Published December 19, 2018
By RYAN MARSH
WAKEFIELD — This past Saturday, Wakefield Warrior Wrestling hosted the annual Anthony Lisitano Tournament at the Charbonneau Field House. The tournament is held in honor of the late Anthony Lisitano, WHS class of 1988, and the wrestling captain in 1986-87 and 1987-88.
Like every year, it was a packed house full of excited wrestling fans and some of the top wrestlers in the state. All the eager wrestlers quieted down to listen to Wakefield head coach Ross Ickes and Al Lisitano, Anthony’s brother, speak about Anthony and what he means to the community.
“Anthony was a great mentor to me. He gave me my love for the sport. Great wrestler, great captain, just a great overall person,” coach Ickes said. “Anthony helped build up the Wakefield wrestling community and led a new future for the sport.”
On Saturday, 17 teams competed for first place at the tournament: Arlington, Athol, Georgetown-Ipswich, Greater Lawrence Tech, Lexington, Lincoln-Sudbury, Lynnfield-North Reading, Malden, Malden Catholic, Marblehead-Swampscott, Methuen, Pentucket, Reading, Sheppard Hill, Wakefield A, Wakefield B (Warrior’s JV team) and Watertown.
Wakefield finished second overall with two first-place finishes and three second-place finishes. Wakefield fell short 43.5 points of first place. Wakefield B finished in 16th place, with four finishers in the top eight of their weight classes.
“The team was really competitive. It brought a lot of varsity experience to the kids,” coach Ickes said.
For the varsity team, Wakefield had 12 finishers in the top eight of their weight classes, with eight of those 12 in the top five.
“They were ready for this and I knew they would be in the mix. I am happy with the second place,” Coach Ickes stated.
In the 113 lbs bracket, Luke Fitzgerald made it all the way to the semifinals and finished with a nice fourth-place finish. At the 120 lbs bracket, Jameison O’Callahan battled all the way to the finals, but got edged out and finished with a silver medal. In the 126 lbs bracket, Nick Roberto made it to the semifinals and suffered a back injury. Roberto finished in 6th place.
“Nick was just a little banged up. We pulled him for cautionary reasons,” Coach Ickes explained.
Anselm Schools placed third at 120 lbs and Jao Valdevino got second at 138. Nathan Ickes took fifth at 220 lbs.
For the 145 lbs weight bracket, Matt Cunningham survived the first round but lost in the next round. The sophomore battled his way back and got sixth place in the bracket. In the 285 lbs bracket, Sam Valenti lost an early first round matchup, but fought hard for a 5th place finish in the consolation rounds.
The captains of the Wakefield varsity team had an amazing tournament, really showing up for the Warriors. Aidan Armstrong (132 lbs) lost an early quarterfinal matchup, but charged up and won three straight matchups to claim fifth place for Wakefield. Derek DiMascio (220 lbs) really had a dazzling tournament. DiMascio won his first three matchups by pin, pinning Vincent Sullivan (Reading) in 1:23, Mike Persidis (Arlington) in 0:32, and Greg Camier (Lynnfield-North Reading) in 0:52. DiMascio beat his opponent in the finals by a 9-5 decision in a riveting match.
Brock Johnson (138lbs) was absolutely stunning throughout the tournament. Johnson fought hard all the way up until his second place finish in a 12-4 decision. Mike Yirrell (170lbs) was dominant as well, pinning every one of his opponents on his way to a first-place finish. Yirrell pinned every one of his competitors in under 1:40, except for his last opponent, who gave a fight but was bested as Yirrell beat his opponent in the final with a 2:55 pin.
“I think that our captains were amazing. Brock (Johnson) was good. The champs did great, obviously. And Aidan (Armstrong) had guts especially after getting knocked out of it but battling back. Really pleased,” Coach Ickes stated.
With great captains and promising underclassman, there is a lot to look forward to in the program. The Wakefield Warrior Wrestling team looks to do the same and a little more when they host a quad meet on Saturday, December 22 at 9 a.m.