Four-Marblehead wrestlers shined in the team’s last dual meet of the year against Saugus-Winthrop last night. Swampscott sophomore Maleek Newsome, wrestling at 170 pounds, Marblehead junior Sean Taylor, wrestling in the heavyweight class, and Swampscott junior Jake Powell, wrestling at 113 pounds, all pinned their respective opponents. The Black & Blue team ultimately lost 31 to 18 to Saugus-Winthrop, but there were at least two bright spots as the team heads into the final tournaments of the 2011-12 season.
One, Marblehead freshman Cam Budrow earned his first-ever victory wrestling in a junior varsity match that turned out to be one of the most exciting matches of the evening. Budrow won 4-2 with a takedown in the final seconds of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. And two, Marblehead senior and co-captain Jeff Sherman returned to action from an injury suffered at the beginning of the season. Sherman lost by just one point in his match against Shawn Gilman.
"It would have been nice to come away with a dual meet victory", said Mike Stamison, the head coach of the co-op Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling team. "I think, for Jeff having missed what he has missed this year, to lose by one point to a pretty solid wrestler in Gilman was a good showing. Now that he's back though, he needs to work very hard to get the strength back in his shoulder, as well as his wind back. Jake and Sean did exactly as they were supposed to do and have done all year.”
Newsome, meanwhile, put on a display for a first-year wrestler. "Maleek is something else though,” said Stamison. “He always weighs in under 170 pounds, yet when he steps on the mat, he can certainly wrestle like he's 190. He, for lack of a better term, manhandled his opponent last night. I'm excited to see what we can do with him."
Another first-year wrestler showing great promise is Budrow. "Cam, in what now is his third week of wrestling, came away with his first victory last night, albeit in JV competition,” said Stamison. “The coaching staff is very proud of Cam, as he listens and works hard in practice, and during matches executes what we are instilling in him. Ali Attalah also had a nice win in JV competition."
The team will compete this weekend in the annual Cape Ann League/Northeastern Conference (CAL/NEC) Tournament at the Masconomet Regional High School in Boxford. The junior varsity wrestlers will compete on Friday afternoon, while the varsity wrestlers will compete on Saturday ."Though there really is no clear distinction of JV vs. varsity in our program, we are sending some of the kids who are new to wrestling to Friday night's tournament,” said Stamison. “I think it'll just be a better experience for them. We are taking five wrestlers on Saturday, and I expect Sean and Jake to make the finals, if not win the tournament that day; both have something to prove."
Stamison also said this of Sherman: "Jeff also will hopefully be near full strength, and should have a good day as well, and with Ali and Maleek. I think they have drastically improved over the course of the season and should turn some heads. I think all of them can place and bring home medals for our program."
After the CAL/NEC Tournament, the members of the team will wrestle Feb. 4 in the Division 3 North Individual Tournament at Masconomet Regional High School in Boxford. That tournament marks the start of a long string of tournaments that ultimately identify the best wrestlers in Division 3, Massachusetts and New England. The Division 3 Individual Tournament will take place Feb. 11-12 at Taconic High School and the Massachusetts All-State Tournament will take place Feb. 24-25 at Salem High School.
Last year, five Black & Blue wrestlers advanced from the Division 3 North Individual Tournament to the Division 3 Individual Tournament and one advanced to the Massachusetts All-State Tournament. This year, Coach Stamison just looks to improve upon that. "I think we can have five to six qualify for states and then hopefully two to three qualify for all-states. It's certainly possible. The sky is the limit. They know what they have to do."