Sauer’s Sectional Wrestling Title Adds to His Legacy at Franklin

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Ken Sauer has excelled during his four-year career, and the legacy he’ll leave at Franklin High will be memorable. Contributed photos.
Issue Date: 
March, 2020
Article Body: 

Before post-season wrestling tournaments got underway in February, Ken Sauer emphasized that he’d like to leave a lasting legacy at Franklin High.
“I’d like to be remembered as one of Franklin High’s best wrestlers in the last 10 years,’’ he emphasized. “I also want to be remembered as a quality leader who worked hard on a consistent basis.’’
Those remarks provided some clues that Sauer was ready for a deep tourney run as his senior season headed for the finish line.
When the tournament season started, the 5-foot-9, 152-pounder enriched his legacy by finishing first in the Division 1 Central Sectional in Framingham. Not a bad ending for the Panthers’ co-captain, whose career also includes a Sectional championship as a junior. His 106 career victories are a stunning total and he’s got an opportunity to add to that number at the State tourney.
“Ken is an intense wrestler who gives 100 percent at all times,’’ said legendary Franklin coach Carmine Colace. “He set a great example all year leading by example. He’s a good technical wrestler who’s mentally tough.’’
Sauer’s team goals at the start of the season included a Hockomock League title and Sectional and State crowns. His personal objectives were to top 100 victories, finish first at the Sectional and States and to place at the All-State and New England tourneys.
The 18-year-old Sauer became a two-time Sectional champ by defeating, in order, Dominic Pizzarella of Leominster; Fred Campbell of Newton South; Taimir Morel of Lincoln-Sudbury; and Nick Crotty of Framingham. Besides his Sectional crown, Franklin won the league championship, the Sectional title and was aiming for a State crown.
“It feels great to be a two-time Sectional champ,’’ Sauer said. “I was prepared, and I relied on mental toughness. Crotty, who’s ranked in the top 10 in the state, was a formidable opponent. He’s tough and strong. It also was awesome for Franklin to win the Sectional by finishing ahead of Brookline. Everyone did their job and it was a display of great team spirit.’’
A wrestler who’ll be competing for either Oneonta College or Roger Williams University next winter, Sauer relies on a high wrestling IQ, resiliency, strength and persistence. “I’m willing to learn, and being persistent helps me to strive for victory,’’ he said.
Sauer now will set his sights on the State and All-State tourneys. “Winning the Sectional gives me confidence and optimism for the challenges going forward,’’ he said.
Sauer started wrestling at 10, and he’s competed for New England Gold Wrestling at the club level for eight years. He started his varsity career as a freshman reserve, then advanced quickly as a 113-pound sophomore and a 138-pound junior. He lost in the Sectional final as a sophomore, won the Sectional at 138 as a junior and started his final year in the post-season with 102 wins. His career pin total is 65.
“A memorable match was a semifinal victory my junior year in the Sectional,’’ Sauer recalled. “I was losing by a point to Adam Bernhardt of Newton South, but I bounced back to win by decision. He tried to take me down, but wound up on his back, enabling me to score points. That victory led to my defeating Brendan Kelleher of Lincoln-Sudbury for the Sectional title.’’
Other positive events included Franklin winning the championship at the Division 1 State Dual Tournament in his sophomore season and capturing the title at the Redhawk Duals in Natick as a junior. “I was losing in my match, but ended up with a pin that changed the momentum and gave us a big win at Natick,’’ Sauer noted.
During his dynamic career, Sauer often used a tilt hold that got results. “I’d secure my opponent’s wrist, then tilt him on his side, which led to points,’’ Sauer explained.
A co-captain who led by example, Sauer was excellent at building relationships with his teammates and being ultra supportive. Two colleagues he admired included co-captain Dylan Nawn at 182 and Jake Carlucci at 132. “Dylan’s a great leader, always holding us accountable,’’ said Sauer. “He also is very talented. Jake is only a junior, but he’s talented, consistent and wrestles on an even keel.’’
A native of Upton, Sauer rates Colace extremely high — a coach he’s worked with in high school and at the club level. “Coach Colace strives to make his wrestlers improve and be the best they can be,’’ he said. “He’s knowledgeable and is a great motivator.’’
A good student, Sauer plans on majoring in business in college and he’ll keep wrestling because he’s passionate about the sport and enjoys the way it focuses on both individual and team success. “There are no shortcuts in wrestling,’’ he said. “You have to go all out all the time.’’
Sauer is acutely aware that wrestling teaches valuable life lessons. “I’ve learned the value of hard work,’’ he said. “I’ve also learned to be accountable, to set goals and achieve them, how to be resilient and how to be a quality leader.’’
Calling his father (Bob) his role model because of his support and encouragement, Sauer also admires two of Franklin’s assistant coaches. “Jake Morris and Cam Kelly relate well to the kids, they keep us accountable, and they promote hard work,’’ he said.