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EAST PROVIDENCE â€“ Wrestlers can get hot in much the same way a basketball player or golfer can get into â€śthe zoneâ€ť in their sports.
There is a mental element to this sport that can pay dividends when a wrestler acts decisively on the mat, confident in his execution of takedown attempts, instead of taking the mat in a tentative mood.
East Providence had four â€śhotâ€ť wrestlers last week at the state tournament. Three of them won state titles and the fourth finished second in his weight class. All four will step up a major level in competition on Friday night when they compete in the New England championships at Hill House High in New Haven, Ct.
Jacob Burrows (119), Joao Vicente (125), Jared Burrows (160) and Jonah Aurelio (285) will represent East Providence in the New England meet. Head coach Tom Galligan sees no reason why this foursome canâ€™t win some matches, perhaps even place among the top six in their respective weight classes.
â€śJared finished sixth at 145 pounds last year,â€ť Galligan said on Wednesday afternoon. â€śHe made it to the semifinals. I think he can place again at 160. He only had three losses all year and two of them were to the same kid (state champion Mike Georges of La Salle Academy).
The other three Townies are a bit less experienced than Jared Burrows.
â€śI think the key for Joao and Jonah is to knock the nervousness away as soon as possible on Friday night,â€ť Galligan admitted. â€śJoao is a kid who needs to wrestle with confidence. He couldnâ€™t beat anybody when he was in middle school. He had some doubts about himself but Joao is the kind of kid who always does better the second time he wrestles somebody.â€ť
That was certainly the case last Saturday night when Vicente outpointed defending state champion Shoneil Lariviere by an 11-5 margin in the 125-pound final, earning Outstanding Wrestlers honors for the tournament. Lariviere had pinned Vicente during the dual-meet season.
â€śJoao is very long for a kid in his weight class,â€ť Galligan said. â€śHis arms are long and I think that helps him get a lot of double-leg takedowns. He dives down at his opponentâ€™s legs and they donâ€™t realize how long Joao is. Joaoâ€™s developed a pretty good upper body, too.â€ť
Aurelio, just a sophomore, weighs a solid 280 pounds.
â€śEveryone who wrestles Jonah comes off the mat talking about how strong he is,â€ť Galligan said with a laugh. â€śJonah is strong as an ox. Heâ€™s also very athletic. He works hard and never misses a practice.â€ť
Galligan also expects a strong tournament effort from his 119-pounder, Jacob Burrows.
â€śJacob won a couple of matches last year at the New England meet,â€ť the coach recalled. â€śHe could place at 119.â€ť
East Providence wrestled in several out-of-state tournaments during the season, giving the Townies an idea of the type of competition they can expect at the New England championship.
â€śIf we wrestle to our ability, we can do well this weekend,â€ť Galligan said.