Westerly Sun

PROVIDENCE — For a Chariho High wrestler, one of the primary goals is to put your name on the banner in the school’s gym that lists the state and New England champions.

The way things are going, athletic director Mike Shiels might have to purchase a new banner or certainly lengthen the current one.

Three more Chargers captured crowns at the state wrestling tournament Sunday at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.

Kyle Merritt (145 pounds), James Dougherty (170) and Nate Marchione (195) were all victorious in title bouts.

Six wrestlers have accumulated nine titles for the Chargers over the past four years.

Merritt moved to 49-0 with a 6-0 victory against North Kingstown’s Aidan Zarrella in the championship bout. Merritt had a takedown in the first period, a reversal in the second and a takedown in the third for the win. He was in control the entire way.

Getting the first takedown was important.

“That’s very big,” Merritt said. “It definitely boosted my morale. I knew I was taking it to him. That was what I mentally prepared myself for all day. I needed that first takedown. That first takedown sets the tone.”

It was Merritt’s second state title. He won the 113-pound title as a freshman in 2017.

His father, Scott, is the Chariho coach and a former two-time state champion and New England champion for the Chargers. It was an emotional moment for Merritt.

“My grandmother passed away this summer. I told her this season was for her,” Merritt said, overcome by emotion. “I have all my family here; it means a lot to me. It shows they love and support me. Even though my grandmother passed away and she never witnessed a state championship of mine, my grandfather is here and it definitely pushed me to win this tournament.”

Dougherty (44-4) was tied with Cumberland’s Tyler Shaw, 2-2, entering the third period.

He was able to put Shaw to his back with about 1:30 left in the match to earn three points, giving him the title.

“I had his wrist under and I got him down on his head and his legs were so close. I just scooped the cradle, locked it, brought it over and got the backs [points],” Dougherty said. “I knew I was in for a battle. My mindset was I had to want it more, wrestle smart and end up with more points.”

Dougherty’s older brother, Ben, was a two-time state champion and a New England runner-up.

“I saw him win it. I came in fourth that year,” Dougherty said. “I got it done. It takes a lot of work.”

Marchione (45-3) prevailed, 4-2, over South Kingstown’s Ed Wild.

Marchione, who lost in the title bout last season, came out strong with a takedown in the first 30 seconds. He had a reversal in the second period for a 4-0 lead. Marchione was called for stalling in the third period, costing him a point, and Wild got an escape in the final 10 seconds.

“My greatest moment in that match was the very beginning with that takedown,” Marchione said. “I was mentally in it. I wasn’t afraid. I knew this was my senior year, my last year in high school, last year to win states and I wanted it really bad.”

Marchione seemed especially pleased to earn a spot on that banner.

“I’m going to be one of the greats. It feels phenomenal. I’m going to be up there with my coach, his son, Tommy Wrzesien and Ben Dougherty. It feels awesome to be up there with them,” Marchione said.

Chariho’s Dominic Bonnano (39-4) lost a tough match against Cumberland’s Aidan Faria in the finals at 152 pounds.

Faria managed an escape early in the final period to take a 1-0 lead and held off Bonanno from there. Bonanno was the defending state champion in the weight class.

Wade Husing (35-8) fought his way through the consolation bracket to finish third and earn a trip to the New England tournament. Husing defeated Hope’s Maurice Cooper, 7-5, in the bout for third.

Merritt, Dougherty, Marchione and Bonanno will join Husing at New Englands, which start Saturday at Methuen High School in Methuen, Mass.

Cumberland captured the team title with 207.5 points, and Coventry was second with 179. Chariho finished fifth with 129.5.

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