LAWRENCE -- Billerica High senior Nick DeRosa won his third straight Division 1 state wrestling championship Saturday night at Lawrence High.


In a hard-fought 120-pound final, DeRosa defeated Peter Robinson of St. John's-Shrewsbury, 3-1 in overtime, to complete the three-peat.

"It's amazing," said DeRosa. "This is the best feeling. Honestly, I'm at a loss for words.

"I've had a lot of big wins during my high school career and this one is right up there with the best. It's definitely one of the most inspiring wins I've had. This has been a goal of mine since the start of the season."

Billerica junior Dillon Higgins was the local area's other champion, pinning previously unbeaten Owen Murray of Barnstable with 22 seconds left in the first overtime to win the 285-pound state title.

Chelmsford's Clasen brothers -- James a senior at 152 and Conner a sophomore at 106 -- finished second at their weights.

The top six placewinners at each weight class earned berths in the All-State Tournament, scheduled to be held at the Tsongas Center Friday and Saturday.

Springfield Central won the team title with 161 points. St. John's Prep of Danvers was second at 126, followed by Franklin (109), Lincoln-Sudbury (103) and Chelmsford (102).

Shawsheen Tech was seventh with 68.5 points, while Billerica was 10th with 62 points.


In the 106 title match, Yuval Shatil of Brookline beat Conner Clasen, 7-0.

Conner Clasen beat two sectional champions, including top-seed Bradley Sowsy of Lexington in the semifinals, en route to the finals.

"He had a great tournament," said Chelmsford coach Bruce Rich. "He's peaking at the right time. His intensity level has gone up. He's fun to watch right now."

At 120, DeRosa got a takedown in overtime to top Robinson and secure one of the biggest wins of his illustrious career. The score was tied, 1-1, after three periods.

Robinson, who has a 35-2 record this season, was the top seed. DeRosa lost to Robinson in the finals of this year's Chelmsford Tournament by a point

"I had to work for it," said DeRosa, who improved his record on the season to 37-2. "I knew it was going to be a tough match. We know each other real well. We have similar styles and body type. It makes it real hard. It's like wrestling yourself."

DeRosa, who will continue his wrestling career at Division 1 Cleveland State University, is only the second wrestler in Billerica history to win three state titles, joining former Indian great Kenny Anderson.

"It means a lot to him to win this," said Billerica coach Bob Belanger. "Every year he loses to kids and at the end of the year, in the state tournament, he ends up beating them.

"He was in there with a really good kid. The kid he wrestled is very talented. It's good to see him get the win with everything on the line. He's definitely a clutch wrestler. He's always at his best when everything is on the line."

At 152, Rick Viruet of Springfield Central defeated James Clasen, 5-2, in the final. Viruet also defeated James Clasen in last year's state title match.

"James is wrestling well," said Rich. "Other than that first four-point move by Viruet, I thought the match was fairly even. Our goal is to see (Viruet) again next week."

Higgins improved his record on the season to 39-3 with his overtime victory in the 285 title match. Higgins scored a point in the third period to even the score, 1-1, and force OT. He then got his dramatic pin in the extra session to claim the crown.

"It's crazy," said Higgins. "It's something that when you are little you don't think it will really ever happen and when it does it's just crazy. I'm still trying to let it sink in.

"All the hard work I put in during the off-season paid off. I'm a state champion."

Higgins pinned down four victories on his way to the championship. He pinned top-seeded Kamron Anderson of Springfield Central in the semifinals.

"He had a really great tournament," said Belanger. "I wrestled with his father (Steve) in high school (at Shawsheen). For him to get a state title means a lot. He's wrestled well for us all year. This one is real big for him."

At 106, Shawsheen's Jake Ferri was sixth and Billerica's Chris DeRosa was seventh.

Chelmsford's Griffen Murray (fifth), Shawsheen's Bryce Spinosa (sixth) and Lowell's Casey Abshire (eighth) placed at 113.

Shawsheen Tech's Tyler Tedford was eighth at 120.

At 126, Westford Academy's Tommy McDonough was sixth.

Lowell's Julio Escotto placed fifth at 132.

Tim Ward of Shawsheen took third at 138.

Chelmsford's Davey Goodall (fourth) and Lowell's Rey Dishmey (sixth) placed at 145.

Kile Anestis of Acton-Boxboro was seventh at 152.

At 160, Chelmsford's Jake Ahern placed fourth.

Shawsheen's Nick Hoar (third), Lowell's Sean Keough (fourth) and Chelmsford's Kyle McQuaide (sixth) placed at 170.

Malik Settles of Lowell was sixth at 182.

At 195, Chelmsford's Tom Cove was sixth.

Former Shawsheen Tech standout Rob Cassidy was inducted into the Mass. Wrestling Hall of Fame prior to the start of the finals. Cassidy, who was a two-time Division 1 state champion and an All-State champion, finished his high school career with an overall record of 196-12.

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