Cassella Pins Down All-State Crown at 152
DANVERS -- Danvers might as well change its name to Fantasyland, given the number of dreams that have come true for local wrestlers this season.
Earlier in the winter, it was where Monty Tech’s Isaic Paulino won a state vocational title at Essex Tech. On Saturday, the town saw another local champion crowned, as Nashoba Regional’s Brevin Cassella stamped his claim on being the best wrestler in the state at 152 pounds, taking first place in the All-State championship at St. John’s Prep.
Cassella opened the tournament as the No. 2 seed and started building momentum right away with a tech fall over Stephen Saint-Juste of Shawsheen Tech in the first round. He then went onto wrestle Chase Anestis of Bedford/Acton-Boxboro. Neither Cassella nor Anestis was able to score a takedown in the first period of neutral. Anestis was given choice of position and chose bottom to try to score an escape. Cassella was able to ride out Anestis to keep the match scoreless.
Cassella chose bottom in the third and was able to score an escape and fend of Anestis’ attempts for a takedown to earn himself a 1-0 win and move on to the semifinals to face CJ Glaropoulos of Mansfield. It proved to be a battle as Cassella and Glaropoulos traded takedowns and escapes, but Cassella was able to hang on for the win with another one-point victory, 5-4, and went onto to face top-seeded Sean Herbert of Melrose.
The way Cassella earned his title might have felt more Brothers Grimm than Disney, however, as Herbert was disqualified during the final.
“The feeling is unreal,” Cassella said, “and I was excited to win. ... I would have liked to wrestle the match, he’s a great wrestler, too, and I thought it would have been a great match.”
The win qualifies Cassella for the New England championships next weekend in Providence, R.I.
Cassella’s teammate, Lucien Perla, had a storybook day of his own, earning a ticket to New Englands with a seventh-place finish at 145 pounds. Perla earned a 6-0 win over Wilker Pedro of Brockton to start off, then took on Will Straton of Mansfield in the quarterfinals, where he lost 5-2 and was bounced into the consolation bracket.
Perla battled from there, defeating Noah Brink of Northhampton, 7-1. He then took on Zabion Powell of Taconic, who was the Division 3 state champion, falling by a 1-0 score and moving down the seventh-place bout. It was a crucial match for Perla, as seventh place automatically qualifies for New Englands, and eighth serves as an alternate.
Perla dominated the match, earning himself a 10-2 decision over James Fitzgerald of Duxbury and an opportunity to wrestle in the New England tournament.
Alex Childs also competed for Nashoba, going 2-2 at 195 pounds.
For one local wrestler, it may not have been the storybook ending he was hoping for. Even so, it was an impressive day for Monty Tech’s Paulino, who took eighth place at 106 pounds and earned himself an alternate spot at the New England tournament, as well as the honor of being the highest postseason place-finisher at all-states in Monty Tech history.
Paulino took on Daniel Mclaughlin of Springfield Central in his first match, where he was able to score four takedowns, one escape and two backpoints for an 11-3 major decision win to move onto the quarterfinals. He next took on top-seeded Tyler Knox of Pentucket.
The first period was a solid round for Paulino as neither wrestler was able to earn an advantage over the other. In the second round, Paulino was given choice and chose bottom to look to score an escape point. The decision proved costly as Knox was able to sink in legs and turn Paulino for the pin, which pushed Paulino to the consolations, where he would take on Jimmy Glynn of Central Catholic.
It was the third time in the past two weeks the two wrestlers faced each other after meeting twice in last week’s state tournament. The outcome was the same, however, as for the third consecutive time Paulino came out victorious. Paulino was able to score a takedown, then Glynn scored an escape, before Paulino scored another takedown almost immediately after to Glynn’s hip as he turned Glynn for the pin and to move onto the top eight.
On the second day of the two-day tournament, Paulino lost to Luis Mauricio of Lawrence and fell into the seventh-place match, where he took on Nick Curley of St. John’s Prep. Paulino was able to score the first takedown and then an escape in the second period, as he chose bottom and get up 3-0. Curley then scored a takedown of his own to cut the score 3-2. Curley then got a locking-hands penalty call to make the score 4-2 in favor of Paulino.
Paulino then scored an escape to make the score 5-2, but Curley scored a takedown to pull within 5-4. Curley then was given choice in the bottom. He scored an escape to make the score 5-5. Curley then earned a takedown to make the score 7-5.
Paulino valiantly tried to score an escape, but was only able to earn a stalling call from Curley’s lack of an attempt of trying to turn and simply ride to make the final score a narrow 7-6 loss, giving Paulino an eighth-place medal.
It might not have been the ending Paulino was hoping for, but the stellar Monty Tech wrestler is only a freshman, with a bright future ahead of him. He’s also an alternate for New Englands should a spot open up.