Following their performances in the state open, Billy Carr and Jacob Vecchio were on the biggest wrestling stage in all of New England when they competed in the regional championships last weekend at Methuen High School in Methuen, Mass.
Last year, Jacob Cardozo and Josh Vitti were the two representatives of the Blue Knights in the regional but were eliminated in the early rounds. While Carr and Vecchio did not place in the top-five, they were able to make some noise.
Carr began his bracket in the 182 weight class against Kai Gallman of North Kingstown, R.I. Carr’s first and third round performances made the difference in a 10-6 decision win. The senior had a takedown and reversal in both rounds. Carr had three total takedowns in the match. Gallman had one takedown but was mostly only able to pick up points from escapes.
Carr’s quarterfinal matchup was as good as a state championship match. Neither Carr nor Cooper Kelley of Timberland High School in Plaistow, N.H. was able to pick up a point in the first round but Carr found something in the second round. He was able to pick up a takedown before pinning Kelly at the 4:39 mark.
Carr finally met his match in the semifinals against James Danis of Essex, Vt. Danis’ size eventually proved to be too much in a win by technical pin, 17-2. Danis picked up three takedowns and three near-pins on his way to the victory. A reversal at the 1:56 mark at round three put Danis’ lead at 15, which was good enough for the technical pin.
Carr still had his chance in the fifth place match but was pinned by David Langlois of Woburn, Mass. at the 3:47 mark, giving Carr the sixth place finish.
Vecchio came out of the gates firing last weekend in his first round matchup of the 220 weight class bracket. Vecchio picked up two takedowns in the first round against Nick Lincoln of Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Maine. Vecchio picked up a reversal and takedown the rest of the way in an 8-3 decision for a win.
Vecchio’s shot at a New England title was stopped in the round-of-16 against Joao Neiva of Milford, Mass. Neiva picked up two takedowns and a near-pin in the first two rounds. While Vecchio had a takedown in the third round, Neiva kept his distance and rode out a 9-2 decision for a win.
“Both of our guys ran into some buzz saws up there,” head coach Derek Dion said. “Billy and Jacob were both a bit undersized for their weight classes this year. They toughed out their matches based on toughness and speed. They both wrestled very well, but at this level, you are probably going to go up against someone that is bigger or better than you.”
Dion said both wrestlers had stand-out careers in their four year in the program.
“Billy placing sixth was awesome,” Dion said. “We are not just proud of the way Billy and Jacob worked this season. We are proud of the way they worked for four years. They are probably the hardest-working kids we have in this program in a while.”
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