SWAMPSCOTT — It was senior night for the Marblehead-Swampscott wrestling team on Thursday night. The Black and Blue honored four seniors – captain Nicolai Tarason, AJ Kluge, Drew Roddie, and Roni Snitkovsky. However, Saugus-Peabody emerged victorious (37-33) in a close match that came down to the final match.
Tied at 33, the match came down to its final two wrestlers: Justin Gonzalez for Marblehead-Swampscott, and Antonio Anzalone of Saugus-Peabody.
In the first period, both wrestlers were trying to find an entry point for a takedown. Anzalone found his opening with seconds remaining in the period, taking down Gonzalez right before the buzzer to earn two crucial points.
Having the advantage of controlling Gonzalez’s back to start the second period, Anzalone picked up two more points going into the last period. In the third period, Gonzalez controlled Anzalone’s back, but Anzalone broke free from his grip and took down Gonzalez – essentially icing the match for Saugus-Peabody.
“It was great. It was tight all the way through,” Saugus-Peabody head coach Wayne Moda said. “We started off down and were behind for most of the match until we hit 152 (pounds) and we came back.”
“Tough to lose. We did everything we could, we prepared, and at the end of the day, they wanted it more,” Marblehead-Swampscott head coach Michael Stamison said. “They got more pins and we had more decisions. You have to put guys on their backs and [we] need to stay off of our backs.”
Despite losing the match, the seniors for Marblehead-Swampscott showed out as both Tarason and Roddie won their respective matches via pin.
Tarason made sure to get the job done quickly – winning in 52 seconds. Roddie also helped the Black and Blue get out to an early 12-6 lead.
“Roddie [first-year wrestler as a senior] is figuring it out and he won a big match. He pinned his opponent to keep us in the match,” Stamison said.
“Nicolai [Tarason] has been answering the bell all year. I think he’s 25-7 this year, which is tied for most wins on our team,” Stamison said. “He’s been excellent.”
The Black and Blue won matches via decision, but the early pins from Liam O’Brien, Roddie, and Tarason helped give the Black and Blue a 29-12 lead after eight matches.
Saugus-Peabody, however, refused to go home without the win. Saugus-Peabody rallied off three straight pins from Sam LoRusso, Luke Calder and Will Pinto – which gave the team its first lead of the night 30-29.
“That was huge for us,” Moda said. “Sam and Will are captains and our most seasoned wrestlers. Pretty much every match we count on them to get all six points.”
After the match both coaches were complimentary of each other’s team.
“They’re always a tough opponent. They’re a well coached team and they’re great guys,” Moda said. “We lost to them by one point last year, so two years in a row now we’ve been battling with them.”
“They are well coached and they are tough. Hats off to their coaches,” Stamison said.
Despite losing, Stamison said his team can learn a lot from this. With a team full of freshmen and eighth graders, the experience can only be beneficial. Stamison mentioned that he, as a coach, can learn from this.
“For me, I know full-well what I need to work on for tomorrow and Saturday’s practice,” Stamison said.