Wrestling returns 5 All-NE starters

After an incredibly successful season last year, wrestling looks to build on its achievements this season, despite losing three-time New England champion and three-time All-American wrestler Jon Dolan ’07.

Last season wrestling won the Rogers Williams Invitational and had a dual meet record of 13-7. Williams placed fifth in the conference (NECCWA) with six All-New England wrestlers. The Ephs also had individual accolades with Dolan’s fourth place finish at nationals as the highlight of the team.

The Ephs’ success this season may hinge on the fact that eight out of 10 starters are returning. Led by captains Ethan Cohen ’09, a two time All-New England wrestler, in the 125 weight class, All-New England wrestler Nic Miragliuolo ’08 in the 149 weight class, and Mike Penza ’09, a two year starter for Williams, the Ephs have the experience to dominate opponents this winter.

Other All-New England returning wrestlers include Dylan Rittenburg ’10, Carl Breitenstein ’10 and Doug Washington ’08. Kyle Ayer ’09 will also be a strong competitor as he placed in the New England’s as a first-year. Dropping a few weight classes this winter to 184, Nate Shippee ’10 is expected to be another strong contributor to the team.

While only filling two spots, the team will find it hard to replace Dolan and Max Pinto ’08, who stopped wrestling to focus on baseball. “Dolan’s graduation leaves a huge hole at 174 in our line-up,” Miragliuolo said. “It is difficult to replace a wrestler and leader of Dolan’s caliber.”

A few rookies are expected to step up. Two first-years who are used to placing well at big tournaments include Corey Paulish ’11, who will compete in the 133 weight class, and classmate James McCarthy ’11, who will wrestle at 174. Paulish placed second at high school New England’s last year, and McCarthy placed fourth at Prep Nationals. “This is the biggest and deepest first-year class we have had in some time,” Miragliuolo said.

The team has high aims for the season. “Our goals for this season are to win the New England Championships, and this is very plausible,” Cohen said. Miragliuolo, too, is confident that this year may be one of the best chances to win New England’s. “We do not have any weak weight class in our line-up,” he said.

Wrestling begins its season at the Springfield Doug-Parker tournament on Saturday.

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