By Dan Guttenplan
---- — BYFIELD — Opponents of the Triton wrestling team likely cringe when they hear the name “Boyle” announced over the public address system during meets.
For the last two seasons, three members of the Boyle family have wrestled varsity at Triton, and none of the three is scheduled to graduate this year. The middle son, Luke, a sophomore, recorded his 100th career victory last weekend. The eldest, Mark, a junior, is not far behind with 98 career victories heading into this weekend’s Division 3 North Sectional championships. The youngest, John, a freshman, will likely follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, as he has two years of varsity experience under his belt late in his freshman year.
It may seem unusual that Luke accomplished the feat before his older brother, Mark, but both joined the varsity squad during the same year in 2010. Luke received the first MIAA waiver to join Triton’s varsity as an eighth-grader, and he posted a 26-19 record on a team that eventually won a Division 3 team championship.
“I never even knew the rule about eighth-graders,” Luke said. “I thought I could go to varsity if I beat the guy who was there. I wrestled hard and often, and I kept my varsity spot. I lost some matches, and I learned from my experiences.”
Wrestling in the 112-pound weight class, Luke placed third at the Cape Ann League Championships, fourth in the Division 3 North Sectionals and just missed placing at the Division 3 Championships.
Initially, he relied heavily on moves he’d learned training judo under Jimmy Pedro, a former Olympian who owns a gym in Wakefield.
“I used a lot of those takedown moves,” Luke said. “The high school practices helped me learn how to wrestle on top and bottom. But I got most of my points in neutral, and all of the judo throws worked well.”
Luke’s younger brother Mark followed his lead the following year and joined the Triton varsity squad as an eighth-grader. Luke emerged as one of the top wrestlers in the state at 126 pounds as a freshman. He posted a record of 43-8, and won a CAL title. He later placed second at Division 3 North Sectionals and fourth at the Division 3 Championships. He earned a trip to the All-State Championships.
Triton coach Shawn McElligott believes Luke benefited from competing on a daily basis in practice against his teammates, some of whom have also reached the highest level of state competition over the last few years. In the lower weight classes alone, Triton has been a training ground for Victor Ramirez, who won his 100th match earlier this season; Mark Rosmarinofski, a three-time CAL champion; and CAL All-Stars like Mat Mills and Cody Nixon.
“They all wrestle each other, and they all make each other better,” McElligott said. “It’s not an easy half of the lineup to break through. It’s a tough room with all of those names. Year in and year out, those guys have all done well.”
This year, Luke has his sights on his first sectional and state titles at 138 pounds. He has posted a record of 33-4, with only one loss coming against a competitor from a Division 3 North school. Still, McElligott sees plenty of unfulfilled potential in his sophomore standout.
“He’s a very good offensive wrestler,” McElligott said. “Defensively, he can improve. When he started as an eighth-grader, he was so reliant on judo moves. To get to where he’s at now, he’s had to add to that. Juniors and seniors in the middle weight classes know how to defend it. In the lower classes, judo throws can happen against freshmen and sophomores.”
Luke, who also ranks in the top five of his class and plays in the school’s jazz and concert bands, will look to earn his first sectional title Saturday at the Division 3 North meet in Melrose. His training has been geared for this time of year since before high school. When he’s not training under Pedro in Wakefield, he trains at home with his brothers and father, Mark, who is also a certified personal trainer.
“We do a ton of stuff to prepare for meets like this,” Boyle said. “We do sled-drags, tire-flipping, all of those strongman routines. It takes a lot of hard work. We do it so frequently over the summer, and it makes such an impact on this sport.”