Connor Sheehan wins NE wrestling title

NE CHAMP — Connor Sheehan, a senior at Fryeburg Academy, closed out his high school career with a New England championship Saturday. Here, Connor wrestles in the Maine Class B state tournament. (Rivet Photo)

NE CHAMP — Connor Sheehan, a senior at Fryeburg Academy, closed out his high school career with a New England championship Saturday. Here, Connor wrestles in the Maine Class B state tournament. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Connor Sheehan never expected to find himself winning a New England wrestling title after suffering a broken ankle in the preseason.

He went on to win his third state title last month, and added more gold Saturday by winning the 113-pound weight class at the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships held in Providence, R.I.

A top seed, Connor won his opening match with an 11-2 decision over Eric Kerr of Lynnfield-Reading, Mass.

“Going down to New England’s, I knew I wouldn’t have an easy match,” the Fryeburg Academy senior said. “My toughest match was probably my quarterfinals match against Danbury’s Chris Bryant. I came out offensive while Bryant conserved his energy. As my energy was waning, he began to pick it up in the third period. With 10 seconds left, I had to defend a quick low single shot that would put Bryant ahead. The final score was 10-9.”

In the semifinals, Connor pinned Michael Ruffino of Windham, Conn. in the third period.

“When I got the pin in the semis, I was ecstatic. Never had I thought that I’d be contending for a New England title,” he said.

As he entered my finals match, Connor knew his opponent, Troy Gassaway from Mt. Anthony, Vt., would be extremely tough.

FAMILY AFFAIR — Connor and brother, Zach (bottom), go through a warm up prior to the Class B state finals at the Academy. (Rivet Photo)

FAMILY AFFAIR — Connor and brother, Zack (bottom), go through a warm up prior to the Class B state finals at the Academy. (Rivet Photo)

“Throughout the match, I kept remembering what Coach (Thurston) told me before the match: ‘Remember Connor, you only gotta win by one.’ The emotions I felt when the final buzzer went off was surreal,” Connor said.

Connor won the final match of his illustrious high school career with a 3-1 decision.

“I looked to the corner of the mat and saw two of the greatest people I know. First, my little brother, Zack. Zack has pushed me so hard in the sport of wrestling. He’s been my practice partner throughout my high school career and is the greatest little brother a kid could ask for. He truly is my best friend,” Connor said. “And secondly, my coach, Bryce Thurston, who is the most caring person I know. He’s been there for me through it all. He has helped shape who I am not only as a wrestler, but as a person as well. He has never been ‘Mr. Thurston’ to me in all the 10 years I’ve known him. He is, and always will be ‘Coach’ to me for the rest of my life. I credit everything I’ve achieved in wrestling to Coach.”

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