Repeat as M.L. Freedom division champs, take down Watertown in thriller
Published in the February 4, 2016 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High wrestling team successfully defended its Middlesex League Freedom division title. However this time the Warriors don’t have to share the crown.
Wakefield clinched the M.L. Freedom division title outright in a thriller of a meet against second place Watertown last night at the Charbonneau Field House. The meet went back and forth with the Warriors prevailing by a 42-39 score.
The Warriors wrapped up the league schedule with a perfect 4-0-0 record, while the Red Raiders finished with a 2-1-1 record and in second place. Wakefield increased its overall record to 14-5-0 on the season with two more non-league meets remaining. Watertown fell to 13-9-1 overall with the loss.
Last year, Wakefield lost to Melrose in the M.L. Freedom division dual meet finale and was a tri-champion with Melrose and Burlington.
Wakefield secured the title after the 195 weight class as it took 42-30 lead at the time. Freshman Mike Yirrell took a 3-0 lead in the second period and eventually won by pin over junior Parsa Medhati at 3:55 to earn six points.
That meant the Warriors could do no worse than a tie and that gave them the league championship. After that, Wakefield held on while Watertown won the final two weight classes. However at 285, the win was only by decision as the Warriors hung on to win the meet by three points and go undefeated in the league.
“It was a quite a meet,” said Coach Ross Ickes. “It didn’t go the way I thought it was going to go. Aiden Coleman was sick and hadn’t been in school for a couple of days. I’ve known the Watertown coach, Kevin (Russo), for years and he’s a friend of mine. I knew what he was going to do and he knew what I was going to do. It was a matter of how we did out there.
“It was a good crowd and an entertaining meet for the fans,” continued Ickes. “This one is better because we won the league outright. This was one of our mid-season goals. We have a young team and I was hoping to go about .500. But we have some tough young kids. It’s nice to have won the league.”
The meet itself was like a heavyweight boxing match where the combatants trade blows. Both teams were up for the meet and each team either won by pin or lost by pin. Only in the final bout, the result was not by fall.
After the announcement of the wrestlers for both teams and after the lights were turned down in the field house except in the middle where the mats were laid (that is typically not done for most home dual meets), the meet got under way with the 106 weight class.
Aidan Armstrong, a freshman, took on Watertown junior Nick Stanizzi at 106. Armstrong lost by pin at 1:18 of the contest.
Wakefield tied the score at 6-6 after junior captain Jack Spicer prevailed by fall at 113. Spicer took down junior Joe Walter at 1:03.
Watertown won the next two bouts at 120 and 126 to take an 18-6 advantage.
At 120, Jake Allen, a junior, fell behind 7-0 before being pinned at 3:50 by senior Evan Foun. Then at 126, senior Shannon Drager was pined at 1:37 by Red Raider junior Sam Leitner.
Wakefield bounced back with wins by fall at the 132 and 138 weight classes. That tied the score at 18-18.
At 132, sophomore Jake Goodchild took a 2-0 after the first period and led 3-0 after two periods. Goodchild opened up an 8-0 lead before pinning junior Sabir Hussain at 4:54 for the six points.
Ryan Smith, a sophomore, then make quick work of junior Rodrigo Moscoso as he pinned his Watertown foe at 26 seconds of the 138 contest.
The Warriors took their first lead of the meet at the 145 weight class. Matt Murdocca, a junior, took leads of 2-0, 6-2, 8-3, and was leading 8-4 when he pinned Joe Beagan, a junior, at 2:54. Wakefield led 24-18 at that point.
At 152, junior Ben Piercy lost by fall to Farid Mawanda, a senior, at 5:32. Piercy trailed 7-1 after one period and 12-4 after two periods. He got four of those points back in the third period but eventually lost by fall as Watertown tied the meet up at 24-24.
Bailey Ritter, a junior, got the call to wrestle at 160 and he faced Watertown freshman Alec Kebobian. Ritter lost by pin at 51 seconds as the Warriors trailed, 30-24, after nine bouts were complete.
Wakefield then went on to win the next three weight classes, all by pin, and that gave the Warriors the necessary points to capture the league championship.
At 170, junior Joe Marinaccio pinned junior Juan Morales at 58 seconds to tie the meet at 30-30.
Wakefield took a 36-30 lead after the 182 bout as senior captain Evan Gourville won by fall over Stramatios Papastramatiou just 53 seconds into the match.
After Yirrell won by pin at 195, Coleman, a sophomore, lost by fall at 3:15 of the 220 match as the Red Raiders cut the lead to 42-36. Coleman fell behind to Jake Matton 2-0 after one and was down 4-0 when he was pinned after trying to gut it out the best he could after being ill prior to the meet.
Wakefield led by six headed into the 285 weight class. Warrior senior Mike Lima needed to avoid being pinned for Wakefield to win the meet. Lima did that, but he dropped a 4-2 decision to Alec Campbell, a junior.
Now that the league title is wrapped up, the Warriors will look to finish the season strong as they take on Georgetown and Nashoba Regional in a tri-meet tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at Georgetown High School.