NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 4, 2014

The road to number one

Pentucket's Wesolowski has sights on state title

By Tim Lima
Sports Reporter

---- — WEST NEWBURY – As only a junior, Josh Wesolowski is already well on his way to becoming the best wrestler in the history of Pentucket Regional High.

But it’s not on his immediate list of goals.

“I think its something that I just want to accomplish on the way,” Wesolowski said. “It’s not one of my main goals, but it’d be awesome because Tom (Funk) and I are competitive. I set goals for placing in tournaments and where I want to be at the end of a season and things like that. If I beat his record, though, I would love that.”

Tom Funk graduated last year after setting the Pentucket all-time wins record at 131. As a sophomore, Wesolowski tallied 41 wins and just 6 losses, earned a sectional championship, placed third in the state, eighth in the all-state tournament and was one match away from making it to the New England tournament. A month into his junior season, he already has a 15-1 record.

“Nowadays, kids wrestle more than they ever have,” said Pentucket head coach Dennis Puleo. “In this era we are in now with kids wrestling in so many matches, he should reach and surpass the win amount of anyone who ever wrestled at Pentucket. As a senior he will definitely surpass the record.”

Wesolowski is fresh off his first-place finish at the Pentucket Holiday Tournament. Wrestling in the 138-pound weight class, he bested 15 other wrestlers to become the champion.

“It was a pretty solid tournament,” Wesolowski said. “It was a 16-man bracket with 16 wrestlers competing. I pinned my first two kids, won a close match against Whittier’s 138-pound man by a score of 4-2, then won 6-1 in the finals against Constantine Galanis from Georgetown.”

Wesolowski’s success on the mat is due in his large part to his never faltering commitment to bettering his craft. Wesolowski works diligently during the off-season to prepare for the wrestling season, while also focusing on playing football and lacrosse.

“(Wesolowski) is a very dedicated, intense individual,” Puelo said. “He’s constantly working on and off the mat and even during football. He goes beyond what he has to do. He just has no stop in him; whether he’s winning or losing he just constantly goes and continues to try to succeed.”

Along with learning how to be a better wrestler, Wesolowski has also focused on becoming a better, more understanding leader. He is a first-time captain, and was already voted as a football captain for next season.

“One of the main things I do that makes me a good captain is try to understand kids on the team and know what they respond to,” he said. “Some kids need quiet encouragement while some kids respond to being yelled at.”

The Sachems are a young team and are growing by facing some of the best schools that Massachusetts has to offer. As a Division 3 program, Pentucket has already faced several D1 teams and fought hard despite the outcome.

“Right now, it’s a learning experience for most of our wrestlers,” Puleo said. “We are 1-5, but I feel that we had the opportunity to win a couple matches early in the season. We have gone against Framingham, Lawrence, Reading and St. John’s Prep which are all D-1 schools. They have more individual wrestlers to choose from. Our record isn’t indicative of how well we can wrestle.”

For Wesolowski, the never-quit approach he exhibits as a wrestler is something that has been contagious to the rest of his team. Having a team of wrestlers who are determined to get better is something he knows will only mean good things for the future of Pentucket wrestling.

“We have a very young team,” he said. “But when I see our kids wrestle, I don’t see any kid who has ever quit. You can’t teach people not to be quitters, and we don’t have any. I think we will only get better.”