Franklin Wrestlers Hope to Excel at Sectional Tourney

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
With a 12-0 record for the season at Local Town Pages deadline and headed to Newton for a Division 1 Central Sectional on February 10, Franklin High wrestling was poised to continue its tradition of excellence.
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

Franklin High’s wrestling team will be striving to bring home a Sectional championship when it heads for Newton on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Coach Carman Colace, who’s been the Panthers coach for the last 36 years, would like to add another trophy to Franklin’s rich tradition and history. During the 55-year-old’s coaching tenure, Franklin has established its mat program as a perennial power in the state. The Panthers have won 18 Hockomock League championships, 14 Sectional crowns, and 10 State titles during Colace’s era. And, there have been six occasions when Franklin finished in the top five in the New England Tournament.
This year’s edition of the Panthers, whose roster numbers 37, had a 12-0 record at Local Town Pages deadline and appears to be a well-rounded contingent as its continues to prepare for the Division 1 Central Sectional at Newton South High.
“We don’t have any superstars on this year’s team,’’ Colace said. “But, we wrestle well as a unit. The kids are quality teammates who make a lot of contributions towards our team’s success. I think many of our kids will place at the Sectional and advance to the State tourney.’’
Franklin’s four senior captains are a good starting point when assessing the Panthers’ strengths. Brian Farrell is a 138-pounder, Seamus Cogavin wrestles at 152, T.J. Remillard tips the scales at 132 and Mike Racca is a 145-pounder. Colace admires the group because they’ve got experience, they’re veteran starters and they’re quality leaders.
“Brian leads by example and works hard,’’ Colace said. “He’s got excellent technique, and he’s able to demonstrate it for the entire team. Seamus is a four-year starter and a good athlete who’s improved a lot over last year. T.J. is a National Honor Society student who’s mentally tough, athletic, quick, coachable and a solid leader. Mike is very tough and technically sound. He’s willing to sacrifice. By going to the 145-pound class, that enabled others to wrestle where they preferred.’’
Two underclassmen who’ve been impressive are freshman Jake Carlucci (106) and sophomore Ken Sauer (113). “Jake is a product of our youth program,’’ Colace noted. “He’s quick and has good mat sense. Ken was a backup last year, but his experience has helped him to be fulltime now. He’s aggressive, has good technique, and his work ethic is strong.’’
Senior Ian Bakalars (120) and junior Jordan Carlucci (126) both have experienced Sectional and State Tournament success. “Ian is a four-year starter and for the last three years has placed at the Sectional and advanced to the State Tourney,’’ Colace emphasized. “He’s slick and elusive on the mat. Jordan is a two-time place-winner at the States. His technique is the best on our team, his mat sense is excellent and he’s smart.’’
Freshman Dom Sackly is a capable matman in the 160-pound class, and sophomore Dylan Naun and senior Thomas Smith have alternated in the 170-pound category. “Dom has lots of strength, is dedicated and passionate about wrestling,’’ Colace said. “Dylan and Thomas both have experience, they’re strong competitors, and they use their legs to their advantage.’’
A pair of three-year starters, junior Miles Polito and senior Bruce Johnson, are top-notch matmen. Polito wrestles at 182 and Johnson weighs in at 195. “Miles is an exceptional athlete who works extremely hard,’’ Colace said. “His style is patient and deliberate. Bruce is a football player who’s one of the toughest wrestlers on the team.’’
Senior Jack Coughlin is a 220-pounder and junior Riley Dowling checks in at 285. Both are experienced wrestlers. “Jack has a good frame and he’s improved over last year,’’ Colace said. “He’s got very good technique, which has enabled him to be successful this year. Riley is a big and strong veteran, and we’re hoping he places in the post-season meets.’’
Two solid competitors who provide Colace with depth at a variety of weight classes are junior Caleb MacLean and senior Owen McKenna. “MacLean can wrestle at 145, 152 or 160 and McKenna can go at 132 or 138,’’ Colace noted.
Quality wrestlers who’ve meshed well as a team should elevate Franklin in the post-season. One attribute Colace prefers when he’s assembling a roster is mental toughness, and it’s that characteristic that’s likely to put the Panthers at the head of the class at the Sectional. “Athletic ability, strength and technique are fine traits in wrestling, but if a kid has mental toughness, then those other things will fall into place,’’ he emphasized.
Colace, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., in 2013, knows what’s needed for success on the mat. And, it’s a good bet his competitors will be the cream of the crop at the Sectional.