The Black & Blue went to the Weymouth High School wrestling tournament on Saturday and the team might make it an annual event given what happened against some of the state's best grapplers.
Two Swampscott-Marlblehead wrestlers, co-captains Sean Taylor and Jake Powell, came home with medals and a trophy.
With a mouth stuffed with gauze to stop the bleeding from a bit tongue, and down 6-0 going into the third period, Powell, a Swampscott senior, came back to win the 126-pound championship match with a pin over Colin Harty of Plymouth South. And Taylor, a Marblehead senior, won third place in the heavyweight bracket by pinning the No. 9 ranked heavyweight in the state, Shaun Duncombe of Plymouth South, as time ran out in the third period.
"Jake's was a highlight kind of match, a match where you really got to see what a kid is made of,” said Michael Stamison, the head coach of the Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling team. “I think Jake demonstrated great mental and physical toughness by continuing to wrestle, despite the blood he was losing. He nearly bit through his tongue during a scramble out there, and was obviously in a huge amount of pain. He regained his composure however.”
Stamison said Plymouth South won the coin toss so we got the choice in the 3rd period to have Jake take either bottom or top. “Down 6-0, we opted to go with Jake's strongest position, and started him on top of Harty, knowing full well that he had to turn him to rally back in the point battle, or pin him,” said Stamison. “He quickly threw in his leg and cradled him up on the edge of the mat earning two near fall points before Harty was able to get out of bounds. They reset with Jake staying on top at a minute left, Jake pulled the same maneuver and cradled him up again, and was able to hold him there for 20 seconds until he got him flat on his back. When the referee called the pin, the Weymouth High gym erupted,” said Stamison. “This and last year's overtime win vs. Tom Funk from Pentucket in the Sectional finals) was his greatest win to date, and one I'll remember for a long time."
Powell also scored the most pins of anyone in the tournament, four, and was awarded a trophy as well.
"Sean wrestled well, listened to my commands out there and demonstrated some mat savvy,” said Stamison. “He only lost the one match to the eventual champion Martin Mulkerrin of Braintree, the number 6th ranked heavy in Massachusetts, and the win against Duncombe will help when it comes to seeding the league tournament and the sectional tournament. His first win on the day vs. Javier Cardona from Norwood was sharp."
The Swampscott-Marblehead wrestling team, hobbled by illness, sent only six wrestlers to the Weymouth tournament. Marblehead junior Ali Atallah, 182 pounds, went 2-2 on the day.
"Ali is right there when it comes to nearly placing at these tournaments,” said Stamison. “Hopefully we'll get him his first medal at the league tournament."
The Black & Blue will wrestle next against Salem on Jan. 23 at 7 pm at Salem High School. The younger boys on the team will participate in the annual CAL/NEC JV open tournament on Friday afternoon at Triton Regional High School and the entire team will participate in the CAL/NEC tournament on Saturday at Triton Regional High School.
"We don't have the benefit of having a JV team, which is both a good and bad thing I think for the boys, ultimately, the best way to learn is by getting on the mat, so the younger boys will wrestle both days for the experience."