DIGHTON ─ Senior tri-captain Owen Murray has one more goal to achieve before he graduates in June.
A state championship.
The two-time defending Massachusetts South Sectional Division 1 heavyweight champion and three-time Old Colony League all-star set the season’s tone for his Red Raiders Saturday morning at Bristol County Agricultural High School as he went unbeaten at an even 2-0 in the 285-lb. class to lead the Red & White to a 1st place finish among the eight varsity teams that participated in the Annual Robert Krzyton Memorial Tournament.
But it was the 132-lb. class junior Casey Connor who spelled the difference. Connor won by pin in Barnstable’s first two victories of the day – a 54-22 win over the host Aggies and a 42-24 win over Hanover – and it was his effort that eclipsed the Red Raiders’ 42-36 preliminary-round loss to Dedham. Because Barnstable allowed the fewest points all totaled, it qualified for the championship bout versus Wakefield and when the dust finally settled, the Red Raiders rose victoriously with a heart-thumping 39-36 win. Connor went a perfect 4-0 to join Murray as the only two unbeaten grapplers for Barnstable on the day.
Barnstable’s Charlie McWilliams (152 pounds) and Donnie Mach (220) – who are also team captains with Murray – provided critical wins throughout the day and both finished at 3-1 along with sophomore 120-pounder John Goode.
Barnstable 8th-graders Mike Stanley (106-lb.) and Joe Ciliberto (113-lb.) were 2-1 and 1-0, respectively while Ciliberto’s brother Vinny picked up a key win in the Hanover bout. Vinny Ciliberto finished at 2-2 on the day in the 138-lb. class.
195-lb. Mike Bertucci picked up huge wins versus Bristol Aggie and and Hanover by pin and forfeit while Mach, Goode, Connor, McWilliams, Stanley and Alex Lopes (182) all had pins for victory to aid the cause.
McWilliams, an exceptional athlete, is a crucial addition back to the Red Raider fold after taking two years off from wrestling. He was an Old Colony League all-star as a freshman in the 118-lb. division and is now wrestling at 152 lbs.
─ Sean Walsh/www.capecod.com sports. His email is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.