Barrington Middle School captured the state wrestling title Sunday night, completing an undefeated season and a remarkable turnaround for the program.
“It feels unbelievable,” said head coach Bobby Rodericks following the squad’s 11 -point victory over Coventry.
“It was just a great team effort.”
Barrington’s three eighth grade captains lead the team, as they have all season. Sam Lundsten, Vasilios Meltsakos and Lucas Dillon each won their respective individual state titles at 119 pounds, 148 pounds and 140 pounds, respectively. The trio did not lose a single match this year.
Barrington also had a number of third place finishers that provided crucial points for the team including sixth grader Trent Kellum at 82 pounds, seventh grader Jacob Mosby, at 133 pounds and seventh grader Matt Leonard at 70 pounds, who defeated a number one seeded wrestler from Chariho.
“That’s where you score all your points,” Rodericks said.
“We proved it was a total team effort. Everybody contributed.”
Barrington finished the season with an unblemished 11-0 record. That’s an impressive finish for any team, especially a group that failed to win a single match last year.
The showing also sets a high bar for the program’s future. Rodericks came to Barrington this season. He previously coached wrestling at Riverside Middle School until that community eliminated its middle school sports funding.
Rodericks made a routine of defeating Barrington during his time at Riverside and, after seeing the prowess of Riverside wrestlers, some Barrington parents enlisted the coach to help train their young wrestlers.
Rodericks runs a gym in East Providence, where he continues to train some Riverside and Martin Middle School wrestlers who travel with Barrington but compete as independents.
Barrington High School wrestling coach Drew Genetti also knew a thing or two about Rodericks. The two wrestled one another in high school (Genetti won) and the pair regularly compete with one another as coaches of the Barrington and East Providence High School freshman football teams, respectively.
The middle school squad seemed a bit nervous to start the year, Rodericks said, but by a regional tournament around mid-season the group was hitting full stride. Barrington traveled to Berlin, Conn. in December, finishing second among a group of teams from around New England, New York and New Jersey.
“These kids are very smart. They’re well mannered, they’re well spoken,” Rodericks said of the group.
“They definitely, by the end of the year, they turned the corner as a team. It all came together. They are a fun bunch of guys. No attitudes, no egos. They shake my hand after every practice.”
Rodericks said he had plenty of confidence in his ability to right the ship in Barrington but the near instant change in course was indicative of supporters around him. Rodericks had no shortage of praise for his wrestlers’ parents who helped with everything from rolling out mats before practice to video taping every single match.
Parents even banded together to schedule a banquet for the team this Friday night.
Rodericks also heaped credit upon his assistant coaches including Scott Leonard, Nate Faria, Jordan Almeida and former middle school wrestling coach Dan Poses.
Going forward, Rodericks said the program looks bright. Rodericks said the team was scheduled to workout at his gym on Monday, one day after the state title.
Outside of Barrington, independent wrestlers from East Providence had a good showing at states.
Devin Rivet, a seventh grader at Martin Middle School, won the 96-pound title. He was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Eighth grader Donnie Senna, also of Martin, finished runner-up at 126 pounds.
Middle school wrestlers
Following is a list of wrestlers and their weight classes at Barrington Middle School. The team won the state title on Sunday.
70 — Matthew Leonard
75 — Dallas L. Mashburn
82 — Trent Kellum
89 — George Kellam
96 — Colin Morowitz
104 — Miles Alexandre
112 — Nicholas Rondeau
119 — Samuel Lundsten
126 — Talha Yasin
133 — Jacob Mosby
140 — Lucas Dillon
148 — Vasilios Meltsakos
159 — Tyler Morpeth
170 — Nicholas Rimoshytus
275 — Brandon Ocasio
Morgan J. Alexander,
Benjamin H. Sylvester
Max W. Theroux
Noah C. Wilbur
Cameron C. Clegg