The Pilgrim Patriots’ wrestling team dominated the mats at home last Wednesday evening and cruised to a 61-12 victory over the Toll Gate Titans.
Despite the drubbing, Pats’ head coach Tom O’Connor commended the Titans on their effort throughout the affair.
“Toll Gate’s a good team,” O’Connor said. “They’re coming off a lot of dual meets, traveling and big tournaments. They looked a little tired today, but that’s just because they’re competing so hard. They’re well-coached.”
Then, the coach gave credit to his own kids.
“We just kept banging,” O’Connor said. “We just kept going at it and we didn’t give up. So, I’m real proud of our kids – the heart they have.”
“We competed the whole time,” O’Connor added. “And that’s what you’re looking for in a young team. We’ve got three seniors and we’re getting it. The younger kids are working hard in the back room. We’re looking for the growth from week to week and day to day and, so far, they’ve delivered. They enjoy being here. We’re 40 strong in the practice room and can’t complain about that.”
The opening match came at 106 pounds, where Pilgrim‘s Jesse Lourenco took down and pinned Toll Gate sophomore Kevin Lewis 1:57 into period one and put the Pats up, 6-0.
“I’m happy,” O’Connor said after Lourenco’s win. “Jesse’s real young. He’s a freshman. He’s been through a lot and he’s battled through it just like he went out there and battled today.”
Pilgrim’s Shawn Holland won the 113 bout by forfeit and increased the Pats’ lead to 12-0.
Pats’ junior Renzel Greene scored a takedown on freshman Dylan Barker during period one of the 120 bout. Then, Barker made a nifty reversal and took over the top position. In round two, Greene earned an escape and attained a takedown before covering Barker at 2:42.
Toll Gate scored its first points of the match when it won the 126 match. Senior William Brogno took down Jacob Aqruno and covered him 1:04 in, pulling the Titans within 18-6.
Two seniors faced off when Pilgrim’s Eric Watts beat Datyn Deasley in the 132 bout. Watts brought down Deasley twice in round three – the second time with 15 seconds remaining and stayed on top until the final bell. Watts went on to win by a 9-4 decision, which gave Pilgrim three more points and pushed its lead to 21-6.
In the 138, Pilgrim’s Jamon Van Heyningen took down William Niles in period one and finished the round on top. Van Heyningen continued where he left off in period two, staying on top of Niles until he pinned him towards the end of the round and extended Pilgrim’s edge to 27-6.
It was a battle of juniors in the 145, with Pilgrim’s Andrew Soares earning four points in a major-decision victory against David Taylor.
Toll Gate senior Matt Martinez earned a takedown on senior James Choiniere 55 seconds into the first round of the 152 bout. In period two, each wrestler had a reversal before Choiniere pinned Martinez at 3:35 and put the Pats up, 37-6.
At 160, Toll Gate junior Connor Tainsh took the top position on Philip Page during period one. The next round, Tainsh earned another takedown before Page executed a reversal and covered Tainsh at 2:40, giving the Pats a 43-6 edge.
Pilgrim freshman Hunter Nemirow pinned sophomore Jorden Heng with 15 seconds remaining in the third round at 170.
O’Conner was impressed with junior Joshua Sepulveda, who the team calls “Scooby.” Sepulveda faced off against Ryan Barker at 195.
In period one, Sepulveda took down Barker. In period two, Barker earned an escape, a takedown and a near fall. Then, Sepulveda closed the third round in the top position and the wrestlers went into overtime. There, Barker got a takedown and a fall at 6:17 and pulled Toll Gate within 49-12.
“He wrestled really well,” O’Conner said of Sepulveda. “He’s a two-year wrestler. He went out there and wrestled and went into overtime with a kid whose been wrestling a little bit longer, a little better skill set, and he kept pushing and pushing. He got caught in overtime, but up until then, he battled. He’s worked on the moves we’ve shown this week. He’s working on the things that will make him better in the long run. He stayed with it himself. So, I was very happy with his match.”
Pilgrim’s Marcus Eckert won the 220 bout by forfeit and increased the Pats’ lead to 55-12.
Pilgrim senior Zachery Fagundes earned a takedown on Alex Christina in period one of the final bout at 285. Fagundes continued to control the match in period two and got a pin 4:37 in and gave Pilgrim the 61-12 win.
While it was a tough outing for the Titans, head coach Jerry Sabatelli hopes that his team gained some knowledge in the sport.
“We’re young,” Sabatelli said. “We don’t have any depth. We’re kind of in a rebuilding mode. This is already our ninth dual meet of December. I get at it a lot in December. We were upstate last week. We went to four dual meets. Our guys are tired right now, but we need the experience.”