Wrestler Elizabeth Donovan ready to face New England’s best – Lowell Sun

Sporting a 25-3 record, including a breakthrough win at the Tournament of Champions, New Hampshire wrestler Elizabeth Donovan will be looking to add some more material to her trophy this weekend at the New England Tournament. Courtesy picture

PELHAM, NH — The fact that Elizabeth Donovan is 25-3 and will be competing in the New England Championship wrestling matchup on Friday is impressive in itself.

How she got there has been a historic journey.

The only freshman at Pelham High, Donovan became the first female wrestler from New Hampshire to win a division championship title, advance to the Meet of Champions (MOC) finals, and qualify for the New Hampshire Tournament. -England where she will face Brayton of Shawsheen Tech. Carbon in the first round of the 106-pound weight class.

“I fought against girls and boys. I like when boys underestimate me and some of the toughest matches I’ve had have been against other women,” said Donovan, who is also a member of Lowell’s DoughBoy Club.

After being pinned in the MOC final by Salem’s Evan Lynch, Donovan was angry with herself. However, coach Bob Riddinger quickly reminded her that she had set an incredible precedent for female wrestlers at Granite State.

“She’s probably harder on herself than anyone,” Riddinger said. “I went to see her afterwards and said ‘You made history again. You are the first girl from New Hampshire to qualify for the New England Championships. There have been other girls from the New England area that got there but from little old New Hampshire you’re the first No one but the children of the state will know you so your anonymity will be back and you’ll be fighting a brand new group of kids. When you’re done on Friday night, maybe your name will be circulating in the arena, so you need to put today behind you and move on.

Donovan comes from the Donovan family of wrestlers. His father George wrestled at Tewksbury High, as did his cousin Mickael, who is now the head coach of the Tyngsboro/Dracut team. His uncles, Al and the late Mark, are members of the Massachusetts Wrestling Hall of Fame and are considered two of the greatest all-time trainers in state history. In addition to this, Liz has several cousins ​​who also thrived throughout the Tewksbury scheme.

Donovan got involved in sports by attending a youth football/wrestling camp with her brother when she was in elementary school. She ended up being named “Best Camper” after wrestling and beating all the boys. From there, she was hooked, going through the youth and college programs before putting together a truly remarkable freshman season of high school.

“Even though she doesn’t like to use it, she’s really good on her feet when it comes to her takedowns,” Riddinger said. “She’s probably more confident in the first position because she’s a rider and she feels comfortable enough to go out there and do that. She would say being in the first position is her strength and I’m d OK with that, but her feet are right behind her. She just needs to learn to trust herself and she’ll be fine.

During the NH Div. 3 meeting, Donovan defeated Ryan Cormier (4-0) and Raymond’s Michael Morse (2-0) to win the title. She qualified for the MOC, beating both Concord’s Nicholas Kesseit and Spaulding’s Noah Jackson by scores of 2–0, using a variety of different moves.

“My dad has been my coach since I started wrestling in second grade, so he basically taught me everything I know, including the Donovan run that my Uncle Al invented,” Donovan said. “My Uncle Mark came to Doughboy this summer and gave me advice – mostly freestyle. My dad says I wrestle a lot like him and my Uncle Bobby. We all like to ride legs and all the Donovans are very competitive. I definitely get that from all of them.

After defeating Jackson, she moved on, but was defeated by Lynch in the finals.

“It was a goal I had for a long time (reaching the final) and it was satisfying to accomplish,” Donovan said. “When I lost in the final at the (MOC), I felt weak and like I had disappointed everyone.”

It was only his third loss of the season. The other two came when she took fourth place at the Chelmsford Invitational in early January, including falling to All-State runner-up James Tildsley of Shawsheen Tech by a 5-1 margin.

She now heads into this weekend’s tournament with a few goals in mind.

“I have three goals: to breathe because it’s embarrassing when your father has to yell at you to breathe; struggle hard and don’t give up; and win at least one game.

“If I do my best and achieve all three goals, I will come away proud of myself,” she said.

Elizabeth Donovan got involved in wrestling by attending youth camp with her brother when she was in elementary school. She ended up being named ‘Best Camper’ after wrestling and beating all the boys. Courtesy picture

Robert J. King