Falcons work past Pilgrim


The Cranston West Falcons defeated the Pilgrim Patriots 45-30 on Friday night at home during a Division I wrestling meet.

The Falcons were paced by four pins. Those finishes came from freshmen Anthony DeCotis and Landon Giampietro, sophomore Chris Gomez, and junior Matt DiSpirito.

With the victory, the Falcons improve to 5-3 on the season.

“The guys did real well today,” West head coach Tom Lynch said. “There was a lot of listening, but they showed a lot of patience. And, that’s what we work on mostly, is being patient, working your setups, making those moves happen, and making ‘em open up and making these guys walk right into it.”

The Falcons took an early 6-0 edge when West freshman Vinny Lage won the 106 match by forfeit.

Then, West increased its edge to 12-0 when DeCotis recorded a takedown and then, a near fall before pinning Aaron Gluchacki with 13 seconds remaining in the first round of the 113 fight.

“Anthony DeCotis is really good,” Lynch explained. “He’s a freshman. So, we’re expecting big things out of him. It was a great pin. It was a great night for him.”

Pilgrim got its first points at 120 when Pats sophomore Lex Watts won by forfeit, cutting the deficit in half at 12-6.

Regardless, the Falcons would take an 18-6 advantage when Gomez pinned Pilgrim senior Renzel Greene during the 126 bout.

Next, West added to its buffer when sophomore Tyler Stephenson used two takedowns, two near falls, and an escape to defeat Pilgrim freshman Brady Burke by decision in the 132 match and that put the Falcons on top 21-6.

At 138, Pilgrim got its first pin of the evening when senior Jamon Van Heyningen covered Cody Polion, a senior, with 17 seconds remaining in the first round and pulled the Pats within 21-12.

“He’s worked hard in the room and he’s done some off-season and its shows,” Pilgrim head coach Tom O’Conner said. “Because he‘s out here and he’s having a successful year.”

Falcons senior captain Nelson Cooper overcame some adversity at 145 when he battled through a knee injury and earned two takedowns, two near falls, and a reversal on Philip Page, a senior, and won by decision, extending the West lead to 24-12.

“He had a tough matchup out there tonight, but he pulled it off,” Lynch said. “Nelson had the kid pinned a couple of times. He really came through for us.”

West’s Giampietro covered Pats freshman Zechariah DiMezza, one minute and 38 seconds into the opening round of the 152 match, and that gave the Falcons a 30-12 cushion.

Falcons junior Matt DiSpirito earned a takedown in round one of the 160 bout before pinning Pilgrim sophomore Lars Mangold in round two, and upping the Falcons’ edge to 36-12.

The ‘fight of the night’ came at 170 where West junior captain Noah Robert met Pilgrim’s big man, Andrew Soares. That battle went the full three rounds and saw Robert squeak out a decision, which increased the Falcon’s lead to 39-12.

“I just came out with a full head of steam,” Robert said. “Ready to wrestle and ready to just beat him. I came out knowing what I wanted to do in the match, knowing how I wanted to do it, and knowing that I wanted to control the match and just control his body in general. And, that’s what I did.”

“I ended up coming out with the win,” Robert continued. “So, I’m happy with my performance tonight. I feel like I performed well and I listened to my coaches well tonight, too. As they were calling moves out and calling techniques out, I was listening to them and following what they did and that really helped me tonight, too. So, shout out to my coaches for that and it just ended up going good. We ended up getting the team win and it just all went well tonight.”

While Lynch would normally like to see any of his wrestlers win by pin, he was happy to see Robert go the distance.

“He’s doing really well,” Lynch said. “His stamina’s up, which is what we were worried about at the beginning of the season. His endurance is up. I thought he had him stuck right in the first 30 seconds of the match, but I wouldn’t have been happy with that. It’s always good to get the pin, but I actually wanted to see a match, and we certainly got one.”

Robert is one of three Falcons captains. The two others are seniors.

“He works so hard in the room and he pushes these guys so well and so much that I put him up on the ballot for captain as a junior and his peers voted him in as captain,” Lynch said.

On Saturday, January 12, Robert won the 170 Championship at the Nashua Invitational in New Hampshire, pinning his Finals opponent in just 40 seconds.   

On the other side, Pilgrim’s Soares, went up in weight, however, he was no slouch.

“Soares went up a couple of weight classes,” O’Conner explained. “He’s still getting used to the weight and how they move differently. But, I was very happy with his fight. He didn’t quit. He wrestled for the full six minutes. So, I was very happy with the way he wrestled.”

At 195, Pilgrim inched closer to 39-18, when sophomore Gavin Scanlon got a forfeit win.

Then, Pilgrim pulled within 39-24 when Josh Sepulveda, a senior, covered Rory Perrino with 28.2 seconds left in the second round of the 195 bout.

At 220, Pilgrim junior Dikran Krikorian pinned West sophomore Caleb Visnicky 58 seconds into round three and got the Pats even closer at 39-30.

Nonetheless, West earned the final six points of the meet when Mustafa Alhazba won the 285 bout by forfeit, which gave the Falcons the 45-30 win.

Pilgrim falls to 1-8 with the loss. Despite his team’s record, Coach O’Conner feels there has been a lot of good to the season.

“The positives were right from the get-go,” O’Conner explained. “This year, our mottos been ‘every day a little better.’ And, I think if you came to the first match and watched us, and you watch us now, we are better than we were then. We’re very young in terms of the overall team. So, there’s a lot of teaching going on, and our kids are enjoying it, and they’re learning from the older kids.”

“The team wants to be there,” O’Conner continued. “They want to be at practice. They want to get better. So, we’re having a great year. I’m enjoying it. The record doesn’t say that we were in 3 or 4 of these matches that could have gone either way.”

Pilgrim hosts Cumberland (5-1) next on Wednesday at 7 pm while West headed to North Kingstown (2-1) on Tuesday night. That score was unavailable at press time.


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