BYFIELD — “It really means everything,” Triton wrestling senior captain Tom Howell said.
“I have been on the team for five years and to win on senior night is really a culmination of everything that you have trained for for so long. It was kind of like one last hurrah.”
The Vikings celebrated their seniors in their last home meet last night by beating Marblehead/Swampscott 35-6.
“For the seniors it’s a big deal,” Triton head coach Shawn McElligott said.
“These guys have been wrestling for us four and sometimes five years. Just to be able to wrestle here one last time is a big deal.”
It’s a smaller gym tucked just beyond the larger gym that plays home to Triton’s basketball teams. Its facilities aren’t top notch, nor is the equipment, but to the Vikings it is a home that is a source of pride for the program.
“Some guys had some big meets here,” McElligott continued.
“Some of them remember their freshman year when we beat Hingham in the state semifinals. This place was packed. Cody Nixon was a freshman here and got a big win, as was Mark Boyle ,who also got a big win. This place means something. A lot of people ask why we wrestle here and not in the big gym, but we have always wrestled here.”
One Viking who was unable to wrestle was Howell. Battling injury through much of his five years with the program, Howell is concluding just his second full healthy season.
“He has battled through injuries since being on the team in the eighth grade,” McElligott said.
“He wrestled last week in the CAL finals, which was a big deal for him.”
Last night, Howell pinned his opponent in just 28 seconds. Triton senior Mark Boyle also won by fall at 3:24, as did senior Cody Nixon at 43 seconds.
Having only three seniors was just the beginning for what many people believed would be a down year for the Vikings. With a smaller team than previous years, few predicted a 19-5 record on Feb. 7.
“Probably the turning point in our season came the first weekend in January when we wrestled Malden Catholic,” McElligott said.
“We were in a meet looking like we were going to come out on the losing end and we had a couple of kids with some injuries. Tommy Howell looked like he had hurt his back and was going to bow out, but he said he wanted to give it one more try and got a pin for us. Mark Boyle pinned one of the better kids in the entire state. Since then I think we have lost only one meet. We were 6-4 at the time and we are 13-1 since. This team really pulled it together.”
The success of his program is something that McElligott hopes will only improve its attention and strengthen its numbers.
“You have a lot more kids asking all of a sudden,” McElligott said.
“You had a lot of people that just assumed we wouldn’t be very good, but we stayed as a close unit, did the right things and worked hard. A lot of people are going to be talking about our program.”
For Howell, his senior year was one he won’t soon forget.
“We have really pulled together as a unit. It was something special. We are all really good friends and love each other. We are one big family on this team.”
113 — Brody Johnson won by fall 1:07
126 — Josh Misiano won by fall 1:20
152 — John Boyle won by technical fall 16-1