Bishop Guertin upends Merrimack wrestling

Staff photo by HECTOR LONGO Merrimack senior Julien Hovan is back and healthy, here wrapping up a pin in Wednesday night's match vs. Bishop Guertin

NASHUA – The Merrimack High wrestling program is riding a wave of momentum. Numbers are up, so is excitement in the program.

Wednesday night, the Tomahawks had big plans, with their sights set on a the unofficial Division II “Dual meet” title.

Bishop Guertin had other ideas.

Merrimack got a pin from the recently-returned-from-injury Julien Hovan to grab a quick 6-3 lead in the showdown, but before the Tomahawks even tried to find their chairs, Dan Franco seized the emotion of the night right back, with a pin inside of 15 seconds, and the Cardinals rolled to the 49-21 decision.

“Franco is just all business, just go out and get the job done,” said a happy Cardinals’ coach in Paul Rousseau. “But I thought the biggest match of the night was the first one with Matt Frechette (topping a strong opponent in Merrimack’s Andy Almonte, 8-5). He wins a huge match and sets a tone for the whole night.”

Both programs battled hard from beginning to end, something that has gone by the wayside an awful lot in these days of low numbers.

“The whole team just fought hard all night,” said Rousseau. “No one gave up. It was a great team effort.

“Merrimack is a class organization, great coaching staff, great kids. It was a great night for wrestling.”

Matt Hauntsman, Hunter McLaughlin, Nick Connerty and Jesse Brochu scored Cardinal wins by pin. Connerty (at 285) never gave up. He fights till the end,” said Rousseau, whose club also took out Souhegan, 18-0 in a prelim. “And he ends up pinning the kid.”

Randy Brown, Zach Rioux and Andrew Ha went the full six minutes for decision wins. Merrimack got a pin at 106 from Mark Slade, a pin at 220 from red-hot Dom Damata and a gritty 12-6 decision for Griffin Ostrum at 195.