Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Steve Craig email@example.com
Otto Keisker knows he still has plenty of room for improvement. After all, the Noble High 145/152-pound wrestler is only a sophomore.
Bradley Beaulieu, Marshwood freshman: Beaulieu stamped himself as a state title contender at 120 pounds against three of New England’s top performers. In the Noble Invitational final, he nearly dealt Gardiner’s Peter DelGallo his first high school loss, falling 12-9 in the second overtime. Was named the Spartan Annual’s outstanding wrestler after pinning Rhode Island state runner-up Cody Beaudette in the semifinal, with a 6-1 final win against N.H. state champ Tyler Fitzpatrick.
Michael Curtis, Wells junior: Beat Marshwood standout Brett Gerry, 2-1 in overtime to win Noble tourney at 195 and backed that up by pinning way to Nokomis title on Saturday.
Mike Risti, Massabesic junior: Scored his 100th career win with his third pin of the day in less than 50 seconds, then went on to win the Spartan tournament.
Joe Grenier, Noble senior: At 160 pounds, Grenier upset two-time Class A champ Jackson Howarth in a semifinal and gained the title with a pin in the final at the Spartan tourney.
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But Keisker already has done something no one else in the storied history of Noble wrestling has accomplished.
He is Noble’s first sophomore captain, sharing the duties with seniors Billy Gagner and Joe Grenier.
“It’s an honor. We only have a couple seniors and I can’t really tell you why they wanted me as captain,” Keisker said.
Coach Kip DeVoll said Keisker was tabbed by his peers.
“He’s a class act. He works hard. He has respect for the program,” DeVoll said.
Keisker said he struggled for much of his freshman season, competing at 145 pounds.
“You can’t go out there and wrestle scared,” Keisker said. “It took me a little while. I was working through some of that and making freshman mistakes. My coaches kept telling me I was (improving) and at the end of the year I’d do well at states. It turned out they were right.”
Keisker was the regional runner-up and third at states.
“He’s still got some work to do but he should at this point in his career,” DeVoll said.
Keisker took a big step Saturday when he won the Spartan Annual Wrestling Tournament at 145 pounds, winning all four matches by pin, including a 1:22 upset of Dan Scalzo of Timberlane, N.H., in the final.
“And he pinned a two-time state champ (Lisbon’s Zach Stevens) in the semi,” DeVoll said.
At 6-foot-8, Sanford senior Andrew Moriarty is always easy to spot at tournaments.
Moriarty said people ask why he’s not playing basketball instead, “about three or four times a tournament.”
Moriarty, who also runs cross country and competes in track, is starting to also get noticed for his success on the mat.
At the Noble Invitational, he finished fourth in the 195-pound division, losing a 5-2 decision to Massabesic’s Mike Risti, a New England Championships veteran, in the consolation final.
At his home Spartan Annual Wrestling Tournament, Moriarty won his first two matches at 220 pounds, and again advanced to the consolation final and finished fourth.
Moriarty’s height – and long exposed legs – works against him in the neutral position, said Sanford Coach Nate Smith. Moriarty often puts one knee on the mat and uses his long arms to deflect opponents. When on top, though, Moriarty’s long levers and surprising strength is too much for many opponents.
Defending Spartan tournament heavyweight champion Isaiah Reynolds of Bonny Eagle did not wrestle at this year’s event. According to Scots Coach Greg Gonyea, Reynolds was attending a funeral.
The end of the Spartan tournament felt a bit like a two-minute drill in football: an overload of action in a short time. With the normal two-day format condensed to one and the clock fast approaching 9 p.m., the decision was made to run the consolation finals and championship finals at the same time and keep all three mats active. Many final consolation bouts resulted in a forfeit (and even some double forfeits) because wrestlers reached their total of five matches in a day.
In about two minutes of actual time, Keisker pinned Scalzo, who reacted poorly and was ejected, clinching the team title for Marshwood. Keisker ran off the mat, high-fiving teammate Joe Grenier, who roared onto the mat and pinned Portland’s Greg Cassella in 1:10.
All while two other championship bouts were taking place.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: