WARWICK — It was supposed to be a wild free-for-all, unbeaten Cumberland High battling flawless Bishop Hendricken for bragging rights in the state's top division.
Instead, the Hawks strung together seven straight triumphs between 160 pounds and 106 to sail to a stellar 47-9 dual-meet beatdown of the Clippers at the hosts' gymnasium on Thursday night.
“This is our first (Division I-North) league dual-meet loss in five years, stated Cumberland veteran mentor Steve Gordon after his club fell to 12-1-2 on the campaign (and Hendricken improved to 14-0). “We just got beat. We tried to adjust our lineup to create a few more wins, but they didn't happen.
“Still, how many matches did we leave out there, losing by a point? We also had a loss in overtime,” he added. “It just wasn't our night. But I'll tell you what, my kids wrestled great. I'm happy. I mean, you've got to lose sometime, and 12-1-2 isn't bad.
“I'll also say this: We're going to start a new win streak, and – next year – I want to come down here and take them!”
The defending state champions started well, with senior co-captain Erik Travers mustering a 1-0 victory over Jimmy Sauro at 152 pounds.
Ahead 3-0, that would be the last advantage the Clippers would see in this match.
Senior Chris Barone opened the Hendricken surge at 160 with a 17-0 technical fall victory over junior Cooper Paesang, and Lewis Stewart garnered a tight 6-5 decision over senior Kyle Szumita at 170 before Hunter Boesch dropped junior Chris Hayes, 6-1, at 182.
Freshman Chris Storti kept the Hawks' string alive with an 8-7 verdict over sophomore Nick Giorgio at 195, while junior Dallas Sauer pinned Dylan Herrera's shoulders to the mat at 3:06 at 220 and Kyle Brichetto did the same to Matt Reilly at heavyweight, though that lasted just 1:46. That finale upped the hosts' cushion to 26-3.
Jason Davol kept the surge going with a pin of Kylie Creamer at 106, but CHS junior 113-pounder Cody Beaudette interrupted the streak with a 4-2 triumph over sophomore Nick Celico.
Just like that, senior Bob Lanni issued junior Kris Nordby a 12-7 defeat at 120 to give Hendricken a 35-6 lead, but then came perhaps the most interesting, and hard-core, war of the evening at 126.
Clipper junior Kyle Durkin earned a one-point escape with 14 seconds left in the third period to knot the match against sophomore Matt Jacobsen at 126 at 3-3, though – in the one-minute overtime round – the Hawk manufactured a two-point takedown and three-point nearfall in the waning ticks to gain an 8-3 win.
Hawks' senior 132-pounder Nick DiMauro utilized a “spladle” move halfway through the third period to pin junior Nick Tribelli at 4:41, and sophomore John Arruda snagged a 4-3 win over twin brother Ben Tribelli at 138.
If there was any good news on this night, Cumberland senior co-captain Jon Maccini jumped out to a 4-0 second-period advantage over Tony Dimauro, and held on to a 4-3 win.
“We're just too light at the top of our lineup,” Gordon offered. “Our 220 weighs 190, and our heavyweight weighs 220, so it was kind of hard for us to match up with them. They just had more experience at the top of their lineup. That's why we tried to move some of those guys around.”