Three-peat after me: Memorial wins city wrestling championship

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Central’s Mike Lafond is all smiles, as he scores a pinfall win at 175 pounds against West, at the City Wrestling Championships.Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos from the City Wrestling Championship available at

MANCHESTER, NH — Manchester Memorial swept matches against Central and West to claim its third consecutive City Wrestling Championship, Saturday morning at West High.

The round-robin format began with Memorial overwhelming Central, 60-12. West then defeated Central, 42-22, setting up a showdown with Memorial for the title.

The match came down to the bout at 215 pounds, between Memorial’s Patrick Vachon and West’s John Milonis. Coming into that contest, West held a 33-30 lead but Memorial had a six-point forfeit win already in the bag at 285. With that in mind, Minonis needed, at minimum, a four-point decision to clinch the championship or a more narrow three-point decision to split the crown.

But Vachon was having none of it. He removed any element of drama and showed why he will be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming State Championships by pinning Milonis in just 25 seconds, setting off a celebration on the Memorial side of the mat.

With the forfeit at 285, the final score was 42-33.

“It’s a nice feeling to wrap the regular season up by winning the city championship. It’s good to end on a high note like that, going into the post-season,” said Memorial Head Coach Craig Whittick.

The showdown between Memorial and West featured seven contested matches, most of which hard-fought battles, which could have gone either way. In the end, the championship was decided on three key matches.

At 126, Memorial’s Jyzeah Almonte trailed West’s Jeremiah Ramnanan, 4-1, late in the second period, having mounted little offense. But, as Ramanan looked to press his advantage, Almonte showed off some counter-wrestling techniques, rolling back through a takedown attempt by his opponent and quickly turning it into a pinfall win and six points.

At 138, West’s Colin Taylor looked to have Memorial’s Dominick Rowell beaten. Taylor had built up an 8-2 lead in the first period, including points for two near falls. But when it looked like Taylor was ready to put the match away, Rowell executed a slick reversal into a pinfall, barely inside the circle.

At 157, West’s Jhystoni Rivera outlasted Memorial’s Jackson Schaechtle, 2-0, in a grueling battle. The young men were locked in a scoreless tie entering the final period, when Rivera scored a two-point takedown. However, Schaechtle was able to fight off Rivera’s attempts to turn him for a pin or to get near-fall points. As a result, West had to settle for a three-point decision, as opposed to a six for a pin.

“It’s all about the mindset and the mentality,” said Whittick. “I make sure that we’re doing live wrestling and make sure they know the situations are there, (such as) they’re up a score or they’re down, how much time is left, so we can work on these situations.”

For West Head Coach Avery Portinari, the loss was disappointing but he continues to see progress being made by his inexperienced squad.

“I think we’re a young team, still, but we’re a good young team,” he said. “We have a lot of promise in the room. We definitely have a lot of young kids willing to do the work. Keep your eye on West High School. We’ll be back on the map soon enough.”

Other winners in contested matches for Memorial included Tavin Bland by pinfall at 113 and Nasar Abbari by pinfall at 144.

Winners in contested matches for West, winners included Astor Sunsin by pinfall at 150 and Tomas Acosta by pinfall at 165.

West 42, Central 22

Winners in contested matches for West included Jhystoni Rivera by pinfall at 157, Randall Hodson by pinfall at 190

Winners in contested matches for Central included Ian Maguire by decision at 126, Demetrio Cortez by pinfall at 144, Michael Lafond by pinfall at 175, Julian Rentas-Ubedo by pinfall at 215.

Memorial 60, Central 12

Winners in contested matches for Memorial included Jyzeah Almonte by pinfall at 126, Nasir Abbari at 144, Jackson Schaechtle by pinfall at 157 and Patrick Vachon by pinfall at 215.

“We were missing some bodies. We’ve had some kids out with injuries and sickness. But across the board, we are very young. A lot of freshmen and sophomores,” said Central Head Coach Jarod Mills. “We had some good matches here today, a couple that got away from us, a couple of more wins I thought we could have had.”

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Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos from the City Wrestling Championship available at


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Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos from the City Wrestling Championship available at


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Bill Gilman

Bill Gilman is a veteran journalist with 35 years of experience covering community news and sports in New England. He and his wife have two grown sons and two perfect granddaughters.