Once again, the score didn’t reflect too many positives for the Pilgrim wrestling team on Thursday night at La Salle, but there was plenty to be happy about nonetheless.
The Pats struggled against the Rams, losing 49-9 to drop to 3-13 in Division I-North on the season. As has been the story most of the way, though, the effort was there, and there was improvement once again across the board.
“I think we wrestled pretty tough,” Pilgrim assistant coach Rich Boudreau said. “We’re pretty banged up. I think the kids wrestled good. Overall, I’m happy.”
It was the final dual meet of the year for Pilgrim, while La Salle improved to 10-5 and still has one match remaining.
The match started out at 106, and La Salle quickly jumped on top 6-0 with a first-period pin by Noah Williams over Adam Landroche. Pilgrim forfeited at 113, but got its best performance of the night at 120.
Junior Jordan DeSisto was dominant right from the start, and he pinned La Salle’s Andrew Salzillo at the 1:20 mark in the first.
“Jordan looked great,” Boudreau said. “He looked very aggressive. He’s been trying to work on his aggression and just finishing matches. We were happy with his pin.”
The Rams got back on track at 126 with Reid Boehm pinning Pilgrim’s Brianna Florio before Pilgrim got its second win at 132. Senior Brian Ledo held a 4-3 lead over La Salle’s Pat Foster into the third period, and then got a late takedown to build a three-point lead. Foster picked up one more point on an escape, but Ledo held on for the 6-4 win.
“He did a great job filling in, and stepping up and getting the win for us,” Boudreau said.
From there on out, La Salle won every match except for 138 pounds and heavyweight, which were both no contest.
Still, though, Pilgrim put up a fight.
At 152, Chad Jackman lost to David Williams 8-4, but was in the match the whole way through.
After Damian Perrotta pinned Pilgrim’s Brendan Sampson at 160, Pats’ freshman Nathan Brice had a strong showing at 170.
Going against senior Brendan Leach, Brice fought off his back in the first round and rallied to get within 9-6, before he ran out of time.
“He’s a very good freshman wrestler,” Boudreau said. “He’s coming along quite well.”
Pilgrim forfeited at 182, but got another impressive showing at 195 from Michael Turchetta.
Turchetta went up against La Salle’s Onassis Valerio and lost 9-5. It was lopsided in the early going, but Turchetta made it interesting late.
“He did great, wrestled a good match,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t get pinned.”
In the final match of the day, La Salle’s John Georges pinned Pilgrim’s Gage Potter at 220 to round out the scoring.
Boudreau, who is filling in for head coach Tom O’Connor, said that despite the lack of results on the scoreboard, he’s seen the improvement in his team throughout the year.
Even with a slew of injuries, including ones to captains Brandon Kavanagh and Shane Kelly, the Pats haven’t quit.
“We lost most of our starters,” Boudreau said. “This is our back-up squad, kind of. They’re improving a lot. They’re getting a lot more matches because the starters are hurt. They’re coming along. They’re a young team. Overall, they’re doing good.”
With the regular season over, Pilgrim will turn its attention to the state meet, where the Pats are hoping to have a few wrestlers finish near the top.
That meet begins on Friday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Providence Career and Technical Academy. It continues at the same place the next day at 11 a.m.