Each season, Goffstown High School head wrestling coach Keith Detjen said he aims to have his grapplers peaking in performance entering the state championship tournaments. Mission accomplished.
“We wrestled really well the last couple of weeks of the season,” said Detjen. “We had a big home win on senior night against Hollis-Brookline (the eventual D-II champs). We also wrestled really well at the D-II tournament, with a lot of guys finishing better than their seed.”
Indeed, a week before placing three wrestlers at the Meet of Champions, the Grizzlies, hosting the Division II tournament on Feb. 16, earned a top-four team finish with a relatively young roster.
“We used the word ‘potential’ a lot this season,” said Detjen. “When we wrestled well, we were as good as anyone. But, it was getting the full team to wrestle to its potential that was challenging at times. I really think we came together the last several weeks of the season and figured out how to do it as a full team.”
Sophomores Mason Reeves and Alden Harvey led the effort, winning the 106- and 113-pound weight classes, respectively. Reeves won the D-II title with a 4-0 decision over Winnacunnet’s Levon McCann, and Harvey pinned Hollis-Brookline’s Colin McGarry to top his bracket.
“They wrestled great all day,” said Detjen. “Harvey was flawless pretty much all day, and Reeves kept his composure to win a tough semifinals match by coming from behind in the third period.”
Harvey also placed fifth at Meet of Champions on Feb. 23, taking a 10-4 decision over Salem’s Philip Giordano.
In addition, 170-pounder David Gibson placed third at MOCs by pinning Exeter’s Nick Beebe.
The week prior, Gibson finished runner-up at the D-II meet, as did 126-pounder Nathaniel Fowler.
“Both lost to tough opponents,” said Detjen.
Senior Xavier Young pinned Portsmouth’s Riely Huneke in the 195-pound third-place match at the D-II tourney; and sophomore Brandon Demers took third in the 120-pount bracket by pinning Souhegan’s Shea Patterson.
“He works his butt off in the practice room,” said Detjen of Demers.
Also grappling at D-IIs were 285-pounder Josh Wight, who earned fourth, falling in the consolation final to Manchester West’s Kevin Johnson; 145-pounder EmilLeo Barriere, who placed fourth, dropping a 7-6 decision to Souhegan’s Aidan Wilson; 138-pounder Ryan Cote, who won the fifth-place match by pinning Portsmouth’s John Shorti; Axel Cabello, who finished sixth among 160 pounders; and 152-pounder Colby Kinsman, who competed but didn’t place.
Junior Aidan Hughes, in his first year wrestling, took fifth in the 220-pound weight class.
“(He) really turned himself into a tough varsity wrestler in a short time period,” said Detjen. “I’ve coached him in football the last three seasons, so I know how hard he works, and he applied that same mentality to the wrestling mat. I’m really glad he came out for wrestling this year.”
Detjen also credited freshman Seth Osborne, who took over the varsity 132 spot after the holidays and proved a great addition to the lineup.
“He’s as tough and coachable as they come, and had a huge win on senior night helping to secure the team victory,” said the coach.
A big part of the team’s success was the grapplers learning the season is a marathon, not a sprint, added Detjen.
“I credit the senior leadership with helping them to figure it out,” he said. “I can’t thank enough the graduating seniors for everything that have done for me and this program over the years. They will be missed.”
But they leave a legacy behind.
“(We have) big expectations for this year’s freshmen class moving forward,” said Detjen. “They have what it takes to build a solid foundation to winning another team Division II championship.”