The Duxbury wrestling team has a history of strong performances at their own tournament. But with only one win in dual meets this season, this year’s squad could have been the exception at the eight-team tournament held at Duxbury High School on Saturday.
With two starters returning to the lineup and some key pins, Duxbury pulled off a huge 39-34 win over Durfee in the first round, and then won convincingly (45-24) over a tough Plymouth North team to advance to the finals, where they lost a close one to New Bedford.


The first match of the morning began at heavyweight with Durfee senior captain Dave Medeiros facing off against Duxbury sophomore Owen Grey. Grey circled for much of the first period, not wanting to tie-up and waiting to make his move. It came halfway through the period in the form of a throw, giving him a 2-0 lead.  However, Grey’s lead was short-lived, as Medeiros quickly tied the match up with a reversal, and later mounted a 6-0 run before pinning the underclassman in the second period.
Next up for the Dragons was sophomore Nick Kates, who faced off against Durfee junior captain and No. 5-ranked Eric Beneviedes in the 103 lbs. contest.  Kates held his own in the first period after giving up the first takedown.  However, Beneviedes extended his lead in the second period with a tilt and three back points, giving him a 5-0 lead heading into the third.  With Kates on top, the junior captain earned a 2-point reversal, and three more back points en route to a 10-0 major decision, and four more points for the visitors.
With no contest at 112, Duxbury got their first points of the match at 119 when junior Brendan Gillis returned to the mat for the first time in three weeks and went unopposed, giving the Dragons six points.
With the score 10-6 in favor of Durfee, Hilltopper sophomore Adam Pereira gave his team an unexpected boost when he took the mat in the 125 lbs. weight class, and caught freshman Jim Chappuis in a cradle after a first-period takedown for the win and the pin.
Now up 16-6, Durfee was seemingly in good shape to add to their lead with senior captain Jacob Martin taking the mat against Duxbury sophomore Jake Genereux in the 130 lbs. match-up. Genereux got the first takedown for an early 2-0 lead, but after a short break for blood, Martin tied the match at 2-2.  Genereux quickly reversed the senior captain, and took a 4-2 lead heading into the second period.  Down by two, Martin chose bottom, but Genereux proved to be too tough on top, mounting a 7-2 lead before pinning the Durfee senior early in the third period.
Unfortunately for Duxbury, Durfee answered in the 135 lbs. contest when junior Nick Champagne returned the favor by pinning Duxbury sophomore JP Geiger.
That set up the return of Duxbury senior captain Pat Donovan (140), who suffered a concussion earlier in the month.  Donovan used a single-leg takedown and trip on sophomore Joe Manchester, and added two back points to go ahead 4-0 early in the first period. Manchester would manage a one-point escape to cut the lead to 4-1, but that was as close as the underclassman would get, as Donovan would get two more takedowns and was awarded another point when Manchester was called for stalling, giving the senior captain a convincing 9-2 victory.
The three points closed the gap to 22-15 in favor of Durfee, but Duxbury senior captain Jamie Auer would pull his team to within one point when he continued to exploit Durfee’s inexperience in the middle weights. He got a quick pin after a takedown in the 145 lbs. weight class. 
Duxbury sophomore Lucas Trumbo would win by forfeit at 152 lbs., but another injury for Duxbury at 160 would force the Dragons to forfeit at that weight class.
With Durfee still clinging to a one-point lead, senior Diago Araujo took the mat against Duxbury sophomore Cody Dormady in the 171 pound weight class.  Dormady went on the attack and got the first takedown. But after stopping the match for an illegal hold by the Dragon grappler, the referee had the two wrestlers re-start in neutral.  That’s when the Durfee senior took the Duxbury sophomore to the mat hard, sunk a half, and worked for the pin.
With two matches to go, Durfee was up by seven, but with the Duxbury faithful on their feet, senior captain Alec McKenzie, who is one of the team leaders in pins, took the mat against Durfee senior Evan Darmody in the 189 lbs. weight class.  McKenzie wasted little time getting the first takedown, and eventually recorded a critical pin as the first period was about to expire, cutting the Durfee lead to 34-33.
The Dragon bench was sensing a victory, but the match would come down to the 215 lb. contest with Duxbury junior Bobby Boyle pitted against Durfee junior Dave McElroy.  As he always does, Boyle came out fired up, and quickly took McElroy to the mat for an early 2-0 lead.  The Durfee junior could do little on bottom, as Boyle worked hard to turn McElroy.  His determination would eventually pay off with Duxbury’s fourth pin of the match, and a dramatic 39-34 come-from-behind victory.
The win put the hosts in the semi-finals against sectional foe Plymouth North.  Duxbury had the upper hand in pins with four, and also won eight out of the fourteen matches.
One of those key matches for the Dragons was in the 119 lbs. weight class with Duxbury’s Gillis turning in a gutsy performance against PN’s Chris O’Neill.  Gillis was battling a stomach ailment, but hung on to win a 4-2 decision.
Also winning by decision for Duxbury were senior captains Donovan (140) and Auer (145).  Genereux won by forfeit when Plymouth North Coach Bobby Lewis decided to bump up his 130-pounder to avoid a possible loss.
After being down 7-0, Duxbury’s Chappuis reversed PN sophomore Chucky Phacanisiri, and earned a key second-period pin in the 125 lbs. weight class.  Also pinning for the hosts were Kates (103) and Dormady (171), who pinned PN senior Gavin Dineen to the delight of the crowd. McKenzie (189) and Boyle (215) earned Duxbury’s third and fourth pins of the match.
Duxbury certainly had its chances to win the championship against New Bedford, but the Whalers moved two of their top wrestlers, Jonathan Costa (119) and Paulo Tavares (125), up a weight class to secure a pin and a win. Duxbury didn’t help its cause by having to forfeit two weight classes in the 45-35 loss.
Going 3-0 on the day for Duxbury were Donovan and Auer, while Boyle pinned all three of his opponents.  Also recording a pin for the hosts against New Bedford was Owen Grey (285).
On Senior night, the Dragon grapplers will play host to Patriot League rival Silver Lake on Wednesday at 7 p.m.