MANCHESTER - In their first foray of varsity competition, the Burr and Burton Academy wrestling team had some success at the Vermont State Championships.

Senior Sean Armstrong - who wrestles in the 126 pound weight class - placed 5th at the State Championships. Looking back at the Championships and Armstrong's finish in an interview on Monday, BBA coach Zach Monforte indicated that the experience was rather surreal. "It really didn't almost didn't seem real for me, you know varsity States to realize 'wait a minute this is at the State level. This is at the varsity level. This is not JVs. This is not just another tournament,'" said Monforte. "It really didn't feel real to me. I was really excited that he took fifth place.

Burr and Burton Academy s Sean Armstrong (top) grapples with an opponent from Mill River during BBA s home tournament earlier this year. Armstrong took 5th
Burr and Burton Academy s Sean Armstrong (top) grapples with an opponent from Mill River during BBA s home tournament earlier this year. Armstrong took 5th place at the State Tournament at the beginning of the month. (Gary Baker photo)
" Armstrong's goal, Monforte said, was to finish in the top three to be able to compete in the New England Championships that took place this past weekend in Providence, R.I.

Monforte said that Armstrong was upset when he lost his semi-final consolation match for 3rd and 4th place, but that he got over it quickly before his next match began.

"I think he was happy that he was medaling," Monforte said. "He went in for his fifth-sixth place match, wrestled a kid from Otter Valley and I felt he wrestled a near perfect match tech-falling his opponent 15-0 in the third period. And the kid from Otter Valley is a great wrestler. He's won a lot of matches.


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Another one of BBA's wrestler's - freshman Caleb Jiles (106 pound weight class) - finished in sixth place at the State Championship, which took place on Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 1, at Kates Gym at Mount Anthony Union High School.

In addition to Armstrong's finish, Monforte felt that the rest of his team did very well also. Overall, Monforte said he believed the team finished 12th out of the more than 20 teams that attended the tournament.

"As a coach you set your expectations really high and my expectations are high, but I forget this was their first year of varsity and we haven't been doing it for a long time," said Monforte. "All of them had first year varsity experience. Some of them had wrestling experience from last year.

Sometimes I feel that we've been doing it for a long time, but we haven't. So, it's been a great year. We had a lot of nice accomplishments this year."

The majority of the wrestlers, Monforte said, won one match.

Chris Pelk (160 pound weight class) won a match to advance to the quarter-finals where he lost to a wrestler from Bellows Falls who Monforte said he has a rivalry with.

Bjorn Boutan won a match, pinning a wrestler from Spaulding to advance to the consolation round of the quarter-finals.

In addition, Monforte said there were some of his other student athletes that wrestled tough.

"There were some close matches that we were in that we probably should have won, but again being new experience [was] a factor," said Monforte. "But overall, the team's spirits were high. They were just excited to even have an opportunity to wrestle at the State Tournament. Everyone was proud of that."

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