Sports year in review: A perfect game, numerous championships and remembrance for those lost

Concord pitcher Maddy Wachter (second from left) is hugged by teammates Sarah Taylor (8) and Brooke Wyatt (7) as Lillian Hackett (left) rushes in after the Tide got the last out to win the Division I softball championship on June 10 at Plymouth State University.

Concord pitcher Maddy Wachter (second from left) is hugged by teammates Sarah Taylor (8) and Brooke Wyatt (7) as Lillian Hackett (left) rushes in after the Tide got the last out to win the Division I softball championship on June 10 at Plymouth State University. Geoff Forester / Monitor staff

Bishop Brady field hockey coach Kelly Owen stands under a new sign honoring her 30 years of coaching. October 5, 2023.

Bishop Brady field hockey coach Kelly Owen stands under a new sign honoring her 30 years of coaching. October 5, 2023. —Courtesy

The Hopkinton boys soccer team react after losing in a shootout after two overtime periods during the D-III semi-finals at Laconia High School on Monday, October 30, 2023.

The Hopkinton boys soccer team react after losing in a shootout after two overtime periods during the D-III semi-finals at Laconia High School on Monday, October 30, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER

The John Stark girls field hockey team celebrates their back-to-back championship on Sunday, October 29, 2023 at Bedford High School after beating Kennett High School, 1-0.

The John Stark girls field hockey team celebrates their back-to-back championship on Sunday, October 29, 2023 at Bedford High School after beating Kennett High School, 1-0. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

The Bow Falcons celebrate their first ever Division II boys' soccer championship after beating Lebanon, 2-1, at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.

The Bow Falcons celebrate their first ever Division II boys' soccer championship after beating Lebanon, 2-1, at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023. Chip Griffin

Rundlett Middle School teacher Jessica Parent with the Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, near the door that they designed on April 21.

Rundlett Middle School teacher Jessica Parent with the Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, near the door that they designed on April 21. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Coe-Brown softball players Jayden Porter, Courtney Thomas and Hailey Pruett (left to right) stand during the singing of the national anthem on May 8, following a pregame ceremony honoring the life of Drew Ceppetelli, who died in a car crash in November.

Coe-Brown softball players Jayden Porter, Courtney Thomas and Hailey Pruett (left to right) stand during the singing of the national anthem on May 8, following a pregame ceremony honoring the life of Drew Ceppetelli, who died in a car crash in November. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

Pembroke coach Mike Donnell comforts guard Mike Strazzeri after Pelham defeated the Spartans in D-II Finals on March 12 at Lundholm Gym in Durham.

Pembroke coach Mike Donnell comforts guard Mike Strazzeri after Pelham defeated the Spartans in D-II Finals on March 12 at Lundholm Gym in Durham. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Bow forward Alex Larrabee can’t believe the ending of the game as Kennett players start to celebrate after the Eagles’ Kaylee McLellan sank two late free throws to win the D-II Championship on March 12.

Bow forward Alex Larrabee can’t believe the ending of the game as Kennett players start to celebrate after the Eagles’ Kaylee McLellan sank two late free throws to win the D-II Championship on March 12. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Cole McLaughlin wanted to help remember his former teammate, Nick Ouellette, by contributing to the Ouellette scholarship fund through a fundraiser for bricks to make a patio at the Bow football stadium. The unveiling of the patio with all the bricks was unveiled on June 21.

Cole McLaughlin wanted to help remember his former teammate, Nick Ouellette, by contributing to the Ouellette scholarship fund through a fundraiser for bricks to make a patio at the Bow football stadium. The unveiling of the patio with all the bricks was unveiled on June 21. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Belmont’s Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez with his host parents, Robert LaDue and Kim Scamman, after Belmont’s senior day win over Winnisquam on May 24. Jiminez Gonzalez, an exchange student from Spain, had never played baseball before joining the Raiders.

Belmont’s Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez with his host parents, Robert LaDue and Kim Scamman, after Belmont’s senior day win over Winnisquam on May 24. Jiminez Gonzalez, an exchange student from Spain, had never played baseball before joining the Raiders. Courtesy

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8), Alex Larrabee (15) and Kate McGovern (11) rush to join their teammate in celebrating the Falcons’ NHIAA Division III girls’ lacrosse title over No. 2 St. Thomas, 20-6, on June 6 in Laconia.

