The Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling team had one of those dual meets Thursday night that could have gone – as they say - either way. Unfortunately, it went the way of Danvers/Hamilton-Wenham (DHW), which defeated the Black & Bluers 43-36.
Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling team’s three-meet win streak also ended with the loss to DHW, a dual meet that saw plenty of lead changes.
The first match of the dual meet set the tone for what was to follow. Ali Atallah, a Marblehead junior wrestling at 182 pounds, lost a match that was closer than the final score of 10-5. Down 4-2 heading into the third period, Atallah fought back with an escape (one point) and a takedown (two points), but it was not enough to overcome the lead his DHW opponent had built up.
"That was a tough one to lose,” said Mike Stamison, the head coach of the Swampscott-Marblehead team. “It looked like a few of my boys were tired out there. It's a long season and a grind certainly, but we've got to press on with the conditioning to make sure we don't lose dual meets in this fashion."
In the next matches, Mark Rittiboon, a Swampscott sophomore (195), won a quick pin for six points. And then Eugene Bromberg, a Marblehead senior (220) and Sean Taylor, another Marblehead senior and co-captain (285), each earned a forfeit, which helped the team go up 18-3 going into the fifth match of the night.
"Boon is coming on strong and has been great to watch,” said Stamison. “As the defensive MVP for the Big Blue football team, obviously he's a tremendous athletic talent. We are happy to have him learning our sport, he's been a pleasure to coach thus far."
DHW took the next three matches, one of which was a forfeit, to put the Falcons up 21-18. Jake Powell, a Swampscott senior and co-captain (126), then put the Black & Blue team up 24-18 with a pin – his 99th victory of his varsity career -- in the first period.
DHW then went on a three-pin streak to take a 43-24 lead. The Black & Bluers fought back with Joe Mitlin, a Swampscott senior (160), and Maleek Newsome, a Swampscott senior (170), each pinning their opponents for 12 team points. But it was too little too late for the hometown team with DHW holding on to win the dual meet 43-36.
"I was happy to see that Joe and Maleek went out there with game plans and stuck their opponents quickly,” said Stamison. “It would have been easy to come out flat as we had already given up too many team points to DHW to win the dual. They wrestled with intensity, and I expect them both to carry that to this Saturday at Pelham."
The Swampscott-Marblehead team, whose record now stands at 5-11, wrestles next on Saturday, Jan. 12 in the Sgt. Daniel Gionet Memorial Wrestling Tournament, at Pelham High School in New Hampshire.
The team’s next home meet, which will be senior night, will take place on Jan. 30 at 7 pm against Peabody.