The Pilgrim wrestling team hasn’t felt the way it did on Thursday very often this year, and the Pats are thankful for that. But Thursday was tough.
Wrestling against Cranston East, the Pats led by one point with three matches to go and lost them all by pin, falling 48-31. Pilgrim won three matches by pin, but lost two others when leading. The Pats were also pinned six times, and head coach Tom O’Connor wasn’t overly pleased with the performance.
“Cranston East was in good shape, they worked hard,” O’Connor said. “They’re in a similar spot as us – they’re real young. But their coach is good and he worked them hard. They out-worked us and deserved it.”
The ’Bolts had lost to Lincoln and East Greenwich earlier in the year – two teams that Pilgrim has beaten – but East still managed to get the upper hand.
Pilgrim was without Brendan Sampson, the team’s usual 160-pound wrestler, which forced O’Connor to shuffle the lineup. There were some weight issues as well, putting Pilgrim in a tough spot before it even took the mat.
East has also improved as the season has worn on, as the win over Pilgrim was its second in a row. The ’Bolts are 4-6 in Division II-North, while Pilgrim is 3-5 in D-II-South. The Pats have lost three matches in a row.
“To get a win like this against a team like Pilgrim, we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” East head coach Glenn Castiglia said.
The Pats forfeited two of the first four matches, got six points thanks to an East forfeit at 106 and got four more points when Adam Landroche recorded a major victory at 113 over Jared Sajche-Meza.
At 132, Jacob Zuller won a tough match 6-4 to give Pilgrim a 13-2 lead, but East came right back with pins by Gianni Andreoli and Ruizdael Lopez-Castillo at 138 and 145. Garrison Potter got the Pats back on the right track with a pin of Aaron Lacroix at 152, but the match turned at 160.
Pilgrim’s John Pierce held a 4-0 lead after the second period over East’s Steven Ferrazzano, but Pierce got caught on his back early in round three and was pinned 35 seconds in.
“Steven Ferrazzano was losing the whole match and actually came back and won,” Castiglia said. “That was big. We try to preach to these guys that if you have your opponent at a disadvantage, you have to take advantage of it. If you get a guy on his back, you’ve got to finish him. You can’t give a guy like that a second chance, and Steven did a great job.”
Those six points gave East an 11-point cushion at 30-19. Pilgrim got strong showings in its next two matches, as Oluiwaseun Akinnusotu and Griffin Potter each registered pins to give the Pats the lead again, but the ’Bolts had some of their top wrestlers still to come.
At 195, East’s Brendan Lanigan was able to pin Steven Kavanagh with 32 seconds left in the match, putting East up 36-31. Next up was 220, and Mike Pereira put up a fight before getting pinned by East standout Greg Scott.
That pin clinched the match.
“They out-worked us from start to the finish, in every weight class,” O’Connor said. “Even the matches we won, their kids fought off their back. They didn’t give up. They didn’t quit. They can go six minutes.”
East’s Ryan Irizarry rounded out the scoring with a pin of Mike Turchetta at heavyweight.
“I think overall, looking back even to a month ago, a lot of guys are doing what I want,” Castiglia said. “They’re learning. They’re coming along. They’re wrestling better.”
The Pats are suddenly reeling a little, but have plenty of opportunities to get back on the right track before the season ends. They were scheduled to wrestle PCD/Juanita Sanchez and Smithfield in a tri-meet on Monday, but that match was postponed due to weather.
Today, the Pats will wrestle Moses Brown and Narragansett at home at 5 p.m. Moses Brown is winless, while Narragansett is 6-1.
On Thursday, Pilgrim will be right back at it, hosting West Warwick at 7 p.m.