Pin it to win it

Johnson takes title at New Englands

Nick Johnson of Milton took the wrestling title at the New England competition. (Photo by Marie Johnson)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Milton High School junior Nick Johnson won five straight matches by pin, earning the 220-pound title at the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships in Providence, R.I. last Friday and Saturday.

Johnson finished second a week earlier in the Vermont state championships at Vergennes Union High School but took down state champions from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to take the New England title.

Despite recovering from major knee surgery a year ago, Johnson finishes his season with a 22-3 record and is 55-12 in his three years of high school competition.

The 10th seed for New Englands, Johnson opened the tournament at Providence Career and Technical Academy with a pin of the No. 7-ranked competitor from Massachusetts in just 34 seconds. In the round of 16, he needed 2:28 to pin Maine’s state champion, then beat the Connecticut titlist by pin in 1:29. In the semifinals against Massachusetts’ state champ, Johnson was losing on points in a close match when he pulled out the win with a pin at 2:34 of the second round.

In the finals, the Yellowjacket faced Massachusetts’ two-time champ, Benton Whitley, who in  the semifinals had eliminated Vermont winner Sebastian Rocher of Mt. Anthony, who had beaten Johnson in the state finals. Whitley came into last Saturday’s match undefeated this season, but was pinned 1:49 into the first round.

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