The competition got tougher for the Bishop Hendricken wrestling team last week.
The Hawks kept right on rolling.
After six straight dual meets against teams with losing records, the Hawks took on contenders Coventry and North Kingstown last Wednesday and Thursday and continued to dominate. The Hawks beat Coventry 54-15 and cruised past North Kingstown 54-12 to improve to 10-0 on the season.
“It’s getting us ready,” head coach Kevin Hennessey said after Thursday’s win. “The last four or five dual meets are always our toughest. The boys wrestled well. There’s plenty of stuff we can work on, but they performed well. I was proud of the way they wrestled tonight.”
The Hawks haven’t been challenged much this season, with an average margin of victory of 44 points in league matches. Their closest matches were in December – a 19-point win over Johnston and a 22-point decision over Mt. Hope.
Until last week, Johnston and Mt. Hope were the only teams with a winning record that Hendricken had faced. Since the calendar turned to 2013, Hendricken has gone against two winless teams, two one-win teams, and one 5-5 team.
Coventry and North Kingstown represented a step up in competition, with both teams sporting 6-3 records.
They were still no match for the Hawks. Hendricken won 10 of 13 contested matches against Coventry on Wednesday and did the same thing at North Kingstown on Thursday.
The Hawks opened Thursday’s match in impressive fashion, winning the first nine matches to jump in front 42-0.
Jason Davol started the run with a 10-2 victory over North Kingstown standout Brenton Kreiger at 106. Davol built a 3-0 lead through two periods then piled up the points with takedowns in the third period.
At 113, Nick Celico cruised past Noah Kreiger 10-0. Rob Lanni followed with a third-period pin of Adam Zaroogian at 120 to put the Hawks ahead 14-0. At 126, Matt Jacobsen made quick work of Richard Cramer, pinning him with 20 seconds left in the first period.
“It’s kind of a snowball effect,” Hennessey said.
The next match, at 132, shaped up as one of the best of the night, with Hendricken’s Nick DiMauro going against Connor Hayward. Both figure to be state meet contenders, but it was DiMauro who rose to the occasion. After Hayward notched the first takedown, DiMauro escaped to make it 2-1 after a period. In the second, Hayward started down and escaped with 33 seconds left, but DiMauro responded with a takedown to tie the match 3-3.
In the third, DiMauro started on bottom and reversed Hayward just 20 seconds in. He stayed on top the rest of the way to post a 5-3 victory.
“Great win for him,” Hennessey said. “At 132, there’s a lot of parity, a lot of kids of equal ability just banging heads. Nick’s doing a great job.”
The Hawks continued to roll after the big win. John Arruda pinned Zach Rollins in the third period at 138. At 145, Anthony DiMauro matched up against Sam DeQuattro and found himself in a battle. But DiMauro took a 2-0 lead in the first and made it 4-1 after two. In the third, he built a 7-1 lead before holding off DeQuattro for the 8-3 win.
Jimmy Sauro followed with a 12-2 victory over James Wagner at 152 and Chris Barone needed just 25 seconds to pin Evan Mowry at 160.
Hendricken led 42-0. In eight of the nine victories, the Hawks scored the first points, continuing a season-long trend.
“We want to try to push the pace, we want to be the aggressor,” Hennessey said. “If they’re near the out of bounds line, we want to shoot them out. We want to show the ref that we’re here to wrestle, and that’s what we try to do every match.”
North Kingstown finally got on the board when Ryan Edgar pinned Lewis Stewart at 170. The Skippers made it two in a row when Justin Zeramby beat Hunter Boesch 6-2 at 182. Still, that match was a bright spot for the Hawks. Zeramby was a state runner-up last season, and Boesch battled.
“Boesch wrestled a tough match,” Hennessey said. “Zeramby is one of the top dogs in the state. We went after him. We’ve got stuff to work on.”
North Kingstown won its third straight match at 195, with Tim Murray beating Chris Storti 5-2 to make it 42-12. North forfeited to Dallas Sauer at 220 and bumped their 220-pounder, Connor Horsely up to 285. But Hendricken’s Kyle Brichetto was up for the challenge, pinning Horsely with 20 seconds left in the second period.
“I was very happy today for Kyle Brichetto,” Hennessey said. “They didn’t have a heavyweight. They had a 220. They know our 220 is really tough so they didn’t want to wrestle him. They thought they were going to bump up and maybe get a free win from our heavyweight. That wasn’t the case. I was very happy for Kyle’s win.”
That victory was a fitting end to another impressive night for the Hawks, who are one of only two unbeaten teams in Division I. The other is defending champion Cumberland, who’s 11-0-2. The Hawks and Clippers won’t get together until the season finale on Feb. 14.
Before that, the Hawks will get a few more tough challenges, with matches against Warwick Vets, North Providence, Cranston West and La Salle still on the docket.
“We’re not looking past any team, but our eyes are always set on Cumberland,” Hennessey said.