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8), Alex Larrabee (15) and Kate McGovern (11) rush to join their teammate in celebrating the Falcons’ NHIAA Division III girls’ lacrosse title over No. 2 St. Thomas, 20-6, on June 6 in Laconia. Chip Griffin / Photos by Chip

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy softball players embrace in celebration after Coe-Brown defeated Kingswood, 5-1, to repeat as NHIAA Division II champions on Saturday, June 10, 2023.

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy softball players embrace in celebration after Coe-Brown defeated Kingswood, 5-1, to repeat as NHIAA Division II champions on Saturday, June 10, 2023. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

From left, Hopkinton boys' lacrosse captains Patrick Buss (14), Steven Reddy (8), Lincoln Wilson (22) and John Despres (6), head coach Deacon Blue and assistant coach Kyle Devitte celebrate with the championship plaque after the No. 5 Hawks defeated No. 2 Campbell, 7-4, to win the NHIAA Division III title on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Exeter High School's Bill Ball Stadium.

From left, Hopkinton boys' lacrosse captains Patrick Buss (14), Steven Reddy (8), Lincoln Wilson (22) and John Despres (6), head coach Deacon Blue and assistant coach Kyle Devitte celebrate with the championship plaque after the No. 5 Hawks defeated No. 2 Campbell, 7-4, to win the NHIAA Division III title on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Exeter High School's Bill Ball Stadium. Rich Miyara—NH Sports Photography

Concord’s Leah Foulds puts her arm around teammate Willa Marino during the moment of silence in honor of Kelsey Mayer, who graduated Concord High School in 2022 and played on the girls’ soccer team. Marino played with Mayer, who died in a car accident in March at the age of 18.

Concord’s Leah Foulds puts her arm around teammate Willa Marino during the moment of silence in honor of Kelsey Mayer, who graduated Concord High School in 2022 and played on the girls’ soccer team. Marino played with Mayer, who died in a car accident in March at the age of 18. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 12-28-2023 2:55 PM

The past year brought a number of highs and lows for Concord area athletics. From perfect games and championships to agonizing losses and goals left unachieved, area athletes produced a number of intriguing stories throughout the year.

The last 12 months also brought moments of reflection for those who were tragically lost, with communities coming together to mourn the deaths of coaches and teammates taken from them far too soon.

Sports are supposed to be an avenue – one of the few that remain – for uniting people. This year proved that to still be true.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the major moments, in chronological order, from Concord area sports in 2023:

Jan. 2: FieldHouse Sports in Bow announces closure: The indoor sports facility had been a home for Bow and Concord athletes since 1997, but the organization notified its members that it would be closing its doors as an indoor sports complex later that month. FieldHouse Sports’ closure has significantly impacted local athletics, particularly the Bow Athletic Club and its affiliated leagues, as a convenient location for sports is no longer available in the immediate area.

Jan. 20: Finally, some snow for Concord’s Nordic ski team: After having two races postponed and a number of outdoor practices moved inside, Concord finally received enough snow to allow the high school’s Nordic ski team to practice and compete outside. It was an unusually warm winter for the area, forcing coach Erin Waters and her team to adapt to changing conditions.

This will likely only be a sign of things to come as global temperatures continue to warm.

“We know that it’s only going to get worse,” Waters said. “Maybe next year will be better than this year, but looking at the long-term view, we’re probably going to have more winters like this. We’re going to have different challenges than we’ve ever seen before.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Memorial Day 2024 parades and events in Concord and surrounding towns
The largest arcade in the world marches on
Concord budget fortellls major future spending
Concord School District leaders stand by principal hiring despite past lawsuit
Internal emails reveal UNH administrators’ desire to quell pro-Palestine ‘encampment’ ahead of graduation
A deep dive into John Stark baseball, the program Dennis Pelletier’s built

Feb. 6: Coe-Brown boys’ basketball coach Dave Smith sets record: After the Bears took down Plymouth, 70-40, Smith picked up his 628th career win, giving him the most high school boys’ basketball coaching wins in the state of New Hampshire, according to the school’s calculations.

