2. Concord 253; 3. Pinkerton 187; 4. Salem 170.5; 5. Windham 139; 6. Londonderry 129; 7. Keene 114.5; 8. Nashua South 99; 9. Exeter 93; 10. Manchester Central 53; 11. Nashua North 45; 12. Alvirne 39; 13. Manchester Memorial 29; 14. Bedford 28