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PROVIDENCE â€” In Saturdayâ€™s semifinal round of the R.I. state championship meet, Cumberland High won four of five bouts to take some of the sting out of its slow start to the tourney on Friday evening.
Cumberland suffered a huge loss on Friday night when two-time state champion Shai Lariviere defaulted in his second match, giving in to a sprained ankle suffered on Monday at practice.
â€śI tried to wrestle but I couldnâ€™t do it,â€ť Lariviere said later.
Cumberland also lost two one-point matches and a three-point decision on Friday night, leaving the Clippers with just five wrestlers alive in the championship bracket heading into the semifinals. Four of those five prevailed, pushing Cumberland back to second place in the team standings, 40 points behind Warwick Vets, a lead that realistically could not be overcome no matter what happened during the rest of Saturdayâ€™s competition.
â€śWe lost 25 team points when Shai got hurt,â€ť Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said. â€śBut Iâ€™m proud of the way we wrestled today in the semifinals.â€ť
Cumberland advanced Cody Beadette (103), Shoneil Lariviere (125), Erik Travers (130) and Tom Lacroix (189) to last nightâ€™s finals (see story, page B1). Heavyweight Josh Delannoy dropped an 8-1 verdict to East Providenceâ€™s Jonah Aurelio in the semifinals.
The biggest surprise of the semifinals came when Lincolnâ€™s Nikolis Zicuis advanced to the state finals at 215 with a 7-5 victory over Hendrickenâ€™s Nate Andrews. Zicuis, who was seeded third among Division II entrants, would face Charihoâ€™s Matt Hemme, whom he had defeated 8-3 earlier this season, in the finals.
â€śMy two takedowns were the difference,â€ť a happy Zicuis said moments after winning his match. â€śI was an underdog coming into the tournament. My goal was just to go hard in every match.â€ť
Lincoln coach Mike Tuorto was almost as happy as his wrestler.
â€śMike was seeded third because he had lost to (Woonsocketâ€™s) Jo Jo Rodriguez and (Ponagansetâ€™s Nathan) Gould during the season,â€ť Tuorto said. â€śBut seedings are just that. They are placements into the bracket. The idea is to win your matches and thatâ€™s what Nik is doing.â€ť
Cumberland began its comeback in the semifinals when Cody Beaudette pinned Cranston Westâ€™s Katelyn Bouyssou with one second left in a match that featured stalling, injury timeouts, an alleged bite and a lot of tears from the Falconsâ€™ senior wrestler.
At 125, Shoneil Lariviere got taken down early before pinning Warwickâ€™s Devin Hurst in 2:43. Lariviere was never in trouble in the match. He went for a big move and missed, resulting in the takedown, then methodically went about pinning his opponent.
Travers followed with a tough 8-5 victory over Woonsocketâ€™s Kody Nordby in the 130 semifinal. The Cumberland sophomore led 8-3 early in the third period before getting taken down right after escaping. Nordby just missed scoring back points on his takedown as Travers quickly spun off his back. Nordby rode Travers hard and kept working for back points over the final minute, to no avail.
At 189, Cumberlandâ€™s Tom Lacroix pinned Hendrickenâ€™s Jeff Techinten at the 5:14 mark in a match that was scoreless heading into the third period. Lacroix had ridden Techinten for the entire second period, then reversed his rival midway through the final period. He quickly turned a tiring Techinten and scored the pin that gave Cumberland four wrestlers in the finals.
Zicuis followed with his victory at 215, giving the Blackstone Valley five wrestlers in the finals. East Providence added four finalists and stood in fifth place in the team standings.
Cumberlandâ€™s toughest loss on Friday night came when top seed Nick Maccini dropped a 2-1 decision to Middletownâ€™s Robert Mey at 145 in the second round. Clippers 152-pounder Chris Smith dropped a 6-4 decision in the quarterfinals to Mount Hopeâ€™s Bailey Ziobro.
â€śWinning a state team title isnâ€™t easy,â€ť Steve Gordon said on Saturday morning. â€śEverything has to fall in place, even for the best teams. Youâ€™ve got to win close matches and not get anyone hurt. Shai had never missed a match before last night during his entire four years with the team. I hate to see his career end this way but he goes down as one of the great wrestlers in school history.â€ť
R.I. STATE MEET
103 â€“ John Altieri (Warwick) pinned Jason Davol (Hendricken) 1:11; Cody Beaudette (Cumb) pinned Katelyn Bouyssou 5:59
112 â€“ Matia Alverez (Hendricken) won by tech fall (15-0) over Alex Dâ€™Aloisio (Lincoln); Nate Colicci (Warwick) def. Brett Lessuer (Cranston West) 2-0.
119 â€“ Anthony Meyers (Warwick) pinned Nick Parente (Hendricken) 5:57; Jacob Burrows (E.P.) def. Mike Murphy (North Prov) 5-0
125 â€“ Shoneil Lariviere (Cumb) pinned Devin Hurst (Warwick) 2:43; Joao Vicente (E.P.) def. Derek Adams (Chariho) 5-2
130 â€“ Mike Meyers (Warwick) def. Christian Labrie (EWG) 9-3; Erik Travers (Cumb) def. Kody Nordby (Woon) 8-5
135 â€“ Ricondo Cole (Cranston West) pinned Justin Caparco (Johnston) 3:40; Andrew Labrie (EWG) def. Mike Gelardi (Hendricken) 7-3
140 â€“Everett Desilets (Cranston Weset) pinned Dan Duffy (S.K.) 3:29; Vinny Venticinque (Warwick) def. Emerson DeBrito (N.P.) 6-5
145 â€“ Ryan McLarney (Hendricken) pinned Robert Mey (Midd) 3:23; Stephen Jarrell (E.G.) def. Joe Pecchia (Johnston) 7-4
152 â€“ Alex Pratt (Cranston West) def. Bailey Ziobro (Mt. Hope) 4-3; Mike Gaudiana (Johnston) def. George Schmeider (Warwick) 4-3
160 â€“ Jared Burrows (E.P.) def. Kyle Aubin (Hendricken) 19-8; Mike Georges (LaSalle) def. Vance Dewey (Chariho) 4-3
171 â€“ Nick Salois (Warwick) def. Bret Peltier (Hendricken) 13-5; Dan Reiss (S.K.) def. Chris Cole (Chariho) 13-5
189 â€“ Tom Lacroix (Cumb) pinned Jeff Techinten (Hendricken) 5:14; Jason Zeramby (N.K.) def. Carl Neff (EWG) 12-6
215 â€“ Matt Hemme (Chariho) def. Ryan Smith (S.K.) 3-1; Nikolis Zicuis (Lincoln) def. Nate Andrews (Hendricken) 7-5
285 â€“ Jonah Aurelio (E.P.) def. Josh Delannoy (Cumb) 8-1; J.P. Harris (Westerly) def. Pearce Thompson (Warwick) 2-1