Senior Webb cements his legacy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Talk to the right people and they might compare Mount Anthony Union High School senior wrestler Jesse Webb to Superman.
All he seems to need is a cape.
Wearing his glasses while he warms up, he takes them off to compete. Webb squints to get the best look at his opponent -- in the case of the New England final on Saturday night, Connecticut's Amed Hourani. After a dominating decision win that earned Webb his second straight New England title and fourth straight top 6 finish, he shook the opposing coach's hand, hugged MAU coach Scott Legacy and trotted to the scorer's table to grab his eyewear -- morphing back into a humble Clark Kent.
"It feels great honestly," Webb said. "I've been through a lot with these guys and to stand on top of the podium at the end means the world to me."
Webb dominated his way through the New England tournament for the second year in a row -- winning his first match 3-0 over Lawrence, Mass.'s Alex Lopez and pinning his quarterfinal opponent Chris Cole in 1:18 and his semifinal opponent Owen Murray in 3:36 before reigning the heavyweight class against in a 5-3 decision over Hourani.
In the final, Hourani -- four inches taller and seemingly heavier than Webb -- tried to use his throws to keep the Patriot off-balance. But as someone who has been through all the wars, Webb waited to make his move.
"Preparing beforehand, I knew he would try to throw me," Webb said. "He's a big guy, so I didn't know if I'd be able to roll him over like last time, he'd be ready for that. He wanted to throw me so I kept my position, was patient and took the opportunities when they came."
At the end of the second period, a visibly tiring Hourani shoved Webb out of bounds and into the scorer's table next to the mat. Legacy, angry about the move, immediately went to argue with the referee to give Webb a point for an unsportsmanlike conduct. During the argument, Webb looked at assistant coach Brian Coon and Legacy, telling them to stop arguing and continue the match.
"I wasn't mad at all, I didn't want Coach to argue to give [Hourani] a point, I was up by two. I just wanted the match to keep going, he was tired and I'm not tired, I wanted to get into [Hourani's] head a little bit."
With five seconds left and his second New England title all but assured, he started to dance around the mat in celebration, earning a second shove from Hourani into the bench next to the head table. But Webb wasn't bothered in the slightest.
"Some guy on the bench asked me if I was OK, I said, ‘Yeah and I'm a New England champ,' I didn't even care."
Webb, who improved his career and state record to 232-9, becomes only the fifth Mount Anthony wrestler to win at least two New England titles, following Corey Greene, Steve Forrest, Rafael Vega and John Bushee -- some of the most recognizable names in the sport both locally and around the region. Combined with fifth-place finishes during his freshman and sophomore years, he is one of the few four-time place winners at New Englands, matching Vega.
"You look at the names [listed] on the wall [in the wrestling room], they're coaches and old teammates and you want to be up there with them," Webb said. "You want people to look up to you and say, ‘I want to be like Jesse Webb.' It gives people something to work toward and I'm happy to add to that."
Just like that, he was back to being Clark Kent, until Senior Nationals comes in three weeks in Virginia Beach. Then he'll take off the glasses and put on the cape -- in search of another national title.
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