hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 20, 2014

91 pounds of power

Local boy wins state wrestling title 3 straight years

He weighs only 91 pounds and is not even 5 feet tall, but this sixth-grader is no weakling.

He’s a state wrestling champ — not once, not twice, but three times.

Jake Nicolosi would say there’s nothing special about him, but the 12-year-old who stands 4 feet-8 1/2 inches tall has a display case filled with wrestling trophies.

He has won the Massachusetts State Youth Wrestling Championship for his weight class three consecutive years — 2012, 2013 and 2014.

On Saturday, he took second place in the Youth New England Wrestling Championships. Jake was one of 20 contenders in his weight class. He won all his matches except for his bout in the finals, which he lost to a boy from Connecticut.

In a sport where size, strength and physical condition matter, Jake stands out for his stamina.

“The coaches comment on his attitude and ability to stay focused,” said his mom, Kelly Nicolosi.

“We put him in classes for karate, but he didn’t like it,” she said.

“It was boring,” Jake said of the martial arts training.

Jake likes the action and constant motion of wrestling. He also plays baseball and football, but said wrestling is the sport he likes most. He attends St. Joseph’s School of All Saints Parish.

Jake and his brother Brent have a reputation for being committed to wrestling and pursuing it with one thing in mind — to win.

“When they come to the gym, they get right to work,” said Mick Lawlor, a coach at the Haverhill youth wrestling program operated by the city’s Recreation Department.

Lawlor sees a lot of talent in Jake. But talent is not enough, Lawlor said, and Jake understands that.

“He works hard,’’ the coach said. “Every practice for him is like he’s preparing for a championship match.’’

Asked what does in the gym to keep on top of his sport, to keep himself competitive, Jake said he enters every practice session as if it were a real tournament. He puts himself in a competitive mode.

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