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WARWICK ‚Äď Things were not looking good for Cumberland High three matches into its regular season finale against defending state team tourney champion Warwick Veterans on Wednesday evening.
The Clippers, seeking their 57th consecutive dual-meet victory and third straight unbeaten season, trailed Warwick Vets 15-0. Cumberland needed to make something happen in a hurry and Nick Tribelli answered the call with a stunning pin at 126 pounds.
‚ÄúOnce we got that win from Nick, I knew we had a shot,‚ÄĚ Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said after his Clippers rallied for a 44-29 triumph.
Tribelli, who has battled a shoulder injury in recent weeks, is not your typical Cumberland hero.
‚ÄúNick has been in and out of the lineup with injuries,‚ÄĚ Gordon said. ‚ÄúI asked him this week: Are you ready? I guess he was!‚ÄĚ
Cumberland then won four straight matches through the heart of its lineup, getting a five-point tech fall from Sean Creamer at 132 followed by pins from Jon Maccini, Erik Travers and Max Carlsten that put the Clippers on top, 29-15.
Warwick Vets, which boasts more elite wrestlers than any team in the state, then got three wins in a row from 160 through 182 to tie the match at 29 heading into the 195-pound match.
Here‚Äôs where a little inside wrestling strategy paid off. Cumberland had won the coin toss before the match, allowing the Clippers to choose either the odd or even matches for sending out the first wrestler. Knowing Warwick Veterans was short one wrestler at the upper end of its lineup, Gordon chose to have last call at 195 pounds, where unbeaten Tom LaCroix serves as the dual-meet decider in close matches.
When Warwick decided to forfeit at 195, Gordon sent reserve wrestler Barrett Bernier out to accept the six points. LaCroix moved up to 220 where he would pin Aaron Hurst in the second period to clinch the victory for Cumberland.
Cumberland‚Äôs regular 220-pounder, Cam Williamson, then went out and scored a 2-1 victory over Casey Beauregard in an anti-climatic heavyweight match. Williamson was giving away at least 50 pounds to Warwick‚Äôs full-time heavyweight.
‚ÄúIt might have turned out the same way if they had sent a wrestler out at 195,‚ÄĚ Gordon ventured. ‚ÄúTommy would have won that match and then Cam would have won by forfeit at 220. Either way, we win.‚ÄĚ
Over the past five dual-meet seasons, Cumberland has won 79 league matches against one loss to Cranston West near the end of the 2009 season. Dual-meet championships are quickly forgotten in the run-up to the state tournament, the one Warwick Vets took away from Cumberland last February.
Cumberland won state team tourney titles in 2005 and 2010, even as it dominated the dual-meet scene almost every year. The state tournament is a whole different setup with individual wrestlers from Division II impacting almost every weight class in one way or another.
‚ÄúThe state tournament is going to be wide-open this year,‚ÄĚ East Providence coach Tom Galligan said before sitting down to watch Warwick Vets host Cumberland. ‚ÄúAnything can happen.‚ÄĚ
Galligan was among many wrestling buffs who thought Warwick had a chance to spoil Cumberland‚Äôs unbeaten season. This certainly seemed like a ‚Äútrap‚ÄĚ match for Cumberland, which upset Warwick last year at the end of the dual-meet season on its home mat, then lost to the Hurricanes in the more prestigious state tourney.
This time around, Warwick came in as the underdog. The ‚ÄėCanes went out and got a startling pin in the third period from Devin Lourenco at 106 pounds. Cumberland‚Äôs Dylan Bross had a 10-6 lead when he tried to pin Lourenco. Bross got too high and Lourenco rolled him over and earned the pin for himself.
At 113, Cumberland‚Äôs Cody Beaudette seemed on his way to reversing his state title match loss lastd year at 103 pounds to Warwick‚Äôs John Altieri, taking a 10-6 lead with 58 seconds left before the Hurricane escaped, took Beaudette down, let him up, took him down again to send the match into overtime, and then got a quick two-pointer in OT to win, 13-11.
‚ÄúCody just stopped wrestling,‚ÄĚ Gordon said with a grimace.
Warwick‚Äôs Nate Colicci, No. 1 in the state at 120 pounds, pinned Kris Nordby early in the second period to make it 15-0 after three matches.
The Clippers came back and won, scoring five pins to three for Warwick, a 12-point advantage that played out big at the end, along with the six points they accepted for the forfeit at 195.
Cumberland now takes a break before gearing up for the state tourney scheduled for Feb. 24-25 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy. As good as the Clippers are in dual-meets, they will be just one of four or five serious contenders at the state meet.
Cumberland 44, Warwick Vets 29
106 ‚Äď Devin Lourenco (WV) pinned Dylan Bross 5:18
113 ‚Äď John Altieri (WV) def. Cody Beaudette 13-11, OT
120 ‚Äď Nate Colicci (WV) pinned Kris Nordby 2:30
126 ‚Äď Nick Tribelli (CUMB) pinned Tom Galligan 2:49
132 ‚Äď Sean Creamer (CUMB) won by tech fall over Andres Sarza 15-1
138 ‚Äď Jon Maccini (CUMB) pinned Diego Martinez 1:42
145 ‚Äď Erik Travers (CUMB) pinned Aaron Gordon 1:11
152 ‚Äď Max Carlsten (CUMB) pinned Steve Adwe 1:35
160 ‚Äď George Schmeider (WV) def. Aaron O‚ÄôToole 5-2
170 ‚Äď Devin Hurst (WV) won by tech fall over Chris Hayes, 15-0
182 ‚Äď Nick Salois (WV) pinned William Spazaino 0:44
195 ‚Äď Barrett Bernier (CUMB) won by forfeit
215 ‚Äď Tom LaCroix (CUMB) pinned Aaron Hurst 2:45
285 ‚Äď Cam Williamson (CUMB) def. Casey Beauregard 2-1