Adversity in the form of injuries and illnesses has challenged the Londonderry High wrestling squad recently. And as a result the Lancers haven’t had some of their team results be as impressive as either they or coach Jason Cucolo would have liked.
Cucolo’s crew absorbed a 48-27 loss at the hands of the rival Pinkerton Academy Astros in Ball Family Trophy competition at LHS Wednesday, Jan. 24, with the competitive centerpiece of that event being the epic 182-pound bout between Lancers’ junior standout Ben Psaledas and Pinkerton sophomore stalwart Sterling McLaughlin.
That battle was scoreless after one period had been completed, but McLaughlin then built up a 5-0 lead during stanza two and eventually pinned his opponent with 27 ticks of the clock left in that period.
“Psaledes had a tough match, and there were moments where he was wrestling well. He just now needs to put it all together and wrestle smart in all positions,” said Cucolo.
The Lancers’ wins were delivered by Josh Bean at 170 pounds with a 5-2 decision against Jacob Dube, Alex Boucher at 195 pounds in a pin of Astro Raul Martinez, Johnny McKinnon with a quick pin of Billy Knapp in the 132-pound bout, Dylan Barnes with a fall against Josh Rebane at 138, and veteran LHS stalwart Craig Santos with a pinning of Marcus Sconza at 145 pounds.
Pinkerton got pin wins from Christian Kuechler at 220 pounds (via pin), Walker Stinson at 113 (on a pin), and David Hammond at 126 pounds. Londonderry also had to hand over forfeits in a handful of divisions.
“We are going through some kids being sick and injured. With that being said, we still forfeit four weight classes instead of the five we did tonight,” said the LHS coach. “We are young and going in the right direction. A few of our freshmen had some good matches, including Dylan Barnes, Johnny McKinnon, and Josh Bean.”
The Lancers then took nine grapplers across the Massachusetts border on Saturday the 27th to compete at the Methuen Invitational. And the locals finished near the middle of the pack there, placing eighth out of some 17 contingents.
Medalling at that event were Santos (second), Psaledas (third), and Aiden O’Loughlin at 113, Brandon Drake at 126, Boucher, and Taylor Dyer at 220 pounds (all sixth places).
Londonderry rolled into this week facing a significant challenge at Concord High School this Wednesday the 31st, battling the tough Concord Crimson Tide on its home mats after Londonderry Times press time.