North Providence senior tri-captains Miguel Santana, left, Micah Soe, center, and William Soe show off the medals they received for placing in the top four in their weight classes at the RIIL Wrestling Championships that took place last weekend at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house.
NORTH PROVIDENCE – It’s been nine years since North Providence High head wrestling coach Richard Torti last stenciled one of his wrestler’s names onto the blue background on the wall of “The Pit” – the high school’s wrestling-only gym – that’s reserved for the dozen wrestlers that have won state championships in their weight classes over the past 45 years.
Torti joked how “it took forever” to stencil the name of the last state champion, 195-pound wrestler Sebastian Dziadkiewicz, after the 2013-14 season, and if the Cougars’ best bet to step atop the podium this season, senior 106-pound tri-captain William Soe, was able to end NP’s title drought, how easy it would be to etch his name among the program’s greats.
Soe and 11 of his teammates spent last weekend at the RIIL Championships inside the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house, looking to bring out their best performances of the season against the state’s best grapplers, and while Soe was one of the heavy favorites to capture his weight class, he was unable to come away with a gold medal.
Facing an opponent from a rival school that he didn’t wrestle during the D-I dual-meet season, Soe suffered a 16-7 loss to Hope freshman Denzel Monteiro in their title match before a packed house last Saturday night, but earned Second-Team All-State honors and a trip to this weekend’s New England championship meet back at the PCTA facility.
Soe, who entered the meet undefeated in intrastate competition, and with only one loss on his record (that he suffered in the finals of January’s Spartan Wrestling Annual Tournament at Maine’s Sanford High), claimed his first two matches with a second-round pin of North Kingstown’s Caden Hughes in the quarterfinals and a 13-6 win over Ponaganset’s Isaiah Dunn in the semis.
That set up his showdown with Monteiro, who scored five points in each of the first two periods before Soe produced his first two on a nearfall 13 seconds into the third round. Soe scored his last five points in the final 32 seconds of the match, but by then, Monteiro held a very comfortable lead.
“We didn’t get to see (Monteiro) in our meet (against Hope) in December,” noted Torti. “We didn’t get to see his style, and his style just did not match up well with William’s. What are you going to do? He’s heartbroken right now and I’m heartbroken for him. He’s having a very good year. But we have New Englands next week, so we’ll see how he does there.”
After Soe defeated Dunn, he had a nearly 4 1/2-hour wait until his title match at 5 p.m., “so I took a little nap and tried to get back into it, but it is what it is,” he added. “I’ll be back for New Englands.”
Joining Soe on the awards podium were his fellow senior tri-captains, 145-pounder Miguel Santana and Soe’s twin brother, 113-pounder Micah Soe, who placed fourth in their weight classes.
“The top three (in each weight class) go to New Englands, so I’m hoping that Miguel and Micah get a bid in,” added Torti. “They’re alternates right now, so you never know. If somebody scratches, they’ll get in.”
Santana had a busy tournament that saw him win four of his six matches, including three straight in the consolation round by scores of 10-3, 6-2, and 7-4.
Micah Soe, meanwhile, went 3-2, with his first loss coming in the semifinals to the eventual state champion, Ponaganset sophomore and two-time R.I. champ Jared Hood. The highlight of his weekend was a 31-second pin of Lincoln senior Zach Henault in his consolation-round opener.
“I’m proud of my guys, especially our three captains,” said Torti, whose team placed ninth out of 36 teams in the standings, marking the fourth time in the last five years they cracked the top 10. “It wasn’t our greatest tournament, but I thought we wrestled well. I thought we’d have a few other guys get in there and place, but it didn’t happen, but we’ll get them next year.”
The Cougars also received a solid performance from junior Cole Hosey, who delivered back-to-back third-round pins in the consolation round of the 182-pound class. NP junior 195-pounder Ebrima Sinyan also picked up two wins in his weight class, as did a North Providence resident who wrestles for La Salle Academy, junior 152-pounder Robert D’Alessio.
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