LOWELL — It took a championship effort from the No. 1 seed Norton Lancers to dethrone the fifth-seeded Triton Vikings 39-26 in the semi-finals of the Division 3 state dual meet tournament at Lowell's Tsongas arena yesterday afternoon.
"There are no excuses. The team we put out there was the best team we had today," Triton coach Shawn McElligott said. "I'm very proud of the overall weekend. Their effort was incredible."
With McElligott moving wrestlers around to make up for a host of injuries, a tactic that worked to perfection against the No. 4 seed Hampshire Regional Raiders in the quarter-finals on Sunday, the Vikings (22-5) came up just short against the Lancers.
Norton went on to beat the Holliston Panthers for the Division 3 title, 38-30.
"We do have injuries and we do have sicknesses, but that was our team and they were awesome," McElligott said. "They went out there and gave it their all, moving up in weight classes and never thinking they didn't have a legitimate shot at winning. That's why they are a successful team, because they do things the right way."
Winning for the Vikings were John Boyle (113 lbs.; forfeit), Luke Boyle (126 lbs.; 13-3 decision), Mark Boyle (152 lbs.; 15-5 decision), Bryan Giblin (195 lbs.; fall at 1:22), and Josh Lannon (160 lbs.; fall at 2:45), whose pin kept Triton in contention.
"It was a big upset over one of their stronger wrestlers and it proved to be a swing match," McElligott said. "We had a really good shot there at the end, but Norton was just a little bit better than us today."
It's been a year of comparison for the Triton Vikings. A year spent striving to meet the expectations set by last year's team.
"It's tough to compare because you have different kids and different weight classes. We had 36 kids last year, a full line-up, so we moved kids around much more often this year," McElligott said. "It's because of their individual talent that they were able to fill holes and get us as far as we did."
The Vikings will be graduating six seniors this season: Mathew Mills, Vinny Ciramella, Bryan Giblin, Ryan Clay, David Flaherty and Steve Fucolaro.
"It's just a great testament to the seniors. They've been banged up, they've been sick, but they're leaving great four-year careers, and how many seniors can leave and say they had four straight 20-win seasons?" McElligott said. "Three straight Division 3 state semi-finals and a state championship; three straight Sectional finals and two championships. They're leaving a pretty solid legacy."
Although the team-based scoring is done, four Vikings will be heading to Salem High School for the All-State tournament on Friday and Saturday: Victor Ramirez, Mark Rosmarinofski, Luke Boyle and Bryan Giblin (seeded No. 2).