By Kevin Saxe
SPRINGFIELD — The sweat and perspiration, ran down the faces of teammates Chris Trelli and Gianni Manginelli. They were face to face, nose to nose and then in an instant Trelli, was able to score the first of his two takedowns in the match. When the final shriek of the referees whistle blew to signal the end of the third period, the score read 6-2 in favor of Trelli. The sophomore Trelli had bested his freshmen teammate Manginelli in the finals of the 133 pound weight class at the annual Doug Parker Invitational in the Field House on Saturday. For Trelli it was a sense of retribution after finishing fourth at the event last year.
“It feels great. Last year I got fourth and I lost to a graduating senior Nick Derosa 3-2. Coming back this year just trying to wrestle and dominate, I was pretty dominant today. It felt good to be on top.”
For the Pride they would be led by the performance at 133, to finish sixth as a team with a score of 85.5 points. Outpacing the field was Coast Guard which finished with 141.5 points and four individual champions.
For the Pride who were without Ian Tolotti who placed third at 133, as well as 2018 Doug Parker champions at 141 and 285, Ryan Peters and Joe Fusco all out due to injury. For these wrestlers, despite not being able to compete they could still be found at various matches throughout the day coaching their teammates. Head Coach Jason Holder talked about their impact despite being unable to compete.
“We had a seven a.m. workout this morning, Joe Fusco and Ryan Peters were on the mat warming guys up. They put their suits on and they were on the side coaching. They understand this is a team and its leadership of those guys that really is key. They’re helping that team culture and the other guys are buying into the team culture and it’s because of the leadership of these guys.”
For the Pride throughout the season one of their strengths on the season has been the performance from their lighter weights. At 125 despite freshmen standout Joey Manginelli not wrestling the Pride got a sixth place finish out of sophomore Robby Hartling. At 149 the Pride got yet another solid performance out of junior Mike Vietri who would finish third. Holder continues to be impressed with the work of Vietri.
“Vietri’s been great. He was a workhorse for us last year. He won a lot of matches, beat a lot of good kids in the region last year. Now he’s got a spot up at 49 and he’s making use of that. He’s wrestling well there. Vietri’s a kid that is now becoming more consistent in his performances.”
At 133 the Pride not only would have the top two in Trelli and Manginelli, but the Pride would also have the third and fourth place finishers in sophomore Jacque St. Jean and freshmen Chase Parrott. For the Pride to have all four of their wrestlers at 133 in the semis was great but the coaches recognize a need to spread them out to avoid facing each other as well as creating a deeper lineup for dual meets.
“Unfortunately we have to come to blows in the semifinals but I was pretty happy with the outcome. Hopefully we can spread out the weights and we’ll have a good solid lineup down low,” said Graduate Assistant James Kaishian.
“We’re trying to figure it out so we can spread them out a little bit, instead of having them locked in at 33. Hopefully we can get one down to 25 and then one up to 41. We just have to spread them out so they’re not running into each other every week,” said Holder.
The Pride would also get solid performances from sophomore Joe Parsons, juniors Nick Monteleone, and Ryan Gray, and freshmen Donald Grover and Sam Ware, who would all come within one win of placing and wrestling in the fifth place match. However, the Pride would get a pair of fourth place finishes from senior Nick Almonte at 174 and junior Tyson Jones at 285. For Jones who has seen his role increase this season with Joe Fusco not yet competing, Holder is happy with the progression Jones has made.
“He’s developed and figured out what he has and how to win, execute, and score. I love what Tyson’s done. He’s worked hard and he deserves it.”
Despite not placing as high, the Pride were only about 5.5 points behind third place Western New England. Much like the message has been throughout the year, Holder talked about how this tournament was one take a lot out of.
“We’ll go back to work and reevaluate to see what needs to be done to keep improving. This doesn’t change anything like I mentioned last week. We improved on somethings but were exposed on other things, but those things we got exposed in today, we’ll make those adjustments and improve for after Thanksgiving.”
The Pride will have just about two weeks off before they compete in the Messiah Petrofes Invitational on December 6th and 7th. For the Pride the key will be staying focused on the task ahead while also being home for Thanksgiving.
“The thing we need to be focused on is Thanksgiving break and making sure they stay locked in with their discipline, getting workouts in, and eating healthy.”
Photo courtesy Springfield College Athletics