The Bishop Hendricken wrestling team jumped out to a 12-0 start to begin its season this winter, and looks poised to be one of the top contenders for this month’s state championship meet.
Although the Hawks have made it look easy on paper, they have had their share of obstacles to overcome, including a new-looking lineup.
“The kids have been performing well, with where we’re at in the season they’ve done a good job. We’ve traveled a lot, we’ve seen a high level of competition. I feel like as a group we have certainly improved. It’s tough to compare different teams from different years, but I think we’re a better team than we were last year, but it will all depend on who else is out there,” said Hendricken coach Kevin Hennessey. “We have eight new faces in our lineup. Some of those kids were in the room with us last year but just didn’t start. We have two freshmen in the lineup, Noah Sclama at 113 and Adolfo Betancur at heavyweight. We’re a young team, we have four seniors but one of them is a first-year wrestler in Anthony Antonelli. We had a void in the lineup so one of our guys dragged him in from the hallway to fill it and he’s done a good job and we appreciate it tremendously.”
The last time the Hawks claimed a state championship was back in 2016. Senior Nathan Williams is the lone grappler that was in the starting lineup for that group, and has set a good example for the guys around him.
“Nathan has always been driven and a hard worker in the room. It’s great that the kids have him to look up to,” said Hennessey.
Hard work and dedication to the sport has been the key to the Hawks’ success according to Hennessey.
“We’re only going to get better. They have background in the sport, but the biggest reason why these kids have had success is because they work hard in the practice room,” said Hennessey, who believes that Hendricken will need to put its best foot forward mentally to compete with the top grapplers in Rhode Island at the state meet. “We’re not very concerned about (the competition), we’re just concerned with being where we need to be. If we’re where we need to be then everything will work out just fine, and if not, it won’t. It’s about where you are in your headset, physically we’re prepared, so the (key) will be not having any distractions and focusing on just wrestling.”