PROVIDENCE — Coventry wrestler Dylan Dupre just finished a fantastic freshman season with a sixth-place finish at the state tournament Saturday. Dupre should have been happy with the result, instead he was thinking about what he needs to do to become an elite wrestler.
“This was a very tough season. You come in as a freshman and you were a (middle school) state champion and you think maybe you have a shot this year,” Dupre said. “You start going into the season and you think ‘Man, this is 10 times harder than you thought.’ You just have to push through the season.
“(Losing to fellow freshman Christian LaBrie) really upset me. That motivated 100 percent. I’ve made the mistake of not wrestling year-round and I see good wrestlers doing that. I want to wrestle year-round and take it all next year.”
It’s that type of thinking that will make Coventry assistant coach Mike Buccaci happy as the former Coventry wrestling standout is pushing for his kids to become 12-month wrestlers just like the elite in the Ocean State.
As it is, the Oakers finished another solid season in Division I with a sixth-place finish (113 points) at the state tournament. Senior captain Nick Bottella (119), junior Dylan Olson (112) and Christian Bottella finished fifth, while Dupre and junior Joe Nardolillo (285) finished sixth.
“As a team I thought we could have done a lot better and I thought I could have done a lot better,” said Nardolillo, who will be a two-year captain next season.
Warwick Vets, which finished second at the state tournament last season, dominated the state tournament with 239 points and three champions. Last year’s state champions, Cumberland, had a tough weekend. The Clippers lost all four of their finals matches and two-time state champ Shai Lariviere had to injury default on Friday night because of an ankle injury.
The Hurricanes ended up with six finalists and one of the came at the expense of the Oakers. Anthony Meyers, who lost in the 119-pound final to East Providence’s Jacob Burrows, defeated Nick Bottella for the second time this season in the quarterfinals Friday night.
Bottella, just like Coventry’s four other place finishers, had to win two matches Saturday morning just to reach the podium. The Oaker captain dominated Hope’s Sovannara Chinn in 2 minutes, 38 seconds in his first consolation match and he reached the consolation semifinals with a win over Toll Gate’s Aaron Travers.
For the second time this season Bottella gave 2010 103-pound state champion Mike Murphy a run for his money. The Cougar earned a 4-2 win before the Oaker finished his career with a fifth-place victory by pin over Hendricken’s Nick Parente.
Even though he was knocked into the consolation bracket on Friday night Olson was still Coventry’s best hope of finishing in the top three and wrestling at New Englands this season. Olson’s run to the podium began with a 4-0 victory over Cumberland’s Kris Nordby before a one-point win over Pilgrim’s Jordan DeSisto.
In the consolation semifinals Olson was hoping to avenge a dual-meet loss to Cranston West’ Brett Lesseur. Olson lost the one-point match in the third period as the Falcon went on to claim third place and a spot at New Englands.
“At some points I wrestled really good and at other points I know I could have done better,” Olson said after he pinned Kevin Benitez for fifth place. “I knew I had to wrestle back some from my team, but I had to do it for myself.”
Based on mat time, Christian Bottella was probably the Oaker in most need of rest following Saturday night’s finale. The junior pinned his first opponent, but his remaining five matches went all six minutes. After losing to Devon Hurst in the quarters, Bottella won three decisions in the consolation bracket to claim fifth.
The junior’s only loss Saturday came to Chariho’s Derek Adams, who was 10 seconds away from wrestling for the state title. Adams, a short, powerful 125-pounder, defeated Bottella 13-0 before Bottella beat Damon Raposa 5-2.
“I did pretty good, I was seeded fifth and I took fifth,” Bottella said. “I just need to work on my shooting and I need to score more points from top.”
Dupre, who was one of three freshmen wrestling for the Oakers over the weekend, rebounded from the humbling loss to LaBrie Friday night. The Oaker beat North Kingstown’s Liam Walsh and Middletown’s Zach Brietzke (5-1). Dupre was defeated in his final two matches, but he knows there’s room to grow.
Nardolillo, an undersized 285-pounder, pinned Hendricken’s Billy Stewart in the second period of his first match Saturday before defeating Cranston West’s William Demers 4-1. Nardolillo was pinned in his final two matches of the tournament.
The junior will be back next season and he has plenty of motivation after watching East Providence sophomore Jonah Aurelio pin J.P. Harris in the 285-pound final.
“I can definitely build on this year because I improved a lot,” Nardolillo said. “I know I need to do more from neutral and I need to be more aggressive. I just have to be more confident with my moves.”
No other Oaker came within a match of placing, while West Warwick only had one wrestler reach Saturday’s proceedings. After the Wizards lost Alex Carter (160) and Jorge Aguilar (285) Friday night, Alex Teoli (215) was bounced from the tournament Saturday morning.
Teoli, who scored West Warwick’s only points with a 4-3 win over Jeremy Cimbron, lost to Jo Jo Rodriguez 7-0.