There’s still a few dual meets to go, but the Warwick Vets wrestling team is starting to round into shape as the regular season winds down.
And the ’Canes are hoping that leads to some big things in the future.
The defending state champions had a strong showing on Monday at the Johnston Duels, where they tied Coventry 36-36, defeated Chariho 66-18 and then easily beat Durfee, Mass. to finish the day at 2-0-1.
Vets improved to 6-1-1 in Division I-North.
The ’Canes would have preferred to come away with victories in all three matches, but it was still an impressive showing.
“Our team is starting to come together a little bit, as a unit, which is really nice,” Vets assistant coach George Schmeider said. “They finally are understanding that it’s not just an individual sport. There’s a team aspect to it. In order for the team to do well, everybody has to do their job.”
For the most part, that happened on Monday.
Vets started out against Coventry, and immediately got a pin from John Altieri over Tyler Pierce at 106, a 16-0 tech-fall win for Davin Lourenco over Steve Peck at 113 and a 19-3 tech-fall victory for Nate Colicci over Matt Kelly at 120.
That put the ’Canes up 16-0, but Coventry came right back.
Christian Bottella pinned Andres Sarza at 126, Jake Cary pinned Diego Martinez at 132, Dylan Dupre picked up a pin of Kameron Boyajian at 138 and Blake Pierce pinned Aaron Gordon at 145.
At 152, Greg Fusco beat Anthony Lonczak 5-2, giving Coventry a 27-16 edge.
George Schmeider finally got Vets back on the winning side with a 16-0, tech-fall win over Skyler Torborg, bringing the ’Canes back to 27-21.
It was the third tech-fall win of the match for Vets.
“We had three techs,” coach George Schmeider said. “If any of those techs turn into a pin, we win.”
Devin Hurst tied the score at 27 in the next match with a pin of Zack Wilson at 170, but then there was some confusion.
Each team ended up forfeiting one of the next two weight classes after a weigh-in misunderstanding. Coventry got the points at 182, and Vets got them at 190.
“It was just a big mess,” Schmeider said.
Aaron Hurst gave Vets the lead back at 220 with a 6-5 win over Aaron Pennacchia, but Joe Nardolillo beat Casey Beauregard 1-0 in the heavyweight class to end the match in a tie.
The ’Canes were disappointed they didn’t come away with an outright victory, but they didn’t let that stop them from finishing the day strong.
In their next match, against Chariho, Vets won 11 of the 14 matches – all by pin – to cruise to the win.
Vets followed that up with another easy win over Durfee to finish off the day.
As a whole, there were plenty of bright spots.
Against Durfee, Altieri had a rematch with Eric Benevides. Benevides defeated Altieri last year in New Englands to claim fifth place.
Again, Benevides picked up the win, but it was an exciting match nonetheless, and one between two top contenders.
“It was good to see a rematch in fifth and sixth in New England again,” Schmeider said. “The kid ended up beating Altieri again. It was close again – it was 8-6.”
Schmeider also pointed out the Hurst brothers – Aaron and Devin – for having strong days.
Devin Hurst pinned all three of his opponents on Monday, while Aaron Hurst went undefeated in his three matches as well.
Lourenco was another standout, going undefeated for the day.
It all adds up to Vets feeling good about the way it’s wrestling with just over a month until the state tournament.
“I think everyone clearly understands what their goals are, and what their team’s goal is,” Schmeider said. “Especially in tournaments. Winning one or two matches could be the difference between first in states or third, or even fifth. We have a few guys who we expect to win, and we have the other guys who have to contribute.”
Next on the docket is the Hurricane Invitational, which Vets will host this Saturday. Twenty-two teams will compete, making it another very worthwhile tune-up.
“It’s some of the best in the state and few from out of state,” Schmeider said. “It should be interesting.”
That tournament begins at 9:30 a.m.