“I’ve been honored, privileged to be able to coach,” Smith said. “As my career winds down at some point, this group of kids I have, I’m blessed.”

Feb. 8: Hopkinton soccer coach Rusty Wightman dies at 51 after cancer battle: Even after receiving a discouraging cancer diagnosis, Wightman did what he could to stay involved with the Hopkinton girls’ soccer team. He even showed up to several games in the fall despite being physically weakened from his illness.

Wightman loved coaching soccer when his daughters played and continued coaching club and school teams in the area. He also had a stint as the president of the New Hampshire Soccer Association.

“He certainly helped make a mark on the soccer program and these kids,” said Hopkinton athletic director Dan Meserve said. “He’s really going to be missed.”

Feb. 18: Concord, Bow and John Stark excel in state wrestling championships: Concord finished fourth as a team in the Division I wrestling championship held at Londonderry High School. Tide senior Noah Blake finished first in the 195-pound bracket, while junior Griffin Norwalt won the 120-pound division.

“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.”

In the Division III championships, Bow finished second and John Stark placed third. Both improved on 2022 when the Falcons finished third and the Generals finished ninth.

Bill Chavanelle led Bow’s program to this level of success in just his first season as the coach. John Stark, meanwhile, was led by second-year coach Zach Feudner, who was recognized as the D-III coach of the year.

Feb. 25: Concord Christian girls’ basketball wins D-III championship: After winning the state championship in Division IV in 2022, CCA once again hoisted a championship plaque after taking down Conant at Keene State, 49-35. Most impressively, the team took home the title despite having just seven girls on their roster.

“We’re a small team; everyone expects to beat us with their numbers and their size,” said junior Megan Muir. “We work really hard, and we play so hard together as a team. Our togetherness helps us; we lift each other up. We push the ball and cheer each other on. We work on shooting, and we work on boxing out. This was the big stage, the big moment. We gave it our all, and that’s what helped us win.”

March 8: Concord boys’ hockey sees championship run come to an end: After winning state titles in 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Crimson Tide looked poised for a fourth straight title after completing an unbeaten regular season. But against Bedford in the Division I semifinals at JFK Coliseum in Manchester, the Bulldogs’ Javin Manfield scored in overtime to knock Concord out of the playoffs.

“It’s a feeling that we’re not used to, that’s for sure,” head coach Dunc Walsh said. “Losing’s no fun. Especially when they haven’t tasted much of it in the past four years.”

The loss marked the end to the career of Brooks Craigue, who led the way for Concord all season. He scored 30 goals and had 37 assists across 24 games, breaking the program’s single-season record for points.

March 12: Pembroke boys’ basketball, Bow girls’ hoops come up short in D-II championships: Both area teams had put together stellar seasons to that point: The Spartans entered their match-up with Pelham 18-2 on the season, while the Falcons put their unbeaten 20-0 record on the line against Kennett.

Pembroke lost its game, 57-54, despite a 22-point effort from senior Mike Strazzeri and a team camaraderie that seemed to elevate the program’s play all season.

“I love the kids. They love each other,” head coach Mike Donnell said. “We’ve come a long way. Unfortunately in a game like this, someone’s gotta lose. We had our opportunities. … Today, Pelham was the better team.”

Meanwhile, the Falcons lost, 38-37, in the most heartbreaking of fashions. Ahead 37-36 with 16 seconds left, Bow was called for a foul just as the clock hit 0.0 to put Kennett’s Kaylee McLellan at the free-throw line. She made both, and Bow’s season came to a crushing end.

“There’s just not much you can say to them. They’re all very upset,” head coach Phil Davis said. “They worked very hard. They deserve this one for the efforts they put in all year. I felt like our senior captains – Alex (Larrabee), Bella (LaPerle), Lyndsey (LaPerle) – really played their hearts out. … Unfortunately, the end result wasn’t what we were looking for.”

April 21: Rundlett Middle School welcomes Bruins’ mascot: After winning a door decorating competition showing off their love for the Boston Bruins, teacher Jessica Parent and her sixth grade advisory students welcomed Blades, the mascot for the Bruins, to their classroom.

