NORTH KINGSTOWN — It was the elephant in the room Thursday night North Kingstown High.
Just one night earlier the Coventry High wrestling team had lost its first dual meet of the season in frustrating circumstances to North Providence, while the Skippers were blown out at home by Hendricken.
The Oakers, who are competing in the much tougher Division I-North, responded better from their defeat as Nick Bottella, Christian, Bottella and Dylan Olson gave the Oakers a comfortable lead and junior Joe Nardolillo put an exclamation put on the meet with a pin in 20 seconds in Coventry’s 37-30 crossover win.
“I think tonight was a huge improvement for a lot of guys,” Coventry assistant coach Mike Buccaci said. “They came out, wrestled more offensive, more aggressive and more technical. We knew we had room for improvement after the other night and the kids showed that tonight.”
Coventry (5-1) knows it can’t afford too many more losses if it wants to finish near the top of the division because Cumberland, Vets, Hendricken and Cranston West are all undefeated and all dominating their inferior opponents early in the season.
North Kingstown (3-3) won its first two meets of the season but has since dropped matches to Vets, Hendricken and Coventry. The Skippers are right in the middle of the I-South race with Chariho and Mt. Hope.
First-year coach Alex Petrucci saw improvement Thursday night, but he knows his team has to wrestle smarter in close matches to beat some of the top teams in the state.
“I would say it was a small improvement from Hendricken,” Petrucci said. “It’s a big improvement from the way we wrestled, but a small improvement from the way we should be wrestling. I think we could have pulled it out if we didn’t lose the two matches (140 and 152) that we shouldn’t lost.”