Published in the December 23, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Anthony Lisitano Memorial Wrestling Tournament is always a special day for the host Wakefield High wrestling team.

But Saturday’s 20th annual Lisitano Tourney was extra special for the Warriors as Wakefield took first place out of 16 teams to raise the trophy on their home mats for the first time in recent memory.

The tournament was kicked off by the Lisitano family as Anthony’s brother Al made a speech to the competitors and fans at the field house. 

Anthony Lisitano (’88) was a two-year wrestling captain at Wakefield High and a leader in the community. 

“It was a great day overall,” said Wakefield head coach Ross Ickes. “It’s good to keep Anthony’s memory alive and to keep this tournament going for 20 years now – I’m really proud of that.”

The Warriors had one champion, junior Joao Valdevino in the 160 weight class, but Wakefield left no doubts that they were the tournament’s deepest team this year, racking up 186 points which was 30 more than second place Marblehead/Swampscott. 

Wakefield had two 2nd place finishers (Dan Lamonica and Matt Cunningham), three 3rd place finishers (Jameson O’Callahan, Jimmy Grover and Luke Fitzgerald), four 4th place finishers (Brock Johnson, Anselm Schools, Luke Ickes and Nathan Ickes) and three 5th place finishers in Tommy Grover, John Summers and Sam Valenti. 

The Warrior A team took first but coach Ickes was just as proud of the B team who finished better than five teams for 11th overall. In addition to Schools, Summers and Valenti, Dan Piracini, Dylan Johnson and Joe Alden all placed. They’re considered Wakefield’s backups – for now, as players can always earn roles in the starting rotation throughout the season, but the Warriors proved they have talent in depth that every great team needs. 

Also exciting news for Wakefield was that nearly every wrestler won a match. Top on that list to get a shoutout from the coaching staff was Brian Fabbri (106 lbs.) and Dario Russo (152 lbs.) who both earned their first varsity wins on Saturday. 

Valdevino’s championship run included four straight pins, first against Reading’s Robert Tarasuk in 3:12, then against Arlington’s Calvin Olsen in 1:29 in the quarterfinals. The junior saved his best for the last two rounds, making quick work of Lincoln-Sudbury’s Thomas Kelly (0:31) and then Athol’s Caleb Cox (0:46) in the championship.

Lamonica’s 2nd-place ran included a pin in 1:10 over Pentucket’s Dan Doherty in the quarterfinals, then a victory in just 42 seconds over Mablehead/Swampscott’s Ned Fitzgerald in the semifinals. 

Cunningham picked up 2nd at 152. After pinning Kieran Parikh of Lexington and Dom DeMaio of Methuen to get to the semifinals, Cunningham rocked the house with a huge 9-6 decision over a strong wrestler in Pentucket’s Chris Legacy. 

It was a busy day for Jimmy Grover who won two matches, lost in the semifinals then bounced back with two straight on a 4-1 decision over Pentucket’s Tucker Jackson then a pin in 1:27 to beat Arlington’s Dennis Cha and secure 3rd.

It was a similar 4-1 day for Luke Fitzgerald who responded to a 6-3 decision loss in the semifinals by pinning Reading’s Patrick Keenan then defeating Jorge Maldonado (12-5 decision) of Marblehead/Swampscott for 3rd.

Jameson O’Callahan’s semifinal loss response included a pin over Logan Parker of LS and a 9-3 decision over Watertown’s Sebastian Correa for 3rd.

Anselm Schools had a hard-earned 3-2 day. Schools was edged by a 7-4 decision in the quarterfinals but won three straight over Reading’s Ryan Boudreau (pin, 3:42), a thrilling sudden victory in overtime against Warrior teammate Luke Hopkins then a pin in 1:35 over Matthew Bolduc of Greater Lawrence. 

Luke Ickes started his day with a high-energy sudden victory of Athol’s John Hicks. After beating Shepherd Hills’ Nate Philon by major decision, Ickes fell in the semifinals creating a rematch with Hicks. Ickes took care of business again, this time with via pin in 1:48.

Nathan Ickes won his first two over Athol’s Natanael Torres and and Malden Catholic’s Gabriel Mejia (pin, 0:15). Ickes battled Pentucket’s David Gil in the semi’s and with a 4-4 tie was finally pinned in 5:37. Ickes responded with a pin of Methuen’s Nick Notenboom for 4th place. 

Following second-place Marblehead/Swampscott (156) was Arlington (140), Methuen (132), Watertown (128), Pentucket (120), Lynnfield/North Reading (104), Greater Lawrence (101), Reading (100), Lincoln-Sudbury (92.5), Wakefield B (85), Georgetown/Ipswich (77.5), Malden Catholic (48), Shepherd Hill (48), Lexington (41.5) and Athol (34). 

The Warriors will now get some time off before hosting a meet on Jan. 3.