“It took us a while to get an idea,” Parent said. “And finally when we got the idea, we put it together like just at the last minute and it came out phenomenal.”

May 8: Coe-Brown honors Drew Ceppetelli, former player who died in car accident: Ceppetelli died on Nov. 24, 2022, in a car crash, just two weeks before she would’ve turned 22 years old. She graduated from Coe-Brown in 2019 and continued her softball career at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.

Her former program took a moment to honor Ceppetelli’s legacy at the school before their game with Oyster River with her family in attendance as well.

“The support, although not surprising, is overwhelming when you walk in and see it all,” said Drew’s mom, Melissa Ceppetelli.

The family set up the Drew Cepp Scholarship Fund to continue to honor her impact on the local community.

May 22: Belmont Spanish exchange student gets first varsity plate appearance on the baseball field: When Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez stepped up to the plate with Belmont leading Winnisquam 8-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, his teammates erupted in joy. Spending the year at Belmont High School as an exchange student from Spain, it was his first time up to bat for the varsity team.

He’d barely ever played baseball when he arrived in the United States, but Jimenez Gonzalez walked away from that plate appearance – where he worked a walk, stole second and scored – with a memory he’ll never forget.

“I got tears in my eyes,” head coach Matt LeBlanc said. “There are a lot of thankless parts of being a coach, but it’s days like (Monday), experiences with Alejandro where you say, ‘This is why I do it, and this is why it’s worth it.’ ”

June 3: Concord softball’s Maddy Wachter pitches perfect game in Division I quarterfinals: A force in the circle for the Tide all season, Wachter turned in a brilliant performance against Timberlane with a trip to the semifinals on the line.

She retired all 21 Owls’ hitters in order and struck out 11. Only three balls put in play left the infield.

“This is right near the top from what I’ve seen,” head coach Duke Sawyer said of the performance. “It’s not only a no-hitter; it’s a perfect game, in a playoff game against a good team.”

June 6: Bow girls’ lacrosse completes dominant season, wins state title: The Falcons faced few obstacles throughout the 2023 season and rolled over St. Thomas, 20-6, at Bank of N.H. Stadium in Laconia to secure the program’s first D-III championship since 2009.

“This team will go down as one of my best teams,” head coach Chris Raabe said. “They all care about each other. They’re all friends. There’s no drama. There’s no cliqueness. They’ll sit with any of the 25 (other players). They care more about one another than they do about themselves.”

June 10: Concord and Coe-Brown take home softball championships: Area championships kept coming in Plymouth when Concord and Coe-Brown won the D-I and D-II title games, respectively.

The Tide entered its game having lost just once during the regular season to Winnacunnet, a team it would need to beat in the championship to avoid the program’s third straight title game loss. Thanks to more great pitching from Sarah Taylor and Wachter, as well as timely hitting, Concord could only celebrate after a 3-2 victory.

“Even though we’ve had a few downs, like losing two years before this, we (now) have the highest of the high that we could have,” Wachter said. “I’m just going to remember this feeling and these smiling faces that all these girls have.”

Coe-Brown, meanwhile, faced off with undefeated Kingswood and rode a strong offensive showing to their second straight title.

A three-run home run from Bears catcher Courtney Thomas broke the game open in the fifth inning. In the circle, Madison DeCota pitched a complete game and allowed just one run on three hits and four walks, while striking out six. Coe-Brown won, 5-1.

“Being in bigger games helps you prepare for big games,” head coach Dave Allis said. “That really helped us. With our culture at Coe-Brown, we’re fortunate to have had a lot of success, a lot of great girls, a great program. They worked their butts off. All that hard work that they put in really paid off. But definitely being here (before) helps.”

June 11: Hopkinton boys’ lacrosse rounds out upset run with a championship: The Hawks entered the 2023 playoff bracket as the No. 5 seed, but they beat No. 4 Plymouth in the first round and No. 1 Bow in an overtime thriller to set up a date with Campbell for the D-III championship.

Hopkinton relied on steady defense spearheaded by senior Steven Reddy to shut down the Cougars in a 7-4 win.

