Concord wrestling rides wave of momentum over Nashua
Concord's Ben Nawn grapples with Nashua North's Connor McBride during a wrestling match on Wednesday night, December 5, 2012.
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Concord wrestlers cheer as teammate Walters Ndi defeats his opponent, Nashua North's Hanzla Shiehk, in a pin during a match on Wednesday night, December 5, 2012.
(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »
The Concord wrestling crowd was on its feet and chanting before last night’s season opener against Nashua North. But after the Titans won three of the first four matches by pin, the Crimson Tide fans were quiet and Nashua had stolen all the momentum.
Enter Concord senior Dan Losacano, who had seen enough.
“I knew I had to stop the roll,” Losacano said. “I knew I had to stop it right then and there.”
With a first-period pin, that’s just what Losacano did. His win started a string of four straight (and six out of seven) victories for the Tide, leading to a 49-30 team decision.
“Danny is very good,” Concord Coach Ham Munnell said. “He turned it around for us.”
Munnell knew Nashua would have the advantage in the lower weight classes, and that’s where the match began. The Tide won by forfeit at heavyweight, but then the Titans got a pin at 106 pounds from Cam Bennett over Concord freshman Connor Stadnicki. Not only did he have to face one of the best lightweights in the state in Bennett, Stadnicki had to make his varsity debut in the night’s first contested match.
“It’s always tough to be first,” said Losacano, who also wrestled varsity as a freshman. “I remember my first match and I was all amped up. I ended up losing, but I learned from it.”
Nashua followed up that win with a pin from captain Marcel LaPlante at 113 over Sean Hall, and another pin from Peter Daniels at 120 against sophomore Brandon Simpson. Hall pushed LaPlante, another of the state’s top lightweights, into the second round before losing. And Simpson took a quick 2-0 lead on Daniels before getting too aggressive and then overpowered for the pin with 24.2 seconds left in the first period.
“(Simpson) came out a little too hard,” Munnell said. “You’ve got to know sometimes it’s a not a sprint but more like a marathon.”
While Losacano probably could have gone the marathon distance against Nashua’s Morley Kert at 126, he finished the job in the first period. Losacano muscled Kert down 1:17 into the first and rode him until he worked the pin with 10.1 seconds left in the period.
Concord sprang off its bench as the ref slapped the mat for the pin and the fans returned to life. The crowd carried that spark into the next match, chanting Brennan Haywood’s last name as the senior claimed a 14-4 major decision over David Muite to give the Tide its first lead, 22-18.
“The crowd was great, and I think that’s a tribute to the kids on the team,” Munnell said. “When the school is behind you, you obviously have a team of quality people.”
Concord sophomore Ian Wagner quickly seized on the momentum and built on that lead with a first-period pin against Manuel Solis at 132. Wagner took down Solis before the Nashua wrestler knew what hit him and recorded the pin after just 22 seconds.
The next match was the closest of the night as Concord’s Ben Nawn squeaked out a 2-1 win over Connor McBride at 145. Nawn, a senior co-captain, was stymied by McBride’s height and defense for the first two periods. Trailing 1-0, Nawn had a chance to get one point for an escape late in the third, but instead of taking it, he risked going for the two-point reversal and eventually got it with 57.1 seconds left on the clock. McBride nearly escaped in the final seconds, but Nawn just held on to a leg to maintain control and claim the win.
The Titans finally stopped Concord’s roll with a first-period pin from John Sweeney at 152. That win cut the Tide’s lead to one, 25-24, but senior co-captain Vinny Benincasa answered right back for Concord. Benincasa, wrestling up a weight class at 160, took a 6-1 first-period lead over Justin Mercer and then patiently broke down Mercer in the second period until he pinned him with 45.2 left in the frame.
Another Tide senior, Nick Engel, kept things going Concord’s way with a confident performance at 170. Engel survived a dangerous airborne moment in the first seconds of the match, then quickly overwhelmed Anthony Fiorentino for the pin with only 40 seconds off the clock.
The Titans then gave themselves a chance when Evan Manns pinned Concord junior Merrick Vanhoesen at 182. That cut the Tide’s lead to 37-30 with two matches left, but junior Walters Ndi sealed the win with a pin at 195. Ndi, the defending D-I champ, used his strength to build a 7-1 lead in the first and then used it some more to pin Hanza Sheikh with 1:12 left in the second. Travis Reyes (220) put some icing on the team win with a first-period pin over Michael Muchemore in the final match of the night.
“It’s a good way for us to start the season,” Losacano said. “They’re a good team and I thought it was going to be closer than it was, actually.”
Munnell, however, took the typical coach’s view and saw plenty of room for improvement.
“We did fine, but I wanted more. If we’re going to lose somewhere, I want to lose going six minutes. But that’s what the season is for and hopefully in a couple of weeks those type of matches will all be going six minutes,” Munnell said. “But it is a win, and I’m happy. The kids are trying to do what we ask, they’re just not all there yet, but the effort is there, so they’ll be fine.”
John Stark 57, Winnisquam 21
John Stark 18, Sanborn 12
Winnisquam 12, Sanborn 6
The Generals (2-0) started off their season on the right foot with victories over Winnisquam (1-1) and Sanborn (0-2) in a tri-meet.
Facing off against the Bears, John Stark pulled off 10 wins, seven by pin, two by forfeit and one by decision. The definitive highlight of the night went to Andy Hewey (152-pound weight class), who battled his way through a marathon match against Winnisquam’s Justin Serrano, breaking a 1-1 tie in the third period with 20 seconds left on a takedown to the back of Serrano, ending a lengthy 5-minute, 49-second bout.
The remaining winners of their individual bouts for Stark were John Wilcox (113) with a pin in 4 minutes, 15 seconds, Codi Gaudreau (120) with a win by forfeit, Nic Widmann (126) by pin in 25 seconds, Josh Vaillancourt (132) by pin in 26 seconds, Colton Millette (138) by pin in 39 seconds, Greg LaFaro (145) by forfeit, Jacob Bumford (160) with a pin in 1 minute, 6 seconds, Tyler Willey (170) with a win by decision, 14-8, and Al Long (220) with a win by pin in 56 seconds.
The Bears picked up four wins in bouts against the Generals. Freshman Login Patten (106) won with a pin in a minute, 15 seconds, Jesse Duquette (182) won by an 11-9 decision, Richie Mills (195) won by pin in a minute, four seconds and senior heavyweight Tyler Labante (285) won via pin in a minute, 17 seconds.
Against Sanborn, which only brought two wrestlers to the meet, Stark lost its two bouts but won due to the Indians forfeiting the rest of the matches. The Bears bested Sanborn in a similar manner, with Christian Duquette (170) and DJ Aldridge (195) both winning by forfeit.
Bow 40, Souhegan 36
The Falcons (1-0) broke a 10-match losing streak in dual meets with a close win over Souhegan (0-1). Bow won seven of the 14 bouts, including five by forfeit.
Spencer Morrell (in the 138-pound weight class) won his bout by an 11-8 decision, and sophomore Brendan Mooney (120) picked up a nice win with a pin. Among the winners by forfeit for Bow were Peter LaRiviere (152), Max Johnson (170) and Tony Roberts (182).
Kearsarge at Plymouth
The Cougars went to a tri-meet with Plymouth and Newport and pulled out three wins, all by pin.
Alex Wesoja (in the 126-pound weight class) won by pin in three minutes, 44 seconds, Lucas Beltz (132) pinned his opponent in 36 seconds, and Robert Smith (220) won his matchup by pin after five minutes, 34 seconds.