North Providence takes young wrestling team into D-I action

North Providence takes young wrestling team into D-I action

North Providence freshman Ben Meyer, top, is on the verge of pinning South Kingstown sophomore Daniel Disano in the third round of their 106-pound match last Thursday night. Meyer’s pin was the only one delivered by the Cougars, who suffered a 48-16 loss that dropped their record to 3-3. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Cougars begin dual-meet season with 3-3 mark

NORTH PROVIDENCE – If the North Providence High wrestling team hopes to nail down its fourth straight winning season, the Cougars are going to have to do so with one of their youngest rosters in recent memory.

Thirteen of their 27 wrestlers are freshmen, and five are currently in a starting lineup that contains the only three seniors on the team – 120-pound state finalist Josh Wheeler, 170-pounder Pamadou Trawally, and 182-pounder David Symmes.

“We have a lot of young guys in our lineup,” head coach Richard Torti said last Thursday night. “They’re learning, but they’re taking their bruises. The upside on these kids is that they’re going to be really good, but right now, they’re going to take their bruises. I just keep telling them that as long as they’re tough enough, everything’s going to pay off in the long run.”

The Cougars took their share of bumps and bruises in a 48-16 loss to South Kingstown, which is 6-1 and in first place in the Division I-North standings. NP, which wrestles in the South, slipped to 3-3, and while it appears that the Cougars are going to have a tough time repeating as division champions, especially with Chariho (6-2) and Pilgrim (5-1) fielding strong squads this winter, a winning record for them is not out of the question.

“I’d like to get a winning record,” said Torti. “We’re not as strong as we’ve been in the past, and our division’s tough, so ending the season with a winning record would be nice. That’s probably our goal at this point, and then (there’s) the individual achievements at the end of the season. I want to see Wheeler do well again (at the state meet), as well as a few other guys.”

Seven full-time wrestlers are back from last year’s team that won the Division I-B title with a 13-2 mark, NP’s three seniors, juniors Angelo Rizzo (126) and Cam Viccione (160) and sophomores Biagio Rizzo (113) and Jacob Martin (285). Angelo Rizzo and Wheeler are the co-captains.

Juniors Caden Jolcimat (220), who sat out last Thursday’s match to nurse an injury, and Edwin Estrella (132) are also in NP’s lineup, but after that are the five 9th-graders, including four who were on last year’s Ricci Middle School team that went undefeated to win the Northern Division title, Brandon Jordan (138), Damien Vieira (145), David Kettelle (152), and Nick Symmes (195).

“We have another good freshman, Aidan Lavoie, but he’s wrestling on the junior varsity because he’s behind Wheeler (at 120),” said Torti, who also has freshman Ben Meyer wrestling at 106 and inserted Symmes into the lineup after sophomore Tom Hunt got sidelined with a dislocated elbow. Another sophomore, Nick Glode, has seen action at 138.

In their match against S.K., the Cougars received their victories from Meyer, who delivered a pin with 1:25 to go in his match, Trawally, who posted a 16-4 major-decision triumph, and Wheeler (7-0) and Angelo Rizzo (8-2), who also rolled to their victories.

The night before their loss to the Rebels, the Cougars grabbed a 41-29 win over Cranston West that saw Biagio Rizzo, Nick Symmes, and Martin record pins, Angelo Rizzo (14-2) and Viccone (16-7) add four points with major decisions, and Estrella win his match by a 5-2 score. Wheeler and Trawally also claimed their matches by forfeit.

Wheeler and Angelo Rizzo currently sport 6-0 records in dual-meet competition, while Trawally is 5-0, Meyer 4-1, and Biagio Rizzo 4-2.

In addition to their Division I matches, the Cougars have also wrestled in a couple of invitational tournaments, the annual North Providence Holiday Tournament that they hosted on Dec. 17 and last weekend’s Spartan Wrestling Tournament at Maine’s Sanford High, which is considered the toughest tournament in Maine.

At the 13-team NP tourney, Wheeler and Biagio Rizzo claimed their weight classes, Angelo Rizzo and Trawally placed third, and Viccione and Jolcimat finished fourth. The Sanford tournament, which featured 30 schools from across New England, saw Wheeler place fourth, Dave Symmes take fifth, and Nick Symmes finish sixth.

This week, NP will be on the road for 7 p.m. matches against Cumberland on Wednesday and East Providence on Thursday. The Cougars will then return to the Clippers’ Wellness Center on Saturday to wrestle in the nine-team John D. Gorman Invitational.