“We had a really hard path,” said Reddy, one of Hopkinton’s captains. “It means everything to me. We lost here last year. It feels unbelievable. It was hard. That is a good team. But we played our game, and I think we’re the best defensive team in the league. We played our game and did our thing.”

June 21: Bow unveils patio to honor Ouellette brothers: Bow football player Cole McLaughlin dedicated his senior project to raising money for the Ouellette scholarship fund, created to honor the memories of Nick and Gavin Ouellette, who died in a car crash in 2021.

The school unveiled the new 10-foot-by-10-foot brick patio, which raised $10,000 for the scholarship fund.

“(The bricks are) left there forever,” McLaughlin said. “I figured that would be a great fundraiser to do for my friend who passed.”

July 26: Concord Post 21 baseball loses in American Legion championship: This summer marked the end for several Concord baseball players who’d played together since they were in Little League. Brooks Craigue, Matt Drewes, Mitch Coffey and Dan Revellese all played large roles in the Tide’s high school varsity team reaching the Division I semifinals in June and made similarly large contributions on the diamond this summer.

Although Post 21 lost to Nashua Post 3 in the championship game, it was still a highly successful run for this group of players.

“We really don’t care about ourselves. We just care about winning, and we’ll do anything to do that,” Craigue said. “We have a good group of guys that have been together for a while. I think we have the same goal. We don’t care about our own goals. It’s really about the team.”

Sept. 8: Extreme heat throws wrench in high school fall sports season: Throughout the first couple of weeks of September, area schools saw 37 events canceled, not including any practices impacted by extreme heat. With temperatures averaging over 90 degrees and a thunderstorm soaking the area, teams were forced to adapt to the unseasonably extreme weather.

“I’ve been coaching in high school for about nine years now up in New Hampshire here – Bishop Brady, Goffstown or Concord – I think this is really the first two years that we’ve kind of dealt with (extreme heat),” Concord girls’ soccer coach Andrew Mattarazzo said. “I don’t remember in the past ever really having to deal with it being too hot or anything.”

Sept. 26: Concord girls’ soccer remembers Kelsey Mayer: The Concord girls’ soccer community came together to honor the memory of Mayer, who died in a car accident in March at the age of 18. The booster club sold T-shirts with Mayer’s No. 12 to raise money for her scholarship fund, as friends, family and teammates came together to celebrate her life.

Some of Mayer’s former teammates honored her on the field as well, with a 3-0 win over Manchester Central-West.

“It’s so overwhelming in a good way,” said Kelsey’s father, Jeff Mayer. “I am beyond grateful, humbled, blessed. It’s so hard to put it into words what this means. They’re helping to create her legacy, and it’s amazing how this community and this family has just put their arms around me and everyone and just supported us. It’s unbelievably touching.”

Sept. 30: Bishop Brady names field after field hockey coach Kelly Owen: Before the Giants took on Newfound in their homecoming game, the team had a surprise for their head coach: From now on, their field would be named Kelly Monahan Owen Field in tribute to Owen’s 30 years of dedication to the program.

“Beyond appreciative for everybody that was a part of it,” Owen said. “There were former players, my colleagues, (athletic director) Annie (Mattarazzo) and all the people that had some part of this. It was quite an honor.”

Oct. 10: Concord golf wins D-I title, school’s first since 2006: Thanks to strong performances from senior Gavin Richardson, junior David Bourgeois and freshman Zachary Nelson, the Tide placed first in the D-I golf championship. The team score of 383 was 10 strokes ahead of second-place Hanover.

“Happy that they were able to get the job done today, when in some years past we just haven’t been able to close the deal,” coach Mark McDonough said. “Super proud the kids were able to step up and do it today.”

Richardson also won the D-I individual championship later that week; Merrimack Valley’s Andrew Surprenant won the D-II individual title.

Oct. 28: Franklin football comes one win shy of playoffs: After finishing 0-8 in 2021 and with just one win in 2022, head coach Tim Snow helped lead the Golden Tornadoes to within one game of playoff qualification in 2023. Although Franklin ultimately lost the Kaplan Kup against Bishop Brady, 3-0, the year was still one of major progress for a program that had endured some challenging circumstances.

