KP’s Cloutier: An Intense Wrestler Who’s on a Mission
Colby Cloutier likes the valuable life lessons that can be learned from wrestling.
By Ken Hamwey
Staff Sports Writer
Colby Cloutier had a dynamic run as a sophomore last year in the post-season wrestling tournaments but he’s acutely aware there’ll be no guarantees this month when the Division 2 Central Sectional playoffs get underway on Feb. 11.
Competing for King Philip Regional last year in the 152-pound weight class, Cloutier rolled to three straight triumphs in the sectional, finished first and advanced to the state tourney where he posted a 3-2 record. Those numbers gave him a fifth-place finish and enabled him to advance to the all-state meet, but two straight losses ended his impressive run.
Now, the 5-foot-9, 163-pounder will be battling in a different weight class (160), knowing the task ahead will not only be challenging, but most likely more difficult. At Local Town Pages deadline (Jan. 15), Cloutier had a 19-1 dual-meet record.
“It definitely will be challenging,’’ Cloutier said, “because I have a reputation of being successful. But, on the plus side, I’ll be more relaxed. I know what to expect after last year’s meets and I’ll be highly motivated after going 0-2 at all-states.’’
The 17-year-old Cloutier relies on a style that blends being aggressive with being patient. “I like starting aggressively but I’m also patient, always waiting for an opportunity to defeat my opponent,’’ he said.
A native of Wrentham, Cloutier’s sophomore season ended with a 26-8 overall record. The attributes he banked on to compile 26 victories included a relentless work ethic, a high wrestling IQ, sharp technique, strength, mental toughness and athleticism. “Mental toughness is important because it helps me to maintain my weight and it enables me to stay calm and composed,’’ he offered.
Now, as a junior, Cloutier is a captain and he’s very cognizant about the responsibilities of that leadership role. “Leading by example is a big key and I strive to be communicative and supportive,’’ he noted. “I’m honored to have been chosen a captain.’’
Last year’s tourney results left little doubt that Cloutier leads by example.
“Colby approaches every aspect of his life the same way he approaches wrestling — complete and total devotion to the task at hand,’’ said John Adams, KP’s wrestling coach. “As an athlete he’s a technician and he’s always evolving; he has unlimited potential. As a leader, he is second to none. I’m proud of him. He’s an exceptional young man.’’
Cloutier’s team goals at the start of the season were to compile a plus-.500 record, aim to be competitive in the Hockomock League’s Kelley-Rex Division, and to qualify at least half of KP’s lineup for the state tourney. At Local Town Pages deadline, the Warriors had a 5-4 dual-meet record and they were first at the Midland Duals at Quabbin Regional High School.
“We’re young — a sophomore-junior team — but we’ve got talent, some experience and depth,’’ Cloutier said. “A good amount of our wrestlers were part of last year’s team that went 16-5.’’
Cloutier says his team goals are also his individual goals but he’s got two other objectives that are personal. “I want to be the best captain I can be and I want to be a state champion.’’
Appreciative of his coach, Cloutier also lauds two teammates for their contributions to the team — junior Jared Shapiro and freshman Griffin McCready.
“Jared has passion for wrestling, he’s motivated, relies on good technique and he’s a quality teammate,’’ Cloutier said. “Griffin has a strong work ethic, is technically sound and has experience from the youth league. As for coach Adams, he’s an excellent motivator who strives to help us reach our potential and he stresses technique.’’
A good student, Cloutier hasn’t decided on a college or his major but he definitely wants to continue wrestling collegiately. Calling his parents (Eileen and Bob) role models for their support and encouragement, Cloutier’s success stems from a competitive philosophy that focuses on reaching his potential and having fun.
“If those two things are in the mix, then winning will follow,’’ he said. “My father coached me in the youth league and he deserves credit for any success I’ve had. He taught me to be strategic, motivated and technically sound.’’
Cloutier, who started wrestling as a four-year-old, has competed at the club level for 11 years. Last year, he competed in club tourneys in Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
“I’m passionate about wrestling,’’ he said. “It’s both a team sport and an individual sport. Going one-on-one in individual bouts and winning provides points for the team. I also like the sport because it teaches valuable life lessons, like developing a strong work ethic, how to be a good leader and how to overcome adversity and challenges.’’
Earlier this season, Cloutier finished first at 160 pounds in the Milford Tournament and the Dan Balboni Holiday Classic. He labels a “leg rider’’ as his favorite move.
“It involves wrapping my legs around an opponent’s body and aiming for back points or a pin,’’ he said. When he’s asked about his best match, there’s no hesitation. His final bout in the sectional last year is the choice.
“I beat Erin Cashton of Sharon,’’ Cloutier said. “The victory gave me the sectional title, it qualified me for the state playoffs and it was satisfying because he beat me during the regular season.’’
As the post-season tourneys approach, Cloutier is hopeful another lengthy run is in the cards. His prime objective is to advance to the state playoffs and be crowned a champion at that level.
“I went 3-2 in the states last year but the matches I lost were close,’’ he recalled. “I could have done better. And, even though I advanced to all-states, I lost twice. The experience I gained at both of those tourneys was great but I remain highly motivated.’’
Colby Cloutier is a study in desire, determination and dedication. A state crown will satisfy one of his objectives but he knows the sectionals come first.
That’s where his journey begins.