MARCHING TOWARD A REPEAT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team looked strong in the New England championships' first day on Friday at the Providence Career and Technical Center. Seven wrestlers remain in the winners bracket and the Patriots lead the field after Day 1.
Mount Anthony has 38 points, with Danbury in second with 23.
"I'd rather [leave here] first than second, but there's still a hell of a lot of wrestling left, 13 points is not a lot," said Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy.
Wrestlers still in the championship hunt are Calvin Call at 106, Troy Gassaway at 120, Dylan LaFountain at 132, Austin Price at 182, Tyler Mattison at 195, Jack Luciano at 220 and Jesse Webb at 285.
Mattison had the most impressive day, pinning Mike Risti from Massabesic, Maine in 58 seconds to move onto the quarterfinal on Saturday against Walters Ndi from Concord, N.H.
Call, the only MAU wrestler to have a first round match, beat Ritchie Elgar by an 8-0 major decision, then moved on and pinned Skowhegan (Maine)'s Cody Craig in 13 seconds.
He'll face Connecticut open champ Tristan Stetson in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Dylan LaFountain was a 13-1 major decision winner over Davin Lourenco at 132, while Gassaway won by fall over Ben Dow from Bedford, N.H. in his bid to get back to the finals.
Four-fifths of "the murderers row" between 170 and 285 reached the quarterfinals. Damon Young lost a tough 3-0 decision to Ledyard's Devon MarcAurele, but the rest are through. Price won a battle at 182, 5-1, against Nonnewaug's John D'Agostino, the No. 2 from Connecticut.
Luciano topped Xavier (Conn.) Chidiebere Broderick, 2-1, in the second round, gaining his points from an escape and a stalling penalty. Webb beat Lawrence's Alex Lopez, 3-0, at heavyweight.
"Austin won the conditioning battle," Legacy said. "Dylan looked really good early on and started rolling up the points. Jesse wrestled OK, he pinned that kid earlier and [Lopez] did a good job of closing it off."
Six wrestlers head into the consolation bracket -- Tyler Raetz at 113, Tabor Watson at 126, Darren Ruiz-Sauer at 145, Noble Shaler at 152, Jacob Woodside at 160 and Young at 170 pounds.
After losing his opening match to Danbury's Jeremy Fields, 3-1, he came back in the second consolation round and scored a major decision over Joseph Ricciutti from Exeter/West Greenwich.
Other close matches were Ruiz-Sauer, a 8-3 decision loss; Woodside losing 5-0, and Young
"Even in the matches we lost, they weren't blowouts, we had some opportunities to win those matches," Legacy said. "I was disappointed with Tyler's match, he got over aggressive, but he still could have won in the end."
Raetz, who is 56-9 now this season, said despite the defeat, he has some specific goals in mind.
"I keep picturing the image of the team winning, so I'm always trying to wrestle as hard as I can," Raetz said. "I made a stupid mistake in the first period, escape in the second, but I missed the merkel. I have tough matches on the way [in the wrestlebacks] but I'm doing it for me and my team."
The wrestlebacks will be key to the Patriots repeating as regional champs.
"Everything is big here, it's all critical to us," Legacy said. "I talked to the guys in wrestlebacks and I said, wrestlebacks suck, but anything you can do to help out getting points is big. We're not looking for third place right now, we're just looking for wins."
Go to www.trackwrestling.com to follow along with the tournament online.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.