“I wanted these kids to believe in themselves, and it’s taken this long for it to happen,” Snow said. “This year, we can see the results.”

Oct. 29: John Stark wins back-to-back field hockey championships: A younger roster didn’t slow down the Generals, who eked out a 1-0 win over Kennett in the Division II field hockey championship game for the team’s second straight title.

Like last season, the group’s closeness only enhanced their level of play. The team finished the season 16-1.

“The fact that we can play and compete against these teams the last three years as well as we have, it’s a testament to how well they play together,” head coach Dennis Pelletier said. “You’ll see these girls play separately on different teams in travel season, and you’re like, ‘They’re decent players.’ For some reason when they play together, they’re just on a different level. They just turn it up a notch.”

Oct. 30: Hopkinton boys’ soccer loses wild game to Campbell in PKs: No one wants their season to come down to penalty kicks, but after a wild back-and-forth 110 minutes of regulation and overtime, Hopkinton came up short in the shootout to lose the game 4-3 and end its season.

“That’s a crazy game,” Hopkinton head coach Scott Zipke said after the loss. “They really fought amazing. Nothing but pride about how they played tonight. They’ve played some big games this year, and I knew that we were going to come out and be in a tough one tonight.”

The Hawks rebounded in 2023 to finish 15-4 after a lackluster 5-10-2 season in 2022.

Nov. 3: Bow boys’ soccer takes home D-II championship in first season under Josh Smith: It was a dream season for the new head coach and his players. Everybody seemed to buy into a championship mindset, and the Falcons executed in game after game.

In the championship, senior Colby Smith scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win over Lebanon.

“It’s sort of beyond my wildest dreams,” Josh Smith said of winning the championship. “We talked about that as a goal, and we knew this year we had a pretty good group that we could do it, but to put it all together so quickly has just been a testament to the work that the guys have put in. They’ve been awesome all year, and they’re the reason we’re here.”

Nov. 4: Coe-Brown’s volleyball run comes just short: After an up-and-down regular season, the Bears turned the corner in the playoffs, dominating Kingswood and Souhegan before facing Oyster River for the title. Although Coe-Brown lost in five sets, head coach Renee Zobel couldn’t conceal the pride she had for her group.

“These guys decided every single day to show up and to do the work even when they were in pain, even when they were sad. Even when they didn’t feel like they could work, they showed up and they did it, and that’s what got them to today,” Zobel said. “That’s what I’m really proud of.”

Nov. 5: Coe-Brown girls’ soccer plays in first ever D-II championship: In a busy weekend for Coe-Brown athletics, the girls’ soccer team came up short in the D-II title match against unbeaten Hollis-Brookline, losing 2-1.

Still, 2023 was a milestone year for the program which had never before made it to the championship game.

“Just proud of these kids,” head coach Josh Hils said. “We wanted to play in November, and we got the chance to do a couple of them, so it was fun. Just not on the right side of that scoreboard.”

Dec. 15: Former Pittsfield student-athlete Gabe Anthony killed by alleged drunk driver: The Pittsfield community still mourns the loss of Anthony, killed at just 24 years old. The 2017 Pittsfield Middle High School graduate played on the soccer and basketball teams and later returned to high school athletics as a soccer official and a game director for the basketball team.

“You can see how much the athletic experience at PMHS had an impact on him as a student-athlete,” said PMHS principal Derek Hamilton. “It just speaks to both the type of experience that Gabe had here as a player and the type of person that he was to want to give back and support that experience for others.”

Dec. 21: Bow wrestling rings in the holidays with Jingle Brawl II: For the second straight year, Santa Claus battled the Grinch, and for the second straight year, Santa came out on top. The Bow Brawlers started Jingle Brawl as a fun holiday event, also aimed to help give back to the community.

This year, the organization collected nearly 700 pounds of canned foods to donate to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

“It’s just a really, really good environment, and everyone gets really jacked up,” said Brock Hoffman, who runs the Bow Brawlers. “We’re just really excited to see all those battles happen, get as many people from Concord and surrounding areas as we can together to celebrate the sport of wrestling and the holidays.”