Friendly AND Ferocious

Exeter = author John Irving’s alma mater

From the Hampton (NH) Union

Winnacunnet’s Colin Sullivan (top) maneuvers around Exeter’s Curtis
Hennessey in a 215-pound contest at Saturday’s dual quad-meet in

Friendly and ferocious – Wrestling coach likes what he sees against
Exeter and Concord
By Ken Stejbach
[email protected]

HAMPTON Not long after their wrestling match, Winnacunnet’s Ryan
Boover conversed with Exeter’s Andrew Dawkins.

‘We were just going over how the season’s going and being nice,’said
Boover, the Warriors’ senior co-captain. ‘Saying hi, and just talking.’

Friendly was the atmosphere, and ferocious was the wrestling at
Saturday afternoon’s dual quad-meet between the Warriors, Exeter,
Concord and Merrimack.

Exeter won both its matches, defeating Winnacunnet, 54-30, and
Merrimack, 52-27. Winnacunnet also suffered a 56-10 loss to Concord,
which earlier defeated Merrimack, 80-0.

All-in-all, it was a good afternoon of wrestling and both Winnacunnet
coach Bob Benincasa and Exeter coach Bob Brown liked what they saw from
their respective teams.

Dawkins (160 pounds), Henry Giang (140), Tony Palminsano (189) and
Glenn Guilmette (103) each had a pair of pins for the Blue Hawks. Luke
Holzapfel and Jeff Plue also won a pair of matches for Exeter.
Holzapfel pinned his 152-pound opponent from Winnacunnet, and won a
21-11 decision over his opponent from Merrimack. Plue won by forfeit
against Winnacunnet, won by pin against Merrimack.

Caleb Pine, Josh Cooper, Daniel Kelley, and Andrew Nicol also went 1-1
on the day. Pine and Cooper each pinned their opponents from Merrimack.

Craig Overlock, Colin Sullivan, Boover, Shaun Toomey led the way for
the Warriors. Overlock won both his matches, winning against Exeter by
pin, and against Concord by injury default.

Sullivan (215), Huber (112) and Toomey (135) all recorded pins against

Boover won an impressive 10-4 decision over a top-notch wrestler from
Concord, while Toomey came close against his Concord opponent, losing
6-5. Warrior co-captain Ryan Harrington also went 1-1 on the day,
earning a forfeit win against Exeter.

Benincasa said the the match determined his his team’s identity.

‘We’re made up of a lot of kids who won’t lay down,’ said Benincasa,
who said he saw his wrestlers give 100 percent every time they went out
on the mat. ‘They showed opponents that ‘if you’re going to beat me
you’re going to earn it.”

And that’s what the Exeter’s wrestlers had to do in their dual match
against Winnacunnet.

Brown said Exeter went into the match hoping to score big where it
expected to score, and have the younger and more inexperienced
wrestlers keep the match close.

Pine was losing 8-0 to his Merrimack opponent, but stayed in it, and
eventually won by pin. Palmisano pinned both his opponents. The same
held true for Cooper in his Merrimack match.

‘They’re showing fight, which is good to see,’ said Brown, referring
to his younger wrestlers. ‘They know what to do.’

Benincasa saw that same fight in all his wrestlers.

He said he saw his wrestlers ‘stick their nose in the opponent’s face
and battle for six minutes.’

‘We lost matches, but we didn’t get beaten,’ Benincasa said.

A good example was Brittany Bertolani at 103 pounds.

‘She’s a real tough competitor,’ Benincasa said. ‘She’s going to
surprise a lot of people because of her determination to not give up or
lose. She really has a good handle on that.’

While Brown liked what he saw from his team as a whole, he was a bit
concerned about some of the pins his wrestlers suffered. Before the
meet he told his wrestlers that they owed him a mile for everyone that
got pinned.

Brown was smiling when he said he hadn’t tallied up the number of pins
(miles) at that point, but “there could be a lot of running Monday.’

Kind of put the proper postscript on a good, hard day of wrestling.

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