Heading into their last home match of the season, the third ranked Ephs were looking for a good showing against second-ranked Norwich. Head Coach Mike Whalen was hoping that his team would peak at the right time in the season. With the New England Championships a week away, this would have to be the time. Whalen’s hopes came true with a 21-18 victory in front of a packed crowd at Lasell Gymnasium.
The first match of the day pitted first-year Augustine Whyte against Mike Brown of Norwich. In what was the most thrilling match of the day, Whyte was able to escape from Brown in the closing seconds of the match to take the win 3-1. “Gus has come so far for us this season. For him to have that type of match is a credit to him,” said Whalen.
Senior tri-captain Glenn Prichett returned to the Ephs’ lineup after being hampered by injuries. Prichett fell just short of Norwich’s Josh Jenson 7-5. Dan DiCenzo ’01, another of Williams’ captains, also fell short against Gunner Olson at 174. Olson, ranked second in New England at 157, moved up two weight classes due to some Norwich injuries.
Conan Leary ’02 won similar in fashion to Whyte. He faced the number one ranked wrestler in New England, Derrick Tienken. Leary, the number two wrestler in New England, was able to pull off a take down late in the match.
The final was 7-5. The win should earn Leary the number one ranking in New England. First year Bob Sherwood was then called upon to wrestle number two Pete Connery at 197. Sherwood grappled hard but fell short 5-1.
The heavyweight matchup pitted Eph senior Chris Sweatman, who is ranked number one in New England, against number third-ranked Jason Gordon. Sweatman made easy work of Gordon, pinning him with 2:12 left in the first period. A stunned Gordon lay on the mat in disbelief as the crowd went wild.
After a Norwich forfeit at 125, Williams forfeited the 133 pound weight class. With the Ephs only up by three points, Senior Matt Gunther would have to step up. Gunther, who has been riddled with injuries in the first half of the season, took the mat for the last time in Lasell gym. Gunther sealed the team victory with a win against Steve Pino 6-1.
Head coach Mike Whalen said, “It was a great match; we both juggled our lineup and we got the matches we needed. I think we are peaking at the right time. It feels good to be healthy around tournament time. We have gotten great leadership from our captains. I am really happy with the way we wrestled.”
When asked about the New England Championships next weekend, Whalen added, “We have a chance to put five or six guys in the finals. It feels good to be healthy. I am looking forward to it.”
The last match of the day also brought a close to senior tri-captain Rob Quan’s career in Lasell. Quan, ranked second, wrestled the number one ranked wrestler Chad Sinclair. Quan fell just short of the man he has been wrestling since high school.
“They know each other very well and it will be interesting to see them go at it at New Englands,” said Whalen. The Ephs travel to Western New England College for the New England Championships next weekend.