Last Wednesday the wrestlers traveled to Holliston to take on the defending Tri-Valley League and Division 3 Central Sectional champions and Division 3 State Dual Meet Runners-up. The Lancers knew that a win there would be essential in their quest to regain the league title and that the Panthers would be prepared to do battle. When the dust cleared, Norton had taken a hard-fought 46-24 victory and a major step toward winning another league title.
With no wrestler at 106 lbs., Norton gave up a forfeit in the first weight class.
Sophomore Ahrayah Saintius fought to the final buzzer at 113 lbs., but lost an exciting 17-10 decision giving Holliston an early 9-0 early lead. But here they met the iron of the Lancers' lineup and were defeated in six straight matches, giving Norton a 28-9 lead.
Senior co-captain Brett Gallagher needed only 35 seconds to pin his man at 120 lbs. Senior 126 pounder John Norton took five minutes, but also pinned his man. Senior Cam Hale followed up at 132 lbs. with a decisive 8-2 win.
The key match-up of the night came at 138 lbs. between senior co-captains and league all-stars from both teams, but it was Norton's John Royle who came from behind in the last period to win a critical 8-5 decision. Scott Coleman dominated another Holliston co-captain at 145 lbs. with a 13-2 major decision. But the big upset came at 152 lbs. when senior James Cuneo, down 19-10, reversed and pinned his man with one minute to go.
The Panthers made a desperate bid in the final five matches, but managed only two more wins.
Surprisingly, they forfeited to junior Jack Cuneo at 170 lbs. The Lancers then needed only one more win to clinch the meet, and that honor went to freshman Elliott Johnson at 182 lbs.
Losing 1-0 at the start of the last period, Johnson shot a takedown, put his man to his back and pinned him as the team and Norton fans went wild. Though Holliston got pins in two of the last three matches, it was to no avail. Junior Stephen Hudson's pin at 220 lbs. accounted for the last of the Lancers' points.
Norton's record is now 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the league. Hale, Coleman and Jack Cuneo all remain undefeated. The Lancers compete Tuesday and Wednesday in the 32-team Marshfield Tournament where they finished fifth last year and again on Saturday when they seek to defend their championship in the 12-team Middleboro Tournament.
The Lancers are 4-0 the JV level, with Brett Pike, Jared Marvel, Branden Pike, J.T. Taylor, Rob Butler, Myles McAlpine and Brandon Deal all still undefeated. They will compete on Thursday at the Marshfield JV Tournament and again on Saturday at the Middleboro Tournament.