This article was submitted by Mike Stamison.
Sean Taylor and Jake Powell this weekend became the first juniors and just the third and fourth ever in the history of the Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling program to be crowned champions in the Division 3 North Sectional Wrestling Tournament.
Taylor, a Marblehead junior who is ranked No. 2 among Division 3 heavyweights in the state, won the championship with pins at 41 seconds, 60 seconds and 5:19 in the quarters, semis and finals, respectively.
Powell, ajunior, won the 113-pound championship in a hard-fought overtime match against Tom Funk of Pentucket, who was ranked as the 9th best 113-pound wrestler in the state.
"Sean needed this gold medal, and absolutely deserved it, pinning everyone he wrestled. He joins his brother as one of the few sectional champs to come out of our program,” said Mike Stamison, the head coach of the Swampscott-Marblehead cooperative wrestling team.” Hopefully he does one better, and is able to bring home the D3 State title next Saturday night. Sean has developed a shot, which he is now hitting at will, and looks unstoppable."
Powell, who is ranked by MassWrestling.com as the 10th best 113-pound wrestler in the state, also defeated Shawn Stanton of Melrose, who is ranked among the 12th best 113-pounders in the state, with a pin in the second period of their semi-final match.
"Jake's pin of Stanton was huge, turning him in one of his cradles,” said Stamison. “The overtime win over Funk, that was something else. Funk has had his number lately, beating Jake at the CAL/NEC League Tournament in the finals last week to the tune of 9-0, for Jake to come out and win the way he did, speaks volumes of him as a person. Hat's off to Funk, who has turned into a great wrestler in his own right, but Saturday belonged to Jake.”
“Thinking back over my first three seasons as head coach, that match, and Jon Taylor's championship win in the 2010 CAL/NEC finals in triple overtime were hands down the two most exciting matches I've ever been a part of, either as a wrestler or coach," said Stamison.
Both Taylor and Powell will travel with the coaching staff to Taconic Regional High School in Pittsfield next weekend to wrestle in the Division 3 State Tournament. "Obviously, we are aiming for gold at states for both guys, and we will be disappointed with anything less than that,” said Stamison. “Winning our section put them in great position to pull it off seeding wise, but they both need to wrestle even better out west, in order to make it happen."
Black and Blue wrestlers Cam Budrow, Jonah Weinstein, Dmitriy Ladokha, and Ali Atallah all wrestled bravely in the Division 3 North tournament.
Marblehead senior Jeff Sherman, who was injured for a good part of the season, went 1-2 on the day.
"Jeff, as the only senior member on the team, had his career come to a close on Saturday," the coach said. "In the end, his shoulder was still too banged up to wrestle effectively. I thought he wrestled very well since coming back, two weeks ago, but missing a huge portion of the season ended up being too much. The coaching staff wishes him well in all his future endeavors, and thanks him for his years of service to our program. He was a pretty solid wrestler for the three years he started, and we've learned from four years of knowing him, a pretty great guy, who will be missed."
Taylor and Powell have now joined Jonathan “JT” Taylor, Sean’s older brother, and Kristian Kotov as the only wrestlers in the history of the “Black and Blue” wrestling program to place first in the Division 3 North sectional tournament.