Waslaske settles for eighth place

  • Athol 182-pounder junior Chris Waslaske started fast and settled for an eighth-place finish at the All-State Wrestling Championships over the weekend. Athol daily news/mike phillips

Recorder Staff
Monday, February 26, 2018

It was a tough second Saturday of competition for Chris Waslaske.

The 182-pound Athol High School wrestler lost a pair of matches at the MIAA All-State Wrestling Championships and wound up in eighth place, which left him one spot out of the New England Championships scheduled for this weekend at Providence (R.I.) Career and Technical Academy.

Waslaske had wrestled himself into position to finish no worse than eighth after Day 1 of the competition Friday. The junior grappler went 2-1 on Day 1 and was in the consolation bracket quarterfinals to start Day 2 against Methuen High School’s Danny O’Connell. Waslaske got off to a nice start and led 5-2 late in the third period. Then O’Connell scored an escape and takedown in the final three seconds to tie the score and force overtime.

The two combatants began the first overtime at neutral, but neither was able to earn a takedown in the one-minute session, which led to a second and third overtime. There, each wrestler gets a chance to start on the bottom for a 30-second period. Waslaske was first on bottom but was unable to escape. O’Connell then took the bottom and scored an escape with 13 seconds to go. Waslaske still had a chance to earn a late takedown, which would have won him the match, but he was unable and fell 6-5.

That sent Waslaske into the seventh-place match and the winner of that match was assured a place in the New England meet. Waslaske took on Putnam Vocational Technical Academy’s Taha Huggins. After a scoreless first period, Huggins went ahead 4-2 in the second. Waslaske earned an escape in the third, but that was all he could muster, falling 4-3. Athol coach Phil Saisa said that eighth place was nothing to be upset about.

“Finishing in the top eight out of 164 teams that compete in Massachusetts is nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “He lost three matches at All-States by a total of four points, including a loss by two points to the top seed in the tournament. It’s great that he is a junior and gets to come back and do it again next year.”

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