PROVIDENCE- With lofty expectations going in, the Coventry wrestling team did not disappoint this past weekend at the state tournament, ultimately sending three of their own onto the New England Championships.
Over a two-day span at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, Joziah Fry (106 pounds) Mason Clarke (132) and Sean Caltagirone emerged as the best wrestlers in the state in their respective weight categories.
As a team, Coventry wound up placing fifth overall with a score of 126.5, with Bishop Hendricken claiming the overall title with 221 points.
“I thought they wrestled well the whole tournament,” head coach Charlie Gaffney said of his showing. “We had a couple kids who finished fourth, fifth sixth. I thought they all wrestled well,” he said.
Jacob Remolina came in third place in the 106 weight class, while Aidan Robichaud secured a fourth place finish at 113 pounds.
Fry, Clark and Caltagirone were all expected to emerge at States, with each making a return to New Englands where they will look to build upon last year’s success.
Fry was the closest any Oaker came to securing a New England title, falling just short against Hunter Adrian of Melrose High School (MA) by a 2-1 final.
“He came in second last year. I see him being in the finals again. Hopefully, he wins,” Gaffney said of the junior who is currently undefeated this season.
His other two New England-bound wrestlers are also making a return to the tournament, with their coach expecting good things out of both of them.
“Sean was sixth last year. I’m hoping her gets higher and Mason, I hope he gets a medal,” said Gaffney.
Fry needed just 1:33 over the span of three matches to reach the finals. After enjoying a first round bye, he defeated Andrew Rosa of South Kingstown, Aidan Zabbo of Hendricken and Jacob Felix of Tolman/Shea. In the finals, he pinned Nick Gomes of Hendricken at 2:35.
Though his finals opponent from last year’s New England Championships is no longer in the same weight class, Fry is eager to come out on top next weekend against whomever he faces.
“Hopefully I’ll get first this time around,” he said.
Clarke also received a bye in the opening round before downing Louis Baez of North Providence at 1:29 and Isaiah Guerrero of Hendricken at 2:23. Against Hope High School’s Parris Cooper, Clarke prevailed by a 3-1 final in a match that got testy at times.
“Earlier in the season, about three weeks ago, I beat him 10-3,” he said, recounting his first match with Cooper.
The second time around proved to be more challenging.
“I feel like he was just more prepared,” said Clarke. The emotions, at least on his end, were simply a result of the high stakes of the match.
“(I’m) still a young kid, I still get nervous for these big matches,” he said.
Clarke hopes to carry that emotion into next weekend against the best from New England.
“Definitely placing. Hopefully take top three, obviously I want to win it,” he said of his goals.
Caltagirone rounded out the day with a finals victory over Aidan Faria of Cumberland by a 6-2 count.
“Today went good. The finals match, my nerves were cranked up before then, but once I started getting into the wrestling, they settled down and I knew what to do,” the Oaker said of his win.
After placing eighth and sixth in his previous to trips to New Englands, Caltagirone hopes to crack the top three this time around.