By Kathy Chisholm
Last weekend, the Needham High School wrestling team competed in the eight-team Quabbin Midland Duals where the Rockets finished third.
In NHS's four-team were 15th-ranked Dracut and returning Division 3 State Finalists Holliston. Needham opened with Dracut and nearly pulled off the upset, tying the Middies, 39-39. The next match, Needham pulled off the win over Holliston, 36-30, and then finished strong against Franklin Tech, 61-15.
Using a cumulative pool points criterium, Dracut edged Needham to advance to the finals against the host team. Needham had to settle for the third place match with Athol, which they dominated, 57-12. Needham finished 3-0-1 on the day.
A few of the highlights:
- Going 4-0 for the Rockets were sophomore Zach Goldman (3 pins), junior Mark Carroll (3 pins), senior Evan Michelson (3 pins), junior John Cronin and senior Captain Cam Chisholm (each with 4 pins).
- Junior Mikhail Khibkin went 3-0.
- Senior Captain Andrew Caylor went 3-1, dropping a close 4-2 match to a highly ranked Franklin Tech wrestler.
- Senior Captain Charlie Pryor, junior Islam Baiev, junior Tak Hirayama and senior Sam Feinberg each won two matches.
- Freshmen Justin Jacobs, Dan Goldstein and Travis Szetela each won a match for the Rockets.
- Bumped up a weight class, junior Chris Ptak performed well, also.
The competition brought Needham wrestling's record to 10-4-1.
Also on Sunday, Jan. 15, five freshmen wrestlers from Needham participated in the Freshman State Invitational Tournament in Brookline. Four wrestlers placed fourth in their matches, including Dan Goldstein, Will Burke, Alex Goff and Travis Szetela.