Winnisquam’s Tyler Field is airborne while trying to corral Plymouth’s Adam Hughes during their match at 126 pounds on Jan. 30 in Tilton. The visiting Bobcats earned a 53-28 win in Division III dual meet action. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
February 04, 2013TILTON – Paul Hrycuna saw his Winnisquam Regional High School wrestling team take some steps forward on Jan. 30. And while the host Bears weren't able to hang with perennial power Plymouth Regional, there were positives to be taken away for the first-year Winnisquam head coach.
"(Plymouth) bumped some guys around (in their lineup)," explained Hrycuna, whose team fell to 7-3 on the season with a 53-28 loss to the Bobcats. "To me, that's respect. You only bump guys around when you're trying to be strategic against a team. It shows that they're thinking about us."
Both lineups were altered a bit after the initial matches were announced, with the two sides jockeying for position in hopes of favorable matchups.
"Like I said, it's a sign of respect," Hrycuna said. "Last year, who was even thinking about Winnisquam? Now this year you've got a team like Plymouth changing some things up."
Sophomore Richie Mills continued his strong season on the mats, as he was one of two Winnisquam wrestlers to register pins on the night. Mills, who won a Division III state championship at 170 pounds last year as a freshman, pinned Plymouth's Dennis White at the 2:30 mark in their 182-pound match.
"They're definitely a good team," said Mills of Plymouth. "We have a full team this year which is really nice to see. It's cool to see how Winnisquam can match up against Plymouth and hopefully we'll be able to take them in the near future."
Mills has big goals for the rest of the wrestling season, as he'll look to qualify for the New England Championships after just missing out last year. Mills took fourth place at the Meet of Champions in 2012.
"To get a Winnisquam guy in New Englands would be huge," said Hrycuna. "These next two weeks are vital for everything to solidify."
While Mills burst onto the scene last year as a rookie, he knows he won't have the luxury of being an unknown when the state tournament rolls around this time around.
"Wrestling is a big community," he explained. "I like that part of it because you feel connected. But now I'm known. I'm not the underdog anymore which I kind of miss but you've just got to be ready for whatever people throw at you now. I've just got to work even harder."
In addition to Mills' pin, the Bears also got a strong showing at 106 pounds from Logan Patten. The scrappy Patten jumped out to an 8-0 lead after one period before pinning Plymouth's Tyler Mersch 2:27 into the match.
"All of our guys wrestled tough," said Hrycuna. "I really can't complain. We've got a bunch of first year wrestlers going so I'm happy with the performance. We've just got to keep working hard."
Justin Serrano picked up a win for Winnisquam at 138 pounds, as he defeated Plymouth's Thomas Hamel in a major decision, 12-0. Chandler Ranni (132 pounds) and Tyler Swain (113 pounds) also earned points for the Bears via forfeits.
Jared Blount also wrestled well for the Bears at 145 pounds in the final match of the evening against Plymouth's Cody Avery. Blount took an early 2-1 lead in the first period before Avery secured a reversal to take a 3-2 lead. After a scoreless second period, Avery managed to grab a pin 31 seconds into the third to pick up the Bobcats' final six points of the night and secure the 53-28 final.
The dual season has been pretty kind to the Bears this winter however, as the team's 7-3 mark entering last night's meet with Bow has them in the upper portion of the Division III standings. Winnisquam's only losses came to Plymouth, John Stark and Windham, three powerhouse teams.
"Those are all very good programs," said Hrycuna. "This is kind of the new standard that we're hoping to establish for the future as we build this program up."