CUMBERLAND — East Providence came out on fire and pushed Cumberland to the brink of dual-meet defeat for the first time in three years on Monday morning before the Clippers turned the tables for an exciting 40-32 conquest of the Townies.
“We came out lazy in the Warwick tournament on Saturday,” said Townies’ leader Joao Vicente. “Coach (Tom Galligan) warned us we couldn’t do that against Cumberland. Today, we came out very warm.”
The Townies won five of the first six matches to build a 23-6 advantage.
“I was pretty scared,” Cumberland captain Tom LaCroix said. “We didn’t want to lose today.”
The meet turned twice on coaching decisions. Galligan wrestled Vicente, a 126-pounder and the defending state champion, at 138 pounds and the move paid off with an 11-2 victory over Jon Maccini, normally one of Cumberland’s most reliable wrestlers … against anyone but Vicente, who beat two-time state champ Shoneil Lariviere in the state finals last winter, and ranks with the best in New England this year.
“Vicente is brutal,” Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said. “He wrestled up two weight classes and manhandled our guy. He is definitely New England champion material.”
Vicente wasn’t the only Townie who gave away weight and still produced a victory. Colin Cardoso, who is 90 pounds soaking wet, pinned Cumberland’s Dylan Bross in the 106-pound opener to get the Townies off to a fast start.
“That kid is a real ball of fire who is a very sound wrestler,” Gordon added. “My kid couldn’t get away from his legs.”
After Cumberland’s Cody Beaudette scored a pin at 113, East Providence won the next four matches to build its 23-6 lead. Returning state champion Jacob Burrows notched a 7-2 win over Cumberland’s Sean Creamer at 132 but the Clippers did manage to avoid pins in three matches between 126 and 138, and that would prove important at the end.
“I knew it was our turn once we got to 145,” Gordon said. He got a 13-0 win from Erik Travers at that weight, and then Max Carlsten pinned Austin Baptisa at 152, cutting E.P.’s lead to 23-16.
E.P. got a solid 11-4 victory from Dom Ferreira over Aaron O’Toole at 160 to take a 26-16 lead in team scoring.
Gordon then flip-flopped his next two wrestlers. Bill Spaziano and Chris Hayes both weighed in at 170 pounds.
“I decided to put the stronger guy (Hayes) at 180,” Gordon said. Both Spaziano and Hayes came up with pins to put Cumberland ahead, 28-26.
LaCroix, who is unbeaten this season and ranked No. 1 in the state at 195, then went out and pinned Corey Cinquegrana in 32 seconds to give Cumberland an eight-point lead with two matches left.
Since East Providence had defending state champion Jonah Aurelio waiting in the wings at 285, Cumberland’s Cam Williamson took to the mat knowing he needed to win, otherwise his team would likely lose the meet.
“I wasn’t thinking about pressure,” said Williamson, who is 5-3 in Rhode Island matches this season. “I only worry about my opponent out there on the mat.”
After a scoreless first period, Williamson reversed out of the bottom position with a move that took three seconds to complete after the referee blew his whistle to start the second stanza. Wrestling decisively, Williamson smashed a crushing half-nelson on E.P.’s Mike Pires and took him to the mat, pinning his foe 44 seconds into the period. Williamson’s hold was so strong, Pires couldn’t raise his right arm to shake hands after the referee slapped his hand to the mat, signaling a pin that gave Cumberland an insurmountable 40-26 lead.
As expected, Aurelio then scored a quick pin to end the meet on a positive note for East Providence.
“I thought every one of our kids wrestled to the best of his ability,” Galligan said. “It was very intense out there. Cumberland came through in the clutch. I really didn’t even know what our lead was. I had to ask somebody. The big thing for us is coming in here and wrestling well. We want to keep getting better as we prepare for the state meet next month.”
Vicente echoed his coach’s remarks.
“Coach always tells us he doesn’t worry about the dual-meet season,” the always-smiling and positive Townie admitted. “Nobody remembers you lost a dual-meet in January. It would have been nice to beat Cumberland but the main thing is we worked hard and wrestled well.”
