BYFIELD – Ever since they first stepped on the mat four years ago, Mark, Luke and John Boyle have systematically rewritten the Triton wrestling record books, and now all three are headed to States.
This weekend, six members of the Triton wrestling team qualified for States by placing within the top four in their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Division III North Sectional meet in Danvers.
Mark Boyle was the team’s top performer, winning all three of his matches at 182 pounds to win the Sectional Championship. Luke went 2-1 to place second at 145 pounds, as did teammate Jake Durkin at 132 pounds, and John went 3-1 to place third at 152 pounds.
Brody Johnson (113 pounds) and Cody Nixon (138 pounds) also placed fourth in their weight classes to qualify for the Division III State meet, which will be held next weekend at Foxboro High School.
Also competing at sectionals was Charlie Frauenfelder (220 pounds) and Alec Moffat (285 pounds), who each placed fifth; Tom Howell (160 pounds), who placed sixth, and Josh Misiano (126 pounds) and Sam Haley (170 pounds).
“It’s a testament to how hard these kids are working,” said head coach Shawn McElligott.
Mark, a senior, and Luke, a junior, have both been on the Triton wrestling team for four years now. Luke made the team as an eighth-grader, as did John, now a sophomore in his third year with the program, and when all is said and done there is a good chance that all three will be among the top wrestlers to ever compete at Triton.
This season, Mark and Luke both won first place in their weight class at Cape Ann League meet to become three-time CAL Champions, and Mark was honored as the 2014 CAL Wrestler of the Year. Then last weekend at the MIAA State Dual Meet Tournament, Luke set a new school record for most career wins with 146, surpassing the total set by his mentor and assistant coach Brandon Hayes a decade ago.
“He’s helped me so much, teaching me all these different technique,” Luke Boyle said of his coach. “He’s one of the best technique coaches in Mass, he really knows what he’s doing. He held the record, he had 145 wins and I passed him, and he’s just been such an asset to my performance.”
This past Saturday, Mark surpassed Hayes’ old mark himself when he beat Ali Atallah of Marblehead-Swampscott in the sectional championship match for his 146th career win, and both he and Luke hope to build on their totals at States and ideally at All States.
Because he missed significant time to injury early in his career, John is only at around 50 wins and probably won’t approach his older brothers’ win totals, but he can still lay claim to being one of the few athletes to make varsity as an eighth-grader, and after earning CAL All-Star honors this year looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Though the three boys were born within a two-year span and have each enjoyed enormous success since joining the Triton wrestling team, they are very much their own individuals who have different styles and strengths to their game.
Mark, for instance, is much bigger than his younger brothers and typically wrestles at 182 pounds. Luke is actually the smallest of the three, wrestling at 145 pounds, and he usually trains with John, who is a bit taller and heavier at 152 pounds but is otherwise the perfect partner.
“We always go at it in practice,” Luke said. “He’s a great partner for me because we have similar styles and it’s just a great way to know how to defend, and he’s a really good defender too so I can wrestle him and be on my game.”
Before the brothers emerged as stars on the wrestling mat, they were also among the nation’s best judo fighters at their age group.
When they were younger, the brothers trained at Pedro’s Judo in Wakefield under the tutelage of two-time Olympic medalist Jimmy Pedro, and during their judo careers they each collected numerous state championships and won medals at the 2007 Judo National Championships.
Luke, then 10, won gold at both the National Championships and the Junior Olympic Championship a week later. Mark, 11, won silver at nationals and placed fourth in the Junior Olympics, and John, 9, won bronze at nationals.
Luke credited his experience at Pedro’s Judo for a lot of his success in wrestling, and added that he still uses throws from judo during his matches in order to catch his opponents off guard.
“I try not to do it too often so people don’t see I do it a lot, but I would hit a foot sweep when they’re tired, or I’d hit something late in the match or something right away to get points right off the bat,” he said. “But normally when I get to higher level matches I’ll use a lot more throws to get quicker wins and things like that to beat the good kids.”
Beyond their wealth of experience training in various combat disciplines, the boys also have a strong heritage on their side. Both of their parents were Strongman competitors, and their mother Margaret was national Strongman champion for women in 2006.
Mark Sr., the boys’ father, said the boys work on their strength training year round, and during the offseason they work out at places like Smitty’s Wrestling Barn in Danville, N.H. to stay sharp. He added that the boys don’t cut weight, and that they’ve continued to enjoy success even while moving up to higher weight classes.
“Those wins are in new weight classes, which is impressive, a lot of kids don’t do that,” Boyle Sr. said. “You’ll see a lot of boys stay the same weight, but ours don’t.”
Boyle said he’s proud of his boys and that they’ve put in a tremendous amount of work to get where they are today. He said Mark plans to wrestle in college and has applied to Harvard, Williams, Coast Guard, Lehigh and Virginia Tech, and he’s looking forward to seeing where the rest of their wrestling careers take them.