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With stick-to-itiveness, Dracut senior Brock Desmarais is determined to pin down a state title

Dracut senior Brock Desmarais raised his season record to 28-4 Thursday night with a win over Greater Lowell’s Trevor Thouinard.Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

Brock Desmarais was reeling after not wrestling as a sophomore, the pandemic pushing the season to Fall II, and thus, in conflict with lacrosse, the sport of his future, in the spring of 2021. But, as a junior, he was looking forward to making a run on the mat to a state title. But the day before the first match of the season for the Tyngsborough/Dracut co-op, came the searing stomach pain.

Desmarais arrived at the hospital not a moment too soon. He was rushed to the emergency room for an appendectomy.

“I was devastated,” Desmarais recalled. “I really wanted a state title last year. I didn’t know what was going to happen for the rest of the season.”


His nearly-burst appendix sidelined Desmarais for eight weeks, impacting his 5-foot-8-inch, 152-pound frame. Desmarais managed to return just ahead of the postseason, winning two of his three meets in a dominant run to a Division 2 North title.

However, he failed to place in the state quarterfinals when his shoulder gave way, forcing him to forfeit a match he was leading.

“It was tough. I tried really hard,” Desmarais said. “I put the work in, but I wasn’t in wrestling shape. It was kind of too late to get back into shape. I think that honestly killed me.”

This year, the senior captain from Dracut is on a mission, staring down his last chance to be a state champion. His 28-4 record has put him right on track (raising his career mark to 66-17).

‘He wouldn’t be the lacrosse player he is without wrestling.’

Tynsborough/Dracut wrestling coach Mike Donovan, on senior captain Brock Desmarais, a Rutgers lacrosse commit

“He puts in the work outside the wrestling room to make himself better,” said coach Mike Donovan. “He’s improving every time you watch him wrestle this year, and I think he’s ready to peak at the right time.”

Desmarais has been wrestling as long as he can remember. But he is also a stalwart on the lacrosse field as a midfielder/faceoff specialist, which presented him with a dilemma when COVID-19 pushed wrestling into the spring season in 2021.


“It was super tough,” he said. “I made the choice to play lacrosse because I had all these [colleges] looking at me. It made sense to play lacrosse, but it was devastating not being able to wrestle.”

Dracut/Tyngsborough's Brock Desmarais celebrates his Senior Night win over Greater Lowell's Trevor Thouinard.Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

The decision paid off: he will play lacrosse at Rutgers. Last spring, in his return to the field from his shoulder injury, he racked up 100 points and led the Merrimack Valley Conference with a 93 percent faceoff win rate.

“He wouldn’t be the lacrosse player he is without wrestling,” Donovan said. “They say it’s great to have wrestlers [taking faceoffs] because they understand leverage and everything else.”

Matt Dehney, the head coach at Dracut before becoming an assistant for the co-op ahead of the 2021-22 season, coached Desmarais and his older brothers, Andrew and Calvin. He has seen them overcome difficult circumstances, and is impressed by how much Brock has matured through the years.

“I think it’s a testament to their mom and dad [Roxanne and Jamie], they’re on them about [not] quitting, not giving up,” Dehney said. “It’s something they get reminded of. It’s hard, but you fight through it.”

Calvin has been an inspiration for Brock to fight back after two injuries in one year. He returned from tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees in high school and now plays lacrosse for UMass Lowell.


“He’s a big motivation for me, showing me injuries don’t matter, you just need to push through it,” Desmarais said.

He is hoping to follow his father and uncle, who both represented Dracut in winning state championships. His uncle, Sean Harrington, is a former New England champion, earning All-American status twice at UMass Lowell, before going on to coach at Harvard and Boston University.

“[Brock has] always, since a young age, competed with the best around,” Dehney said. “I always held him to a high standard. I always expected him to compete well and be right up there in the end. It’s the confidence I had in him.”

Desmarais worked in the offseason on strengthening his shoulders to avoid the situation from States last year. As a freshman, he finished eighth at States.

“I feel like I’m back in wrestling shape. I feel just as good as freshman year,” he said.

“I feel ready to go.”

“He puts in the work outside the wrestling room to make himself better. He’s improving every time you watch him wrestle this year, and I think he’s ready to peak at the right time," said Tyngsborough/Dracut coach Mike Donovan on Brock Desmarais (above), who ran sprints in the hallway after his win Thursday night. Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

Near falls

▪ It was a momentous three days for Central Catholic. The Raiders registered a 41-21 senior night victory over Lowell, topped Ashland, 48-14, halted St. John’s Prep’s 114-dual meet winning streak (30 this season), and finished second behind Bishop Hendricken, R.I., in the Capital City Classic in Concord, N.H.

In the 34-31 win over St. John’s Prep, seniors Jackie Dehney (6-4 win at 120 pounds after trailing 4-0), Nick Spero (pin at 132), and James Bohenko (145) earned pivotal points.

“For a team of our caliber to beat SJP, everything had to go right,” coach Jamie Durkin said. “Fortunately for us, everything did go right.”


Senior James Crippen (first-year starter at 126), junior Pablo Salas (138), freshman Jackson Meehan (195), and senior Sean Finneran (backup at 182 who bumped up to 195 and further to 220) kept their matches close when every point was pivotal.

“[Finneran was] probably giving up 30 pounds,” Durkin said. “I had him wrestle his heart out for six minutes and he only lost 2-0. Those are the things that go unnoticed. It was absolutely these kids who just wrestled tough and stayed off their backs.”

The lone champion for CC at Saturday’s tournament was star junior Nate Blanchette (182), who took down Bishop Hendricken’s Spencer Fine, 10-5 in the final.

▪ A national and New England Hall of Famer with 503 wins covering 30 seasons — including a 366-90-2 record in 18 years at Norton, Pat Coleman, 73, will retire at season’s end. He still plans to help coach, but wants to spend more time with his children and grandchildren.

When his son, Scott, wanted to wrestle, Coleman started a program at the YMCA. He wanted to give those kids a high school program, so he started the junior varsity team in 2006, and added varsity in 2007. The Lancers won their first league championship in 2008.

“This wrestling program is my baby. Every kid who has wrestled at Norton has been my wrestler,” Coleman said. “The young kids who have enjoyed my coaching were disappointed to hear my news, but I assured them I am still going to be a part of the program.”


In his tenure, the Lancers have won 11 Tri-Valley League titles, seven Division 3 South Sectional tournaments, and and three Division 3 state titles.

Bo Santangelo, a former Dedham wrestler, Boston firefighter, and ex-Marine will succeed Coleman, and bring his son, Daniel, who wrestled and coached at Xaverian, on as an assistant.

“[Bo] brings a no-nonsense approach and mental toughness approach that wrestlers need,” Coleman said.

• The postseason starts Saturday with the Coaches State Duals, with Division 1 at St. John’s Prep, D2 at North Andover, and D3 at Ashland.

AJ Traub can be reached at aj.traub@globe.com.