The Black & Blue wrestling team continued is winning ways Saturday at the Big Red high school wrestling tournament. First time wrestlers Mark Rittiboon, a sophomore wrestling at 195 pounds, and Eugene Bromberg, a senior wrestling at 220 pounds, got their first-ever pins during the day-long tournament at Tyngsborough High School.
"I was very happy to see Boon and Eugene come away with wins,” said Michael Stamison, the team’s head coach. “Both being firsty-ear wrestlers, it's great for a coach to see results."
Seniors Sean Taylor and Jake Powell, both of whom are captains of the team, brought home some heavy metal. Taylor placed third in the heavyweight bracket, going 3-1 on the day.
"Sean had a tough second match, getting caught in a head and arm versus the heavyweight from Billerica,” said Stamison. “I thought his shoulders were out of bounds, but the referee called a pin. Tough way to lose a match, but his other two matches were excellent."
Powell placed first in the 126-pound weight class and received the tournament’s much-coveted “Outstanding Wrestler” award. Powell, who finished the day 3-0, defeated Steven Giampapa of Burlington 6-1 in the championship match. Giampapa entered the season as the state’s 6th best 113-pound wrestler, having won a Division 2 state championship. Powell also defeated Giampapa in last year’s Big Red championship match, though in the 113-pound weight class.
"Those two have certainly had some exciting bouts, and it's been fun to watch both Jake and he go at it,” said Stamison. “He's a solid wrestler, and Jake certainly helped himself out in terms of seeding in later tournaments this year by beating him."
Overall, the team placed 10th in the 16 team tournament, with a score of 65 points. By way of history, the team placed 11th in the 2010 tournament with a score of 31; and it placed 11th in last year's tournament with a score of 56.5. Results of this year’s Big Red tournament can be found at http://www.masswrestling.com/cms/e107_files/misc/2012-13_Tyngsboro_Big_Red_Brackets.htm.
Other highlights from the Big Red tournament, which featured high schools from across the region including Maine: Joe Mitlin, a senior wrestling at 160 pounds, got back in the swing of things after taking a year away from wrestling due to an injury. Wrestling in one of the toughest brackets in the tournament, Mitlin went 2-2 on the day.
"Mitlin was hurt all year last year, so he is still a bit rusty,” said Stamison. “That being said, by experience and having placed in a few tournaments his sophomore year, we are very happy to have him back."
Ali Atallah, a junior wrestling at 182 pounds, went 1-2 on the day. Maleek Newsome, a junior wrestling at 170 pounds, also finished at 1-2, getting a pin against his first opponent of the day.
Also wrestling for Black and Blue at the tournament were Stephen Hopkins (106), Cam Budrow (132), and Ben Grant (152).
The Swampscott-Marblehead co-op team lost to Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, which is a Division 1 team ranked 14th in the state, last week 54-9. Taylor pinned Joe Stean in the heavyweight match for 6 points and Powell beat Dylan Kenney 8-5 in hard fought match, snatching 3 points for the team. Kenney is presently ranked as the 8th best 126 pounder in Division 1. Swampscott-Marblehead is a Division 3 team.
Though the team lost to Shawsheen, Stamison had plenty of praise for his squad.
"It's not easy to be on the road against a great program like Shawsheen,” said Stamison. “They are solid from top to bottom. It was a good experience for the younger boys to see what kids who wrestle year round are all about. Nice wins from Jake and Sean, both are peaking at the right time."
The team wrestles against Triton on Tuesday and then travels to Malden Catholic on Saturday for a quad meet vs. MC, Lynnfield/North Reading and North Quincy.