CRANSTON — Two of the four heavyweight programs in Division I squared off on Thursday night. Cumberland and Cranston West threw haymakers at each other all night with the defending state champion Clippers getting off the deck to win a 36-28 slugfest.
Cumberland scored five pins, worth six points each in the team scoring, to a pair of deck jobs for the Falcons. Those pins, especially the ones scored by Brandon Ferreri and Tom Lacroix after Cranston West had taken a 25-21 lead after 160 pounds, proved the difference in this topsy-turvy match.
“We’re a pinning team,” Cumberland’s Shoneil Lariviere said after the match ended. “Cradles all day long.”
Cumberland got the night started with Cody Beaudette’s upset win over state runnerup Katelyn Bouyssou at 103 pounds. After Cranston West scored a one-point win at 112 pounds, Cumberland’s terrific trio of Shai and Shoneil Lariviere along with Erik Travers banged out three straight pins for an early 21-3 Cumberland lead.
The Clippers are known for their strength in the lightweights. Cranston West, the perennial state champion until Cumberland broke through last February, rebounded by winning the next five matches to take a 25-21 lead.
“They made a great move at 145 when they put (Everett) Desilets in there,” Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said. “That was worth two wins for them.”
Desilets, a returning state champ who normally wrestles at 152, pinned Nick Maccini at 145 and then the Falcons won another close match at 152 as Alex Pratt edged Chris Smith, 12-10.
When Joe Manni stuck Richard Whitman in 11 seconds at 160 pounds, the Falcons seemed to have all the momentum. But wrestling is an individual sport and the Clippers followed with two wrestlers who manned up at an opportune time. Ferreri got taken down early, reversed and then pinned Graham Thorpe in 1:42 to put Cumberland back on top 27-25 after 171.
Tom Lacroix followed with a dominating win at 189, grabbing a 6-0 lead in the second period before pinning Guillermo Mirambeaux with 25 seconds left in the second period.
Cranston West now trailed 33-25 and needed two major wins to pull out the victory. Ed Caputo grabbed a 4-2 win over Cumberland’s Andre Lussier at 215 but that was a satisfactory result for the Clippers. Cranston West now needed a pin at heavyweight to win the dual-meet.
Cumberland’s Josh Delannoy wrestled smart and decisively in the final match, winning 6-4 over Will Demers, controlling the clock and letting his opponent up rather than roll on the mat and get into a bad situation.
“Josh told me not to worry before he went out there,” Gordon said. “He was cool. Josh wrestled a smart match.”
Gordon saw his team improve to 11-0 heading into next Wednesday’s match against unbeaten Bishop Hendricken. The Clippers finish their dual-meet season at home on Feb. 16 against another unbeaten squad, Warwick Vets.
“Cranston West sets up very well against us,” Gordon said afterwards, summing up the chess match that goes on between coaches in this sport. “We try to pin whenever we can. I thought the pins at 171 and 189 were huge.”
Cranston West coach Matt Claeson thought his team could have done better.
“We lost a couple close matches,” the coach said. “Every pin is big but I don’t think that was the difference in the match. We just didn’t wrestle well in some of the matches. We could have done a better job at 103 and then we got caught at 171.”