Senior captain Pat Donovan knew that winning a Sectional championship was a distinct possibility coming into this season.  However, that goal seemed to be in jeopardy after tweaking his knee last weekend at team sectionals in Marshfield. While Donovan was able to finish the match and beat his Sharon opponent when the injury occurred, the Duxbury senior was left with some concerns as to how it would hold up at individual D2 South Sectionals on Saturday in North Attleboro.

 


Those concerns were put to rest after Donovan won the 140 lbs. championship with a 5-4 decision over his nemesis, and No. 1-seeded Colin McSweeney of Whitman-Hanson. McSweeney had beaten the Duxbury senior captain twice before, but Donovan wanted to put the past behind him when he took the mat in the 140 pound final.
After taking McSweeney down late in the first period, Donovan let him up for a one-point escape, giving the Duxbury senior a 2-1 lead at the end of one. To start the second period, Donovan deferred to the Whitman-Hanson junior, who chose the bottom position.  Feeling he could beat McSweeney on his feet, Donovan again let him up to tie the match at 2-2.  The strategy worked like a charm, as Donovan earned another takedown before McSweeney escaped to cut the lead to 4-3 heading into the third period.  Donovan started on bottom, and quickly escaped to extend his lead to 5-3.  McSweeney went on the attack, targeting Donovan’s knee, but the Duxbury senior captain held his course, and despite being penalized for stalling, Donovan hung on to win a hard fought 5-4 decision.
Also in the finals for Duxbury was sophomore Nick Kates, who wrestled in the 103 lbs. championship against North Attleboro’s Cam Burns.  Prior to the championship match, Kates easily handled Whitman-Hanson’s Colin Bain in the quarterfinals before beating Sandwich sophomore Kevin Wright with a 7-0 decision in the semi-finals. However, the win would prove to be costly, as the Duxbury sophomore aggravated his shoulder injury.  Determined to have his moment in the spotlight, Kates took the mat with the championship on the line.  However, it was obvious when Burns took him down for the second time that Kates was in pain, and would have to default, settling for a second-place finish.
Three Dragon grapplers placed third, which in wrestling vernacular is “the toughest wrestler in the tournament.”  This is because the wrestler who finishes third has to fight his way back to the medal round, often times after an upset or earlier loss.
This was especially true for Duxbury sophomore Jake Genereux, who earned the top spot in a very competitive 130 lb. weight class heading into sectionals.  After pinning Milton’s Patrick Crowley in 20 seconds, Genereux faced off for the second time in as many weeks with Plymouth North junior captain Carlos Soloman. Genereux clearly pinned Soloman from the takedown, but did not get the call from the referee.  After mounting a 10-1 lead, it appeared that Genereux was well on his way to the finals when Soloman chose an optional start in the third period, and caught Genereux in a gator roll, applied a grapevine hold with his legs, and pinned the No. 1 seed.
Showing mental toughness after a devastating loss, Genereux went on to beat North Attleboro’s Ryan Charpentier, 8-2, and Marshfield’s Josh Fitzpatrick by the same score to take third.
Also battling back to the medal round was senior captain Jamie Auer, who lost by pin to OA’s Erik Brugnoli in the 145 lb. quarterfinal.  Auer went on to pin Sandwich’s Zach Foley, and then earned a 6-3 decision over North Attleboro’s Rob Henrickson.  With the bronze medal on the line, the Duxbury senior captain pinned Somerset’s Jim Mulvey with 18 seconds left in the first period.
Senior captain Alec McKenzie began his day with a pin of Whitman-Hanson’s Greg McGrath in the 189 lb. quarterfinal before losing by pin to the No. 1-seeded Tommy Pomella of Marshfield.  McKenzie bounced right back from the loss with a pin of Milton’s Cyprian Leacock to again face McGrath for a third or fourth place finish.  McKenzie made quick work of the W-H underclassman once again, pinning him early in the second period to earn Duxbury’s third bronze medal of the tournament.
Junior Brendan Gillis also had an outstanding day for Duxbury, and showed resilience with his fourth-place finish after getting pinned in the quarterfinals by Oliver Ames senior captain Max Jacobs.  Gillis fought his way back by pinning Stoughton’s Spencer Dennis, and then posted a 10-2 major decision over Patriot League rival Alex Perry of Whitman-Hanson.  That set up a rematch with Jacobs, and this time it was a nail-biter with the only point being scored in the third period when Gillis let Jacobs up from bottom, hoping for a takedown and the win.  Unfortunately for the Duxbury junior, the OA senior captain held on for the win. 
Also going to States as an alternate is Bobby Boyle, who had two wins in the 215 lb. weight class to finish in fifth place.  Sophomore Owen Grey placed sixth at heavyweight with three wins (two by pin), including a thrilling 13-11 overtime win over Marshfield’s Jeff Wallace.
The Division II individual states will be held at Marlborough High School on Friday and Saturday.