GEORGETOWN — There’s good reason why Georgetown’s Chris Paquette and David Ingraham wear their varsity wrestling pins with such pride — they have two more than anyone else.
In 2007, Paquette and Ingraham were a couple of seventh-graders heading toward a winter of discontent. Not entirely smitten with the idea of playing basketball, and because Georgetown is without a hockey program, Ingraham took his father’s advice and joined Mike Curley’s cooperative wrestling team, his introduction to the sport.
“At the first practice, I realized that I was the only young guy there,” said Ingraham, who quickly managed to convince Paquette into joining. “About two weeks into it he joined the team. That was the basis for how we started.”
Six years later, and these once Royal greenhorns are now a pair of fully fledged senior captains who, along with junior Matt Prescott (out with a knee injury suffered during football), are the last remnants of a time when seventh-graders were allowed to join varsity programs at Georgetown.
In accordance with the Georgetown Middle/High School Student Athlete/Parent Handbook, only eighth-graders with a waiver approved by the School Committee will be allowed to join the wrestling team, granted that the minimum roster requirement has not been filled — no middle school student can displace a high school student.
When 132-pound Ingraham and 152-pound Paquette were a duo of 103-pound seventh-graders, neither athlete saw more than just a scrap of legitimate varsity action, Ingraham with one match and Paquette with three, numbers that scarcely grew when they hit the eighth grade.
Curley understands that while a middle-school athlete shouldn’t be given the same expectations of a high-school athlete, it’s hard to deny the importance of those early, formative school years when technique-building can become such a boon for their high school career.