Ndi wins, leads Concord to third place at Capital City Classic
Hollis-Brookline freshman Caleb Lomme grimmaces under pressure from Concord Senior Ben Nawn in the 145 pound weight class at Concord High School on Saturday, January 26, 2013. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
Winnisquam's Jess Duquette struggles to keep his shoulders off the mat under pressure from Bow's Tony Roberts during Saturday's match in the 182 pound category at Concord High School. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
John Stark's Nick Widman tries to escape from Burlington's Steve Giampapa in the 126 pound category at Concord High School on Saturday, January 26, 2013. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
Walters Ndi finished his first two opponents with first-period pins. But things were different when he reached the 182-pound final yesterday at the Capital City Classic wrestling tournament.
“I really had to wrestle in the finals,” Ndi said.
In the past, Ndi used more muscle than skill. But the Concord High junior is changing, and he showed it in yesterday’s title match with a 6-4 decision over Hunter Boesch from Bishop Hendricken of Rhode Island.
“Wally is really learning how to wrestle,” Concord Coach Ham Munnell said. “His offense used to be limited to bear hugs and mashing people, and you can block that if you don’t open up, so Wally has learned to get points in other ways and he’s really progressing.”
Ndi was the only wrestler to place first for the Crimson Tide, which finished third as a team. Hendricken ran away with the meet with 264 points, followed by Pinkerton Academy (175), Concord (162), Bedford (130) and Hollis-Brookline. John Stark had five wrestlers place and finished eighth with 101.5 points. Winnisquam, led by a first-place finish from Richey Mills (170), was 12th with 49 points. And Bow, which got a first from Pete LaRiviere (138), was 14th with 48.
Concord will settle for the third, but, of course, the Tide wanted to win its own tournament, and finishing behind Pinkerton didn’t make it any easier to take.
“We lost a dual meet to Pinkerton, and they beat us by one point at the Salem tournament, so it’s a little disappointing being behind them,” said Concord senior co-captain Ben Nawn, who took third at 145. “But it’s not the (Division I) meet or the state meet. We can do better there, and I think overall we wrestled well.”
“We didn’t wrestle our best, but that was probably the hardest we’ve wrestled all year. The kids showed some grit; they were tough,” Munnell said. “Obviously we would have liked to finish higher, but for this team, for where we are right now, it was a good day.”
Seniors Vinny Benincasa (152) and Dan Losacano (120) both earned second-place results for the Crimson Tide. Losacano used two pins and an 8-2 decision in the semifinals to reach the championship round, where he got caught and pinned by Lucas Dion from Massabesic of Maine. Benincasa also had two pins before taking a 3-0 decision in the semis to reach the final against Sanborn’s Jonathan Scheidegger, who came away with an 8-4 win for the title.
“(Scheidegger) is the number one kid in the state, so we knew he was going to be good, and it’s a good thing we got a look at him,” Munnell said. “We’ll figure it out and we feel confident that we can come up with a good game plan for Vinny if he sees him again at the (Meet of Champions).”
Concord also got a third-place finish from Travis Reyes (220), a fourth-place result from Sean Hall (113) and a sixth-place from Ian Wagner (138).
Winnisquam’s Mills finished sixth at this event last year, but after putting in serious work during the offseason, Mills made the leap to the top of the Cap City podium this time around. Mills won his first two matches by pin, claimed a 6-2 decision over White Mountains’s Paul Gesel in the semifinal (the third time he beat Gesel this year) and then battled for a 7-6 win against Pinkerton’s Dylan Barreiro in the final.
“The final wasn’t the best match I had, I was little off, a little tired; it was a long day,” Mills said. “I stayed away from him a little bit, and tried to wrestle smart. He got me in a few positions, I got him in a few positions. He’s a pretty good opponent.”
Not only did Bow’s LaRiviere earn a title, he also claimed the 100th win of his career in his second match of the day, a pin over Pinkerton’s Brenden Sullivan in just 42 seconds. LaRiviere’s first three wins all came by first-period pin, but he had to work for a 4-2 final decision over Sanborn’s Tristan Leak.
“I was a little more confident today after getting third here last year,” LaRiveire said. “I was really happy with how I wrestled today and the way things went in the finals.”
Bow’s Tony Roberts also came through with one of his best performances of the season and earned a sixth-place result at 182.
Several of the John Stark wrestlers put together solid performances, but none finished higher than Jacob Bumford, who took second at 160. Bumford pinned his first two opponents and fought for a 1-0 win in the semifinals over Plymouth’s David Waterbury before losing in the final to Hendricken’s Chris Barone.
Stark got a third-place finish from Nick Widman (126), a fourth from Codi Gaudreau (120), a fifth from John Wilcox (113) and a sixth from Josh Vaillancourt (132).
It was also a good day off the mats as the tournament drew solid numbers and ran smoothly.
“The event itself was awesome, and (assistant coach) Chrigus Boezeman deserves credit for running a great tournament,” Munnell said. “We all take a lot of pride in the tournament and the kids and everyone did a great job today.”
(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)