Wamps Finish Fourth in South Sectional Wrestling Tournament
by Tom O’Connell
Last Saturday, the Wamps wrestling team headed to Weymouth High School to compete in the Division 1 South Sectional Tournament. The team eagerly awaited the opportunity to wrestle in the postseason, with eleven of the fourteen participants going to sectionals for the first time. With only a few returning starters, the Wamps had a strong season against many experienced opponents. Braintree finished fourth at the tournament with 134 points.
Eight out of fourteen wrestlers found their way to the podium. Captains David Tso and Brendan Baggett were two notable performances as they took third and fourth, respectively. Rob McDonald, only a junior, stepped up to fill in for the injured Troy Oriola and placed fourth. Oriola has been a committed wrestler since middle school, and faced some of the best opponents at 145 pounds all season. Although it’s unfortunate that Oriola couldn’t wrestle in the post season, his contributions and sacrifices for the team over the last four years are unforgettable. Those who placed fifth and sixth were Brandon Guen, Nick Botsolis, Liam Martin, and Juan Sanchez.
Nick Botsolis displayed an incredible performance, upsetting the third seed, Jon Pickering of Weymouth, in a competitive heavyweight bracket in his first match. Botsolis moved on to face the second seed, losing an intense match to go to the finals. A controversial call took his lead with seconds left on the clock, bringing his championship run to a bitter close. Botsolis took on several strong opponents, and earned fifth place at the end of the day.
Those who did not place in the tournament wrestled hard and made their opponents earn each victory. Jarell Samuel fought a tough bout against number one seed and eventual champion at 113 pounds, Dylan Finlay of Plymouth South. Although it was a tough loss, Samuel was a good competitor and a fair sport. Thinh Vuu at 132 pounds wrestled in one of the most difficult brackets of the tournament. Vuu competed in several close matches, and was knocked out of the championship running by a controversial one point decision. Paul Mullin also wrestled in a tough weight class, and lost a difficult match at 195 pounds.
Although many of Braintree’s starters will graduate by next season, the team has developed a strong base to remain successful, evident in the performance of the younger wrestlers. Juniors Liam Martin and Rob McDonald both placed, with McDonald advancing to the state tournament next week in Lawrence. Freshman Brandon Guen made a name for himself in the sport, earning fifth place at sectionals to end his first season of wrestling. Guen avenged his first round loss to earn his medal in the final match.
“It’s great to see so much young talent on this team,” said Captain Paul Mullin of his young teammates, “The fact that Rob, Liam, and Brandon all made it to the podium in their sectional debuts just shows how strong they will be next season.”
The Wamps wrestling team had a respectable sectional performance, sending several wrestlers to the state tournament. The returning participants look forward to an even better tournament next season.