Cumberland finished the match with six pins to three for East Providence. The difference between a pin and a standard victory of eight points or less is three points so the Clippers earned nine more points with pins than East Providence did. And that was the difference between victory and defeat.
East Providence finished Monday’s quad meet with a pair of wins and is now 6-2 on the season. Cumberland swept its matches and improved to 11-0 on the season with five matches left, including a big one on Feb. 8 at home against unbeaten Bishop Hendricken.
The Clippers finished 16-0 the last two seasons. Their last loss came late in the 2009 season against state champion Warwick Veterans, which came back to win the state title last year after Cumberland won the prestigious team title in 2010.
The state tournament is indeed more important than the dual-meet title. But you can’t knock Cumberland’s consistency. Since 2008, Cumberland has won 74 of its last 75 dual-meets.
Cumberland 40, East Providence 32
106 – Colin Cardoso (EP) pinned Dylan Bross 5:16
113 – Cody Beaudette (CUMB) pinned Jordan Williams 1:30
120 – Demetrius Fennel (EP) pinned Kris Nordby 2:49
126 – Oakgar Maunt (EP) def. Nick Tribelli 12-0
132 – Jacob Burrows (EP) def. Sean Cramer 7-2
138 – Joao Vicente (EP) def. Jon Maccini 11-2
145 – Erik Travers ((CUMB) def. Alex Abatecola 13-0
152 – Max Carlstein (CUMB) pinned Austin Baptista 5:11
160 – Dom Ferreira (CUMB) def. Aaron O’Toole 11-4
170 – Bill Spaziano (CUMB) pinned Brian Burns 3:26
180 – Chris Hayes (CUMB) pinned Pedro Rodriguez 1:07
195 – Tom LaCroix (CUMB) pinned Corey Cinquegrana 0:32
220 – Cam Williamson (CUMB) pinned Mike Pires 2:44
285 – Joan Aurelio (EP) pinned Jordan Gaudette 0:36
CUMBERLAND — After defeating East Providence 40-32 in its opener on Monday morning, Cumberland overpowered Burrillville 68-12 and Pilgrim 73-3 to finish out the quadrangular meet.
Cumberland is now 11-0 on the season with five meets left. The Clippers visit La Salle on Jan. 26 for their next match.
Cumberland 68, Burrillville 12
106 – Dylan Bross © pinned Richard Fox 1:15
113 – Cody Beaudette © pinned Gunnar Merchant 0:14
120 – Kris Nordby © won by forfeit
126 – Nick Tribelli © pinned Jacob Merchant 1:14
132 – Sean Creamer © pinned Jack Collins 0:30
138 – Jon Maccini won by tech fall over Brayton Round 16-1
145 – Erik Travers © pinned Slade Dichiaro 0:51
152 – Max Carlsten © pinned William Polland 0:53
160 – Aaron O’Toole © def. Anthony Greeno 5-2
170 – Chris Hayes © pinned Jackson Weintraub 1:22
182 – Patrick O’Connor (B) pinned Billy Spaziano 2:58
195 – Tom LaCroix © pinned Ryan Harty 0:50
220 – Cam Williamson © pinned Casey Cook 0:37
285 – Shane Desautel (B) pinned Jordan Gaudette 0:40
Cumberland 73, Pilgrim 3
120 – Jordan DeSisto (P) def. Kris Nordby 6-2
126 – Nick Tribelli © pinned Brianna Florio 0:36
132 – Sean Creamer © won by tech fall over Brian Ledo 16-0
138 – Jon Maccini © def. Mark Lenz 3-1
145 – Erik Travers © pinned Chad Jackman 2:28
152 – Zach Sullivan © pinned Brandon Cavanaugh 3:04
160 – Aaron O’Toole © pinned Jacob McMullen 0:31
170 – Chris Hayes © pinned Austin Lemire 4:33
195 – Tom LaCroix © pinned Mike Mike Tercehtte 0:33
220 – Cam Williamson © pinned Gage Potter 0:51