Wrestling: Concord places fourth in D-I, Noah Blake and Griffin Norwalt win state titles in their weight classes


Monitor staff

Published: 02-19-2023 10:56 AM

LONDONDERRY – Amid the musty air in the gymnasium at Londonderry High School on Saturday, the Concord wrestling team represented itself admirably, placing fourth in the Division I wrestling championships. 

The Tide finished with 161 points, 0.5 behind Londonderry for third; Salem finished in first with 256 points, and Timberlane placed second with 173, breaking a streak of D-I team titles dating back to 2015. This is only the second time Timberlane has not won the D-I title this century.

Senior Noah Blake and junior Griffin Norwalt turned in the most successful performances of the afternoon for Concord. Blake placed first in the 195-pound bracket, while Norwalt finished atop the 120-pound bracket.

“They’re both tough kids,” Concord wrestling coach Ham Munnell said. “They work hard. They compete well. Both of those guys did a good job. Noah did it the hard way from the No. 4 seed; Grif did it the (easier) way from the first seed.”

Other notable performers included senior Austin Wells, who finished second in the 220-pound first-place bout; junior Hunter Richard, who finished third in the 126-pound weight class; senior Nathan Feuder, who placed fourth in the 285-pound bracket; and Isaiah Brien and senior Rumi Mistry, both of who placed fifth in their respective weight classes, 106 and 182.

“Overall, it was a pretty decent day for us,” Munnell said. “It was a solid day for Concord. The kids showed up and really put some pride into what they were doing.”

Competition of this magnitude tests each wrestler’s physical and mental endurance over and over, round after round. Some, like Blake and Norwalt found a way to grind through to victory. 

For others, perhaps the moment was a little too pressure-packed for peak performance.

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“It’s a lot of pressure,” Munnell said. “We try to stay away from the results. We try to focus on the process and what you can control. You can control competing hard, giving it your all, being smart and resilient and tough. That works for some kids. Doesn’t always work for all kids. But it’s hard. You have to handle some pressure.”

That combination of physical and mental preparation are paramount, with wrestlers tasked to take down other top wrestlers in the state four times across one day. 

“You gotta be in shape,” Munnell said. “You gotta be ready for this tournament for sure.”

All wrestlers who finished in the top six of their weight classes will advance to the State Meet of Champions at Bedford High School next Saturday. For Concord, Blake, Norwalt, Brien, Mistry, Richard, Wells, Feudner and Levi Madison will all participate.

But in the meantime, the Tide can enjoy a relatively successful Saturday on the mats.

“We’re working hard,” Munnell said. “We’re trying to get back on top. That’s the goal. This was a pretty good showing for us to (head) in the right direction. Hopefully we’re ready to go for next week.”