CUMBERLAND â€“ After a six-day layoff from competing that included only three days of practice, was Cumberland High coach Steve Gordon worried his squad wouldnâ€™t be sharp against Westerly on Wednesday night?
â€śNo, we are prepared every match we go into,â€ť said Gordon, as he watched his Clippers roll past the Bulldogs, 47-9, in their Division I crossover match. â€śI mean we didnâ€™t have enough practices, but my guys usually are pretty focused. They better be focused. We try to be ready for any match. We donâ€™t take anyone lightly no matter who you are wrestling. Once you do that, you start making mistakes and that can only come back to hurt you later on in the season. We donâ€™t like upsetsâ€ť
The defending champion Clippers, now a perfect 6-0-0 for the winter, began the night in the 160-pound weight class and took a 15-3 lead by the fourth match. Then, after a no match at 285, the Clippers once again showed their dominance in the lower weight classes and the Bulldogs never had a chance.
The Clippers registered five victories via the pinfall with junior Tim LaCroix (189), senior Andre Lussier (215), freshman Kris Nordby (112), senior Shoneil Lariviere (125) and sophomore Erik Travers (130) all taking their opponents to the mat. Cumberland also had a 15-0 major decision from freshman Cody Beaudette at 103.
Making his varsity debut, junior Sean Creamer earned a hard-fought 6-4 decision over the Bulldogsâ€™ Max Righter at 140. Creamer was leading 6-1 after two periods and then had to withstand a gritty final period by Righter to hold on for the win.
â€śHe wrestled tough,â€ť Gordon said. â€śThatâ€™s his first time in the lineup. Heâ€™s been out for two years with a knee surgery. He now, just finally, broke the lineup. He wrestled off the other day and had a tough time. We have some tough kids in that weight class. Heâ€™s just got to get himself used to wrestling six minutes.â€ť
After a slow start, senior Nick Maccini pulled out a great 7-5 win over Westerlyâ€™s Wes Gomez at 145. The normally, fast-moving Maccini was trailing, 3-2, after two periods. After taking a 4-3 advantage with 1:40 left in the final period with a reverse, Gomez went back in front, at 5-4, just 20 second later.
Maccini finally got the best of the determined Bulldog with a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining.
â€śThat was a very good match,â€ť Gordon said. â€śNormally (Maccini) is a lot more aggressive. He kind of set back today. But you saw when he decided to shoot his takedown that heâ€™s very good on his feet. Thatâ€™s how he won it. Heâ€™s a good takedown manâ€¦ He started off a little too slow. He wasnâ€™t shooting at all. The kid took it too him, and he had to pick up the pace a little later on.â€ť
Cumberlandâ€™s match with Westerly begins a grueling four-day stretch. The Clippers will be back on the mats tomorrow night when they travel to South Kingstown. Itâ€™s then off to Sanford, Maine for the annual Redskin Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
â€śSouth Kingstown is not bad,â€ť Gordon said. â€śThey are a little weaker this year than they have been. They are still a good team. They are loaded up top. Weâ€™ll have our work cut out for us.â€ť
Where the Clippers will really have their work cut out for them is the Redskin Invitational, a tournament that they are the defending titlist. Scheduled to participate in the weekend tourney is Connecticut state champion Danbury High, two-time New Hampshire state champion Timberland High as well as N.H. runner-up Concord.
In last yearâ€™s event, Danbury and Timberland were no-shows.
â€śItâ€™s going to be a lot tougher this year (to win), a lot tougher,â€ť Gordon said. â€śItâ€™s going to be a big-time tournament.â€ť
Cumberland 47, Westerly 9
160 â€“ Richie Whitman, C, def. Sam Traver, 4-0.
171 â€“ Dylan Stryker, W, def. Brandon Ferreri, 17-16.
189 â€“ Tom Lacroix, C, pinned Frank Pellicano 2:56
215 â€“ Andre Lussier, C, pinned Mike McCooey 2:47
285 â€“ No match
103 â€“ Cody Beaudette, C, def. Drew Whiddifield, 15-0
112 â€“ Kris Nordby, C, pinned Anthony Bianco 1:20
119 â€“ Shai Lariviere, C, def. Cody Brown, 15-0 (exhibition)
125 â€“ Shoneil Lariviere, C, pinned Josh Leppika :27
130 â€“ Eric Travers, C, pinned Steve Ottaviani :34
135 â€“ C.J. Widdifield, W, pinned Jon Maccini 4:36
140 â€“ Sean Cremer, C, def. Max Righter, 6-4.
145 â€“ Nick Maccini, C, def. Wes Gomez, 7-5.
152 â€“ Chris Smith, C, def. Shane Scavello, 9-0.