Wrestling notebook: Melrose boss Larry Tremblay rolls on

Given the different venues Larry Tremblay has coached in throughout his 40-plus years as a high school wrestling coach, it was only fitting that his latest milestone took place in another state.

Dubbed “the Legend,” Tremblay became just the second wrestling coach in New England history to amass 800 wins when Melrose rallied to defeat Newtown, 40-37. The Red Raiders made the trek all the more worthwhile with a 50-27 victory over host school Southington (Connecticut).

“I think we wrestled a little above our pay grade that day,” Tremblay said. “It was a pretty special day because we beat two Connecticut teams who were ranked in the top 10 in the state.”

Tremblay has come a long way since the early days when he guided North Reading to a 13-2 record. Truth be told, Tremblay figured he was going to be a Hornet for life.

“I was having a lot of fun there,” said Tremblay, who was a three-sport star at North Reading. “I was coaching wrestling, helping out with the football, assistant JV trainer – the more titles I had, the more stipends I was getting. I was teaching woodshop and I had a deal with the students, don’t cut off a finger or poke yourself in the eye and we will be fine.”

Shortly thereafter, he received a call from his wife Dawn’s grandfather saying there was a head coaching and teaching position at Winchester. The teaching job fell through, so Tremblay figured he might be the proverbial one-and-done at Winchester.

He wound up doing 38 one-and-dones at Winchester, forging his legacy as one of the greatest wrestling coaches in state history. Tremblay’s first team, led by New England champion Gary Errico, went 11-5 and he never looked back. In his time there, Tremblay won 28 Middlesex League titles, four state dual meet championships as well as Div. 2 state titles in 1995, 2007 and 2008.

“I really liked coaching the kids at Winchester,” Tremblay said. “Some of the kids in Winchester did have it all, but many others were like me, a city kid growing up in Chelsea and Everett before moving to North Reading. I had a special bond with them and I’d like to think I made a difference in their life.”

Following the 2018 season, Tremblay stepped down as head coach at Winchester. The time away from the mat was short-lived as Melrose had an opening for a head coach and Tremblay, who was going to join the staff as an assistant, filled the vacancy.

In his short time there, Melrose has captured two state team titles, a dual meet championship and two more Middlesex League crowns.

“We’ve had some great wrestlers here with Hunter Adrian and Sean Herbert,” Tremblay said. “But we also have a lot of blue collar wrestlers, my type of guys. I look at the Fogarty brothers for example (Shea, Stephen and Quinn) who have wrestled for me. All three are nice kids, hard workers and big time gamers who just don’t want to be pinned.”

Shea has graduated, but Stephen and Quinn Fogarty are key components on a team in prime contention to defend its Div. 3 state title. Heavyweight Braden Marceau-Olayinka, 113-pounder Michael Thomas and 160-pounder Oto Albanese have been very solid all season long.

As to how much longer Tremblay wants to add to his 808 career wins is a question his body will answer. Tremblay quickly rattles off a litany of injuries to his shoulders, knees and hips, the result of more than 50 years of wrestling and coaching. At the same time, Tremblay speaks the exuberance of a five-year-old at Christmas about the joy of seeing a wrestler achieve success.

“The journey has been unbelievable, the connections I’ve made in wrestling have changed my life,” Tremblay said. “As long as my body holds up, I still love doing what I do. I still enjoy taking a piece of coal and making it into a diamond.”

No one can deny the fact that Tremblay has created more than his share of diamonds.

On the mat

The inaugural Keiron Smith Memorial Tournament took place last weekend at Monty Tech with nine teams participating to celebrate the life of Smith, who served as head wrestling coach at Monty Tech for 14 years before dying unexpectedly last August.

Monty Tech captured the nine-team event with a score of 251, nearly 70 points ahead of runner up Nashoba. The hosts had five champions led by Jonah Paulino (132 pounds), Xaedyn Natal (145), Trevor Gendron (182), Cooper Wiebe (120) and Gregory Lehmann (160).

“It was a fantastic day of wrestling,” said Monty Tech athletic director David Reid. “A lot of teams showed up and everyone got a chance to wrestle some matches.”

Girls get wins

A pair of reigning Boston Herald girls wrestling All-Scholastics emerged with victories at Senators All Girls and USAW MWA Girls Kickoff Classic at Mahar Regional. Lindsay Laws of Silver Lake took the title at 160 pounds, while Scituate standout Sara McLaughlin won the 111-pound title. Other local winners included Brooke Weafer from Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle-Cassidy (106 pounds), Ashland’s Nora Quitt (136) and Lowell’s Amada Moundele (175).

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