MIAA D3 Wrestling Preview: Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, Mahar’s Peter Tattan and Henry Gilmore look to keep rolling at state tourney

  • Mahar’s Henry Gilmore, top, competes against Athol’s Caleb Cox in the 152-pound weight class earlier this season in Orange. Gilmore, who won the CMass D3 title last weekend, will look to keep his momentum rolling at the MIAA Division 3 state tournament in Wayland, which begins today. FILE PHOTO

  • Franklin Tech’s Kyle Brunelle, right, pins Smith Vocational’s Joe Podolak to win the 138-pound weight class Saturday during the Western Mass. Div. 3 wrestling championship last weekend. Brunelle is looking to make his mark at this weekend’s MIAA Division 3 tourney in Wayland. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 2/20/2020 8:18:42 PM
Modified: 2/20/2020 10:50:31 PM

Three sectional champions from Franklin County will take to the wrestling mats in search of a state championship starting this afternoon at Wayland High School. 

The two-day MIAA Division 3 tournament begins today at 11:30 a.m. and will be whittled down to finals and consolation matches coming on Saturday.

Kyle Brunelle of Franklin Tech won his second consecutive Western Mass. championship at 138 pounds this past Saturday at Taconic High School.

“Not changing anything,” Brunelle said of his approach to the state tourney. “Keeping it basic and simple. Going into it I am feeling good.”

Brunelle went winless in two matches last year at the state tournament.

“I am going into it with the same mentality,” he said. “Keep it the same as it’s been all year. Same offense and same defense.”

Brunelle’s first-round opponent is Joe Leonardi from Tri-County. Brunelle holds a previous victory over Leonardi at the state vocational tournament.

“Things can change and different things can happen,” Brunelle said. “Tri-County is a lot of upper-body type wrestling. Going to have to stay low.”

There is a strong familiarity with his 138-pound bracket.

“I have seen most of the kids, if not all,” Brunelle said.

Mahar’s Peter Tattan won the 170-pound championship in Central Mass. last Saturday in Holliston.

“It’s a whole different game,” Tattan said of the state tournament. “Everyone is great. You don’t get a bad match. You have to be very physically prepared to be drained all day.”

The senior qualified for the state tournament last season and placed fifth there at 170 pounds.

“The target is on my back,” Tattan said. “That’s something I haven’t had before. I haven’t been looked at as one of the standout guys. Hopefully, it doesn’t affect how I perform.”

Tattan is slated to hit the mats with a first-round match against James Buddluph of Smith Vocational, who finished fourth in Western Mass. at 170.

Henry Gilmore won the first-ever sectional championship for the Senators last weekend and will wrestle Matt Cunningham in his first-round matchup at 152 pounds.

Other Franklin County wrestlers qualified for this weekend’s tournament thanks to podium finishes at their respective sectional meets.

At 106 pounds, Mahar’s Issa Gilmore is a No. 12 seed. Payton Sladeski of Frontier Regional drew a 14th seed in the same weight class.

Jon Mahony will attack the 113-pound bracket for Mahar after a runner-up finish at sectionals. 

Jeff Kidwell of Mahar faces a daunting challenge at 120 pounds, where he’ll face second-seeded Tommy Kelleher of Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle-Cassidy.

In the 126-pound bracket, Franklin Tech’s Peter Saladino will battle Alex Turcotte of Norton. Turcotte was second in Southern Mass. at its sectional tournament. 

Franklin Tech’s Josh Brunelle is a middle seed in the 132-pound bracket. 

The 145-pound bracket has two local competitors in Caleb Cox of Athol and Tanner Finch of Frontier.

Finch takes on the Central Mass. champion Patrick Griffin of Tri-County in the opening round.

The 152-pound bracket has an intriguing local matchup possibility. Frontier’s Ito McMillan and Mahar’s Henry Gilmore could potentially wrestle in the second round if both competitors are victorious in their opening match. McMillan placed eighth last season at the state tournament.

Mahar’s Todd Chiasson will open his tournament with a match against Smith Vocational’s Casey Baldwin at 160 pounds. 

In the 195-pound bracket, Athol’s John Hicks wrestles Caden O’Rourke of Monument Mountain to start his tournament.

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