Mt. Hope wrestlers top Westerly

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The Mt. Hope Wrestling Team secured an important victory at home Wednesday night as they took down the Westerly Bulldogs, 55-18.

The Huskies, whose last meet came Thursday against Middletown, showed their strong conditioning throughout the night, setting up a pivotal match Thursday night that could clinch Mt. Hope at least a share of the Division I South title.

“These guys were well rested and showed it,” said Head Coach James McKenna. “Tomorrow is for the co-divisional championship, so it’s time for them to take it home.”

Mt. Hope’s first match  victory of the evening came in the 132 division, where sophomore Christian Torres battled hard against Westerly’s Cody Brown, securing a minor decision to put the Huskies up 15-12.

After a Westerly win in the 138 division tied the score at 15, sophomore Nathan Pimental set the tone for the rest of the night, escaping a near pin in the first period of the 145 division and moving right into a huge pin of his own to give the Huskies a 21-15 advantage.

Junior Ryan Bartell kept the momentum going with a major decision to add four more points to the Mt. Hope lead, while senior captain Bailey Ziobro pinned Westerly’s Bobby Deary in the first period of the 160 division to put the Huskies up 31-15.

Senior captain Byron Thibaudeau followed up a Westerly minor decision win with a pin of his own in the 182 division to extend the Mt. Hope lead to 37-18. After a Westerly forfeit in the 195 division, fellow senior Justin Sampson brought down Westerly’s Tom McGuire with a pin in the 225 division to bring the lead up to 31.

With the victory secured, and one final match to contest, junior Jared Souza put an exclamation point on the night, pinning Westerly’s Nate Leclair in the second round of the 275 division, adding 6 more points to give the Huskies a final score of 55.

“Tonight was a big match for Souza, the heavyweight,” said McKenna. “This was a really big win for him.”

Mt. Hope, who improved to 13-3-1 overall and 10-3-1 in the division, will travel to Warwick Veterans High School Thursday night, controlling their own division co-championship destiny for their regular season finale, and could even earn the outright title with a win and loss by Johnston. Westerly, who dropped to 1-10 on the year, will finish up the season tomorrow night at home against Middletown.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.