By Dan Guttenplan
---- — Mark Boyle likely gets confused when he hears the words “summer” and “vacation” in the same sentence.
There is no vacation for the defending Division 3 North wrestling champion. The incoming Triton senior arguably earned the most prestigious championship of his storied high school wrestling career Saturday when he collected a Bay State Games title at 182 pounds.
Boyle, who won his 100th career match late in his junior season, became the first Triton wrestler to earn a Bay State Games title since Todd Oljey in 1994. Oljey, a two-time state champion at Triton, won his Bay State Games title two years after current Triton coach Shawn McElligott collected a title in 1992.
“Talking to (McElligott), he said it’s been about 20 years since the last Triton wrestler won at the Bay State Games,” Boyle said. “I thought that was a pretty nice achievement. There was a lot of motivation because I knew this was my last year there. I hadn’t placed before, and I knew I definitely wanted to get the gold. That’s what I did.”
Boyle is coming off a strong junior season in which he earned an invitation to the All-State Championships at 160 pounds. This summer, he is particularly busy with his athletic endeavors. He trains at Smitty’s Wrestling Barn in Danville, N.H., while also balancing Triton football 7-on-7s and Triton Senior Babe Ruth Baseball.
“I want to do a couple of things I haven’t done before in my senior year,” Boyle said. “I definitely want to place in the All-States and make New Englands. Obviously, I want to win All-States and New Englands. I’m training hard so it can happen for me.”
The Bay State Games have gotten significantly more competitive in the last three of four years, when All-State qualifiers from all of the New England states have been invited. In Boyle’s semifinal match, he beat a competitor from Vermont who wrestled at New Englands. In the final, he beat a Mass. All-State Championships qualifier at 170 pounds.
“That’s kind of the way he’s always handled himself,” McElligott said. “He’s always motivated. He always goes into a match thinking he can beat anybody. He has an offensive style, and he does that on anyone. Personally, he has the confidence; he doesn’t care if the other kid is a two-time All-State placer. He learns from his mistakes and keeps coming.”
Boyle will return for his second season as a Triton captain this winter. McElligott said Boyle’s summer regiment sets a perfect example for the rest of the team.
“You can always stress things the kids need to do in the offseason,” McElligott said. “I tell them to get in clubs and wrestle at the Bay State Games if they’re serious. Mark’s still playing football and baseball. He’s well-rounded, but very focused. I give him things to do in the offseason, and he actually goes out and does it. You can see the progression of how he gets better. You can show the other guys, this is how he gets better.”