While team depth continues to be a concern within the Londonderry High School wrestling program, a crew of skilled veteran returnees and some promising newcomers have Lancers’ coach Jason Cucolo excited about what some of his charges can achieve on the mats between now and mid-March.
The Lancers lost some highly-talented veterans at the close of a somewhat so-so 2016-17 season earlier this calendar year, with former seniors Drew Chase, Colin Reardon, and Tyler Byrd all making their departures via graduation. But there are some fine, battle-tested veterans back in the LHS fold this season, including lone current seniors Craig Santos and Alex Boucher and junior Ben Psaledas. Skilled sophomores Mike Watts and Brandon Drake have also returned.
The contingent’s newcomers include E.J. Donovan, Johnny McKinnon, Dylan Barnes, Alejandro Arnaiz, and Aiden O’Loughlin.
Santos finished third in his 156-pound weight class at the 2016-17 Division I tournament, and then followed up that effort by snagging a sixth place medal at the state Meet of Champions.
Boucher notched fourth place in his 182-pound division at the D-I event, and Psaledas – fresh off of an all-conference season as a linebacker for the Londonderry High football squad – returns after finishing as the runner-up in the 195-pound class at the 2016-17 D-I wrestling meet and then bagging fifth at the Meet of Champs.
Watts and Drake both collected vital competitive high school experience as freshmen last winter and will look to build upon that solid foundation this season.
“As for returners, I think we have a few that can qualify for New Englands and do well in states,” said Cucolo. “Overall, we are a very young team, with only two seniors, and we have a good group of young wrestlers all with experience. Our numbers still hurt us in that we will have two to three forfeits and who knows, maybe more. But I am really looking forward to this year with the talent we have. Our goal is to improve every day, and that is something these kids do an excellent job at year after year.”
The Lancers got their 2017-18 campaign officially under way on Wednesday, Dec. 6 – after Londonderry Times press time – at Nashua High School North. And they’ll be all kinds of busy through the remainder of the current year, taking part in the annual Devin Ness Invitational in Easton, Mass. this Saturday Dec. 9, hosting their own invitational on Saturday Dec. 16, and testing their mettle against great competition at the annual Lowell (Mass.) Invitational on Dec. 28 and 29.