By Tim Lima
---- — BYFIELD – For years, Triton’s Mark Boyle has been a force to be reckoned with on the wrestling mat. His talent, along with the hard work and dedication he put into the sport has earned him the opportunity to wrestle against college wrestling’s best.
Boyle will be heading to Sacred Heart University in the fall. A Division-I school, Boyle will hold a roster spot on a team that squares off against schools like Princeton, Bucknell and Brown.
“You can see the enjoyment and excitement in Marks face,” said Triton head coach Shawn McElligott. “He’s a self-made kid. Everything that has happened for him has been earned by working hard. He did the right things. He did all the work that he had to do to be the wrestler that he is.”
Boyle’s career at Triton was one that will be remembered for decades. Along with winning the Division-III State Championship this past season, Boyle continued on to finish third in the All-State competition, before placing eighth in New England. Boyle would then test his talents against the nation’s best, and would place 12th in nationals at Virginia Beach.
It was at nationals that Boyle was approached for the first time by Sacred Heart.
“They came to me and recruited me,” Boyle said. “I didn’t know the school at all or had any plan of applying there, and all of the application deadlines had passed. Their assistant coach came to me and gave me his card. I would later call him and apply to the school late, and now I’m going. I couldn’t be happier.”
Now, Boyle can add another accomplishment to his repertoire: the second Triton Viking wrestler to compete in college wrestling’s premiere division.
“It’s a new program with brand new coaches,” McElligott said. “He’s part of the starting point for the program. Sacred Heart was attracted to him because of his work ethic and the competitive side to him. They may have been looking at some of the guys that Mark was wrestling, but he impressed them. It doesn’t matter the score; Mark is going to keep plugging away. He’s what coaches look for.”
Along with the joy Boyle’s accomplishment has given to his high school coach, his teammate and co-captain is thrilled as well.
“I was overwhelmed when I found out,” Cody Nixon said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. He puts in the work, and I think he deserves to be in that division battling it out with the best. He’s a strong leader. He brings a lot of inspiration, and he can pump up kids if they need it. He is strong mentally. When it comes to when hes about to wrestle, he gets in a zone and you can see it. It’s something he’s good at and knows how to do.”
A selfless leader, Boyle was quick to give thanks to those that have helped him to where he is today. It’s a long list that begins with the name “Dad.”
“He trained me since I was a little kid, and I wouldn’t be talking with you or going anywhere close to a D-I school if not for him,” Boyle said. “I’d also like to thank my coaches throughout my career, starting with my Judo coach Jimmy Pedro. From there, I want to thank Stan Watson, who was my first wrestling coach in my youth days in middle school. I’d also like to thank Coach Mac (McElligott), Coach Arch (Ryan Archambault) and Coach Hayes as well. There are too many people to name, including the kids I’ve wrestled with, who have helped me get better over my career.”
While Coach McElligott is losing a force on the mat, he couldn’t be prouder of a kid that has made coaching worth it.
“Coaches don’t make a lot of money,” McElligott said. “It’s not about the money being a high school coach. It’s about seeing a great kid like Mark be rewarded for his hard work, and in turn you’re rewarded as a coach by seeing that. I’m excited this kid has such a great opportunity ahead of him.”