Chariho’s wrestling team is a little down this season, and Bishop Hendricken certainly didn’t want to let the Chargers up during Thursday’s dual meet.
The Hawks scored the first takedown in 13 of 14 matches and won those same 13 matches on their way to a 69-6 victory over the Chargers.
“We try to be more aggressive and push the pace,” said Hendricken head coach Kevin Hennessey. “I think what happens is, when you get guys winning, you get that snowball effect. The guys following them want to step it up. They don’t want to be that guy who didn’t perform well.”
That yielded the most dominant performance yet for the unbeaten Hawks, who moved to 4-0 in league action. Hendricken had beaten Johnston 41-22, Mt. Hope 46-24 and East Providence 54-9 before Thursday’s match.
“Overall, the kids performed as they should and I have no complaints,” Hennessey said. “I think Chariho might be down a little bit this year. I’m happy with the way we wrestled tonight.”
The Hawks won 10 matches by pin, including the first five. And they wasted no time getting those.
Jason Davol needed just 39 seconds to pin Josh Merritt at 106, staking Hendricken to a 6-0 lead. Nick Celico followed suit, pinning Hunter Paine in 1:39 to put the Hawks ahead 12-0. Adam Berg kept the train rolling at 120, notching another first period pin, this one in 47 seconds.
At 126, Chariho’s Josh Monteiro gave Rob Lanni a battle, but Lanni opened up a 9-1 lead with a reversal and near-fall points in the second period. Then, just 18 seconds into the third period, Lanni recorded a pin.
The next match shaped up as the best of the night, with Hendricken senior Nick DiMauro going against Chariho senior Stephen Thomas. Both were third-place finishers at the state tournament last year, DiMauro at 120 and Thomas at 132. This year, Thomas has been tabbed by some as the top-ranked wrestler at 132.
Like all the other Hawks, DiMauro came out aggressive and notched the first takedown at the 1:04 mark of the first period. Thomas took injury time later in the period with a leg problem but he regrouped for the second period and looked like he might take control of the match. Starting on top in the second, Thomas was close to taking DiMauro to his back.
Instead, DiMauro scored a stunning reversal and then pinned Thomas at the one-minute mark.
“That’s one of our secret moves,” DiMauro said. “We’re one of the few teams that knows it. When he got that arm back there, my coach was yelling and I knew I had him.”
DiMauro made the move count and then celebrated the biggest win of the night.
“That was a big, big match and that was exciting,” Hennessey said.
At 138, Chariho’s Blake James stopped the pin parade, but Hendricken’s John Arruda was still in control as he posted a 4-1 victory, making it 33-0. Anthony DiMauro then built a big lead on Skyler Van Horn at 145 and pinned him with 45 seconds left to put the Hawks ahead 39-0.
Another big match was on the docket at 152, where Hendricken freshman Jimmy Sauro went up against Chariho senior William Flynn. Sauro notched the first takedown in the first period before Flynn escaped to make it 2-1. In the second, Sauro started down but reversed Flynn to go up 4-1. Sauro then kept Flynn down for the entirety of the third period on his way to the 4-1 win.
“He wrestled tough,” Hennessey said.
Chris Barone followed that with a second-period pin of Jacob Breault at 160. Brandon Gomez then pinned James Joslin at 170, Hunter Boesch pinned Jesse Kenyon at 182, and Javier Avila pinned Zach Sposato at 195, putting the Hawks ahead 66-0.
Dallas Sauer then took the mat at 220 and faced a tough challenge from Chariho’s Sal DeSantis. After a scoreless first period, Sauer started down in the second and picked up a reversal to go up 2-0. That was the final score, as Sauer kept DeSantis down throughout the third period.
In the final match of the night, Chariho got on the board when Kyle Brichetto pinned James Costigan.
All in all, it was an impressive performance for the Hawks.
“Even though some of our guys won, they didn’t perform perfectly, but overall, they did well tonight,” Hennessey said. “At this point, we’re where we need to be.”
The Hawks are one of three unbeaten teams in Division I-North, along with Coventry and Cumberland. They’ve been labeled as one of the favorites since the beginning of the season and have done nothing to change that notion.
But they know they’re not there yet.
“States is our goal,” DiMauro said. “I think it’s realistic for us. I think we have the best team so far. We definitely have to keep working and keep practicing hard.”
Hendricken will return to action Wednesday when it travels to Westerly for a tri-meet against the Bulldogs and South Kingstown, both of whom are tough squads.
“That’s always a good test for some of our kids because they’re well-coached,” Hennessey said. “We’re looking forward to it.”