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Dynasty Board a Tribute to FHS Wrestling Program

Franklin coach Carmine Colace, right, and his assistant, Mark Healy, have played key roles in building the Panthers’ wrestling tradition that’s displayed on the dynasty board.

Staff Sports Writer
Franklin High’s wrestling program, considered one of the best in the area, received some well-deserved recognition last month when a dynasty board was installed in the hallway outside the boys locker-room near the gymnasium door.
The board, which is labeled “Franklin Wrestling Team Honor Roll,’’ lists every sectional, state, all-state and New England champion in the program’s history. And it also includes the team championships at the sectional and state levels. 
It’s called “the dynasty board’’ by the coaches and players and the phrase is  appropriate. Very appropriate. Considered the numbers: sectional team titles (17) and state team crowns (11). Impressive numbers indeed but the individual accolades are also dynamic. Here’s the numbers: sectional champs (104); state champions (33), All-state titlists (10); and New England champs (8).
The board, which measures 4 feet high and 8 feet wide, was suggested by Carmine Colace, who’s now in his 40th year as the school’s varsity wrestling coach. The 60-year-old Franklin native graduated in 1980 and two years later, in 1982, became the Panthers’ wrestling coach at the age of 19.
“The board emphasizes Franklin High’s rich tradition in wrestling and it shows the dynasty we’ve built,’’ Colace said. “Track and swimming have boards that display their teams’ records and championships and I said, ‘Why not wrestling?’ It gives our program exposure, and it’s also a motivational factor.’’
The board was installed on April 13th, and when it was completed, current wrestlers took time to study it. On hand for the event was Nick Colace, Carmine’s son who was a state champion in 2007 and an all-state champ in 2008. A 2009 FHS graduate, Nick also competed on two state runners-up, one state title squad in 2009, and he was an all-American at the national level.
“The board accents the program’s tradition,’’ Nick said. “There’s a lot of honor and pride that goes with competing for a Franklin wrestling team. To see all the names emphasizes all the hard work that it takes to win. It’s really great for the program and for those individuals to see their names displayed.’’
Carmine thanked Athletic Director Tom Angelo for his role in making the board a reality.
“I appreciate Tom’s willingness to promote our program,’’ Colace said. “We held our team banquet the night before the board was installed, and the boys and their parents got to see what the history of wrestling looks like on a poster. Everyone was impressed, and we challenged our returnees to get their names on the board.’’
Angelo, who’s wrapping up his sixth and final year as the Panthers’ A.D., is delighted he could play a role in promoting a program with so much rich tradition.
“I feel it is only fitting that our Franklin community can now recognize our student-athletes who have attained milestones or won titles in wrestling,’’ Angelo said. Furthermore, knowing that each one of these wrestlers was coached by the same head coach is simply a testament to the greatness of coach Colace. The man is a legend! I’m thrilled that we now display record boards in our athletic hallway that highlight the outstanding achievements of our swimmers, track athletes, and wrestlers. 
Colace, who’s been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, listed his top coaching thrills during his four decades at the helm. Two involve his sons and third is a team achievement. 
“Nick won an all-state title in 2008 and he not only wasn’t seeded, but he also competed in one of the most challenging weight classes (171),’’ Colace said. “My oldest son (C.J.) won a national title in the 160-pound class in Virginia as a junior, and as a senior he won a New England title and went 50-0 that season. A third thrilling moment was the 11 state titles that we won. I’m a team-first guy, and those crowns provide great memories.’’
Colace has always stressed that wrestling, an individual and a team sport, teaches valuable life lessons. Five that he hopes his competitors learn are mental toughness, discipline, resiliency, strategic thinking and character-building.
“We put kids at a breaking point on physical conditioning,’’ he emphasized. “Then they have to learn how to be mentally tough. Discipline isn’t about the individual, it’s about the team. If a boy fails to make weight, then he’s let his teammates down. 
“Resiliency is learned from mistakes. It’s about maintaining composure and bouncing back to win. Strategic thinking means how to adjust and be flexible, and character-building is going one-on-one with your opponent. There’s no place to hide on the mat.’’
Mark Healy, who’s been an assistant for Colace for the last 13 years, wrapped up the installation ceremony with some poignant words.
“It’s nice to see the most storied program in the school’s history get this recognition,’’ he offered. “It shows all the accolades of the kids and the coaches. And, it also emphasizes all the hard work and dedication our competitors put into the program.’’