Published in the December 15, 2016 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield–North Reading co-op wrestling team opened the 2016-2017 season with two impressive victories last week.
The Black and Gold concluded the 2015-2016 season with a 16–9–1 overall record. The grapplers have a strong core of returning wrestlers and a number of promising newcomers taking the mat this winter.
“We graduated five seniors, Zack Monzione, Michael Reardon, Max Whyman, Kai Jean-Simon and Devin Leggett, whose production will be difficult to replace,” said Black and Gold head coach Craig Stone. “However, we are returning 11 wrestlers with varsity experience and have nine new freshman with a lot of potential. We should have a very positive dual meet season and we have some very talented wrestlers who will do well in the post-season tournament.”
Even though the Black and Gold are a Lynnfield–based co-op team, there are more North Reading grapplers than Lynnfield wrestlers taking the mat this winter. There are 16 North Reading wrestlers and four Lynnfield wrestlers suiting up for the Black and Gold.
The Black and Gold will be led this season by senior captains Joe Reardon (132 lbs.), Adam Rossetti (138 lbs.) and Connor Stead (145 lbs.). All three captains hail from North Reading.
“They each wrestle with great intensity and have tremendous motivation,” said Stone. “Their example has inspired their teammates in the practice room as well as during matches. They are excellent role models and are keys to our team chemistry.”
Stone noted Joe Reardon, Stead, senior Will Glover (126 lbs.) and senior Tim Goucher (220 lbs.) “are returning sectional place finishers.” He said Rossetti “wrestled behind Stead last year and very well could have been a sectional place finisher.”
“Our captains and seniors will lead by example on and off the mat,” said Stone.
Stone said senior Chris Reardon (120 lbs.), senior Aaron Gautreau (152 lbs.), junior Andrew DiPietro (170 lbs.), junior Anthony Wilkinson (182 lbs.), junior Kevin Farrelly (195 lbs.) and sophomore Dylan Reardon (126 lbs.) have experience at the varsity level and will be playing key roles this year.
According to Stone, freshmen Stuart Glover (106 lbs.), Timmy Leggett (120 lbs.) and Sean McCullough (160 lbs.) each “have previous wrestling experience and should see considerable mat time.”
“They all have athletic ability,” said Stone.
Stone said the Black and Gold’s biggest strengths this season are “balance and team chemistry.” He noted the grapplers’ mantra this season is the acronym TEAM (together each achieves more).
“We will not be relying on a core of individuals,” said Stone. “We can cover all 14 weights and there is a team spirit you can visibly see during practice and matches.”
While the Black and Gold has a strong mix of returners and newcomers, Stone said the grapplers need to continue working on “skills, physical conditioning and staying healthy.”
“Many of our weights have only one wrestler in them,” said Stone. “Injuries and illnesses could play a role during the season if we have to forfeit weight classes.”
When asked if the Black and Gold will be in contention for the Cape Ann League title and will be successful in state meets once again, Stone said, “time will tell.”
“Weight classes and individual match-ups can swing a meet one way or the other,” said Stone. “At the state level, we are in our second year of being in Division II, which was a contingency the MIAA regulated if our co-op was to stay together. However, we will have individuals that will do very well at that level.”
Grapplers win two
The Black and Gold opened the 2016–2017 season with victories over Hopkinton and Wilmington Dec. 10.
The grapplers defeated Hopkinton 42–22 during the tri-meet.
Chris Reardon (120 lbs.) defeated his opponent by a 4-0 decision. Joe Reardon (138 lbs.) pinned his counterpart in 46 seconds. Rossetti (145 lbs.) won his match by fall in 1:05. Stead (152 lbs.) pinned his opponent in 20 seconds.
DiPietro (170 lbs.) won his match by an 8-6 decision in overtime. Wilkinson (182 lbs.) defeated his opponent by fall in 1:21. Stuart Glover (106 lbs.), Chris Metrano (113 lbs.) and Justin Charak (285 lbs.) each won their respective matches by forfeit.
“LNR led from start to finish, with captains Joe Reardon, Rossetti and Stead leading the way with pins,” said Stone. “DiPietro had the most exciting match, winning it with a takedown in overtime.”
The Black and Gold pounded Wilmington 46–15.
Stuart Glover won his first varsity match after pinning his counterpart in 2:45. McCullough (160 lbs.) won his first varsity match by fall in 1:18. Will Glover (126 lbs.) pinned his opponent in 1:03.
Rossetti defeated his opponent by a 15-0 technical fall. Stead also won his match by a 15-0 technical fall. Wilkinson had his second pin on the day after he pinned his counterpart in 20 seconds. Metrano, Joe Reardon, Dan Ryan (152 lbs.), Farrelly (195 lbs.) and Charak won their respective matches by forfeit.