Monty Tech’s Paulino Wins State Vocational Wrestling Title
DANVERS -- As the ref slapped the mat in the Essex Tech gymnasium Saturday night, Monty Tech’s Isaic Paulino stood up and pumped his fist. With his hand raised in victory, the Bulldogs freshman had crossed another goal off of his lofty to-do list, winning the state vocational championship.
For the first time in the history of the state vocational tournament, the field was split into two divisions: large and small schools. Despite the team’s relatively small roster, Monty Tech’s enrollment size put the Bulldogs up against tough competition in the large-school division.
It did nothing to dampen the fires of Paulino’s ambitions for a title. After earning a No. 2 seed at 106 pounds, he stepped into his bracket ready for battle.
Paulino was able to tech his first opponent, from Shawsheen Tech, with a barrage of fireman’s carries and leg riding to move onto the semifinals. In the semis, against an opponent from Greater Lawrence, he continued his tech-fall ways, with multiple single-leg finishes and tilts and a chicken wing bar arm to end off the match for a 18-2 tech-fall score to move onto the final, where he took on Jose Avero of Putnam.
Paulino wasted little time on the mat with a slide by takedown before converting his takedown for the second time on the day with a chicken wing bar arm turn, this time for the pin, securing Paulino’s first large-school state vocational title. The dominant performance also led to Paulino being voted large-school lower-weight outstanding wrestler.
Paulino was not the only Bulldog wrestler to impress. Brent Landry took second at 195 pounds, while Xavien Natal finished third at 120 and Colin Dudek placed fourth at 152.
Landry was awarded the first seed before the tournament at 195. In the first round he took on a Greater Lowell wrestler. Landry gave up the first takedown, but posted a quick comeback as he scored an escape and then a head and arm for a takedown of his own for the pin.
He then moved on to wrestle a strong and imposing-looking Putnam wrestler. Landry was not to be intimidated, though, as his opponent went for multiple head and arms, with Landry scoring his own takedowns off defending them as well as back points in the end. This led to Landry building an almost insurmountable lead as he went into the third period with a 10-0 advantage.
The Putnam wrestler chose bottom in the third, which Landry was able to ride out on top for the win and to move into the final, where he took on Andrew Comeau of Shawsheen Tech. Landry scored the first four points with a unconventional throw for a takedown and two back points, but Comeau quickly came back with a unconventional roll through of his own for the pin.
Natal was given a third seed before the tournament. He had a bye in the first round before taking on a Bristol Plymouth Coyle Cassidy wrestler. With 10 seconds to go in the first round, the Bristol wrestler scored a quick takedown to get up 2-0 to go into the second. Natal chose bottom in the second. Hoping to score points, he instead was ridden out.
The Bristol Plymouth wrestler chose neutral in the third period. Natal forced the action most of the third period, but was unable to get a shot off until the end of period, which resulted in a takedown for Natal in the waning seconds of the match to make the score 2-2 and force overtime. In overtime, as Natal was already given a stalling warning earlier in the match, Natal gave up another stall call but this time for a penalty point and a lost match.
The outcome didn’t deter Natal, though, as in the consolation semifinals he was able to get a tech fall with leg riding that proved too much for his Greater Lawrence opponent. That set up a consolation final for Natal against a Whittier Tech wrestler. Neither scored a takedown in the first period, and the Whitter Tech wrestler chose bottom in the second period hoping to score points. Natal had other plans, as he rode out his opponent the entire second period.
Natal took bottom in the third, blasting immediately up to try to score an escape, but the Whittier Tech wrestler tried to return him to the mat. Natal was able to use his length to stay tall and not allow his opponent to get leverage over him. Natal was then able to scramble out of the hold to a deadlock position, before scoring a reversal to take a 2-0 lead. Natal rode out his opponent for the rest of the match for the bronze medal.
Dudek was given the third seed in the tournament. After pinning a Whittier Tech wrestler in less than a minute with a bulldog takedown, he took on Jolan Mortari from Putnam -- who is ranked ninth in the state at 152 pounds. Mortari scored a single-leg takedown to start the match. Dudek immediately bounced back for an escape to cut the score to 2-1. Mortari went for another takedown, but Dudek put himself in a scrambling position with a length advantage over his opponent.
Mortari eventually finished on the takedown to make the score 4-1 going into second, then built up a lead with turns. Dudek, however, stayed tough and didn’t get pinned.
He bounced back in his consolation semifinals against Jack Arena of Keefe Tech. After scoring a takedown, Dudek sunk in legs trying to turn his opponent, but was unable to. Dudek eventually got his wish in the second period, where Arena chose neutral and Dudek was able to score another takedown to push the score 4-0.
Dudek then was able to turn his opponent a couple times before Arena scored a escape to make the score 7-1. Dudek scored a takedown to end out the period and make the score 9-1 heading into the third. Dudek chose neutral in the third and scored another bulldog takedown for the pin to move onto the consolation final against a Bristol Plymouth wrestler.
That match proved to be an aggressive affair that Dudek lost, securing a fourth-place medal.