WEST NEWBURY — Triton wrestling outlasted a strong effort from a down Pentucket team yesterday to continue on its winning path.
The Vikings posted a 48-33 win over their natural Cape Ann League rivals, although Pentucket made it closer than many expected.
On paper, it didn’t appear to be much of a contest. Triton (18-5) was enjoying victories in 11 of its last 12 meets, and Pentucket (1-13) was in the midst of a rebuilding season. Those in attendance learned quickly, though, that Pentucket head coach Dennis Puleo’s team couldn’t be taken lightly.
The Sachems’ most accomplished wrestler is undoubtedly Josh Wesolowski. First to take to the mat, Wesolowski served as his team’s tone-setter in a strong bout against Triton’s Cody Nixon.
“They’re two of the best wrestlers, not just in the league but in the state,” said Triton head coach Shawn McElligott. “It was 2-0, and you make one mistake, and that’s the difference in those types of matches.”
After six minutes, Wesolowski defeated Nixon 2-0.
“Josh is the 132-pound sectional champion from last year,” said Puleo. “He has wrestled Nixon before. We wanted him to wrestle (Jake) Durkin, but when we lost the coin toss, we had to send Josh out there. But we had the confidence that he would beat either one of them.”
McElligott’s team benefited from a prompt and convincing win from their captain, senior Mark Boyle, who pinned Kolan Boston in just 30 seconds.
“Coach Mac tells me and everyone else where we need a pin, and we just go out and try to get it done,” Boyle said. “It’s just like every other match.”
Also earning pins for Triton were John Boyle, Tom Howell, Brody Johnson and Jake Durkin. Noah Malhi, Sean Clohisy and Kyle Knox were able to pin their opponents for the Sachems to keep the score close.
“We needed one more win, which we almost had, and we needed not to get pinned, and we would have come out on top,” Puleo said. “We just came up short. They forfeited two, we forfeited two, so they beat us soundly on the mat. They’re an excellent team and they wrestled well.”
With the win, Triton earned its 18th win in a season that began with many question marks.
“(Our record) is good, but in the past we have had better records,” Mark Boyle said. “Coming into this season we didn’t know how well we would do, and this is great. We are well-disciplined and thinking too much about our record has never been a problem before. We have good chemistry, so we will continue to stay focused.”
It’s that type of chemistry and mentality that has kept Triton successful this season, including a hard-fought win against a Pentucket team that refused to roll over.
“We know Pentucket is our rival,” Boyle continued. “They always have tricks up their sleeve and Coach Puleo always does different things to try to win the match, so we couldn’t sit back and think we were just going to win it. We all went in with the right mentality and focused on getting the win.”
Both Triton and Pentucket are now off until the CAL/NEC Tournament at Beverly High School on Saturday.