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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
In a huge matchup on Saturday morning, the Walpole Rebels’ wrestling team lost to the Braintree Wamps, 39-36. Although they would go on to beat Lawrence and lose to Brookline on the same day (it was a three team meet), it was the loss to Braintree that was most important as far as the league and the Herget Division were concerned.
So, what happened?
The meet started off roughly for the Rebels, with Walpole going down, 19-6, after two losses and a forfeit. However, soon after, Connor Hope would dominate his opponent, culminating in a pin. In the next two matches, Braintree and Walpole traded pins (Walpole’s coming from Donald Muho), resulting in a 29-18 Braintree lead going to the matchup at 170 pounds.
At 170, Jake Valle found himself in a tight match that ended when he got the pin, after trailing 4-1 earlier. At 182, Colin Hile lost, but never seemed overmatched; he dropped the match on a tech fall that had Braintree up, 33-24.
This is where things got very tense. With Manny Rosado and AJ Servello due to end the match, Sam Grant’s matchup at 195 was everything. With all due respect to the Braintree wrestlers, Servello and Rosado were always going to (and did) score easy pin victories for what would be twelve points. If Braintree got the pin, they couldn’t lose. If they only won by points, Servello and Rosado cold force a draw with pins. If Grant won, Walpole would most likely cruise to a match victory.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, in a match that was 2-2 going into the third period, with under thirty seconds left, Grant was pinned, and Braintree celebrated its victory. While Walpole suffered other losses, coach Steve Hile acknowledged the match was huge.
“That was our swing match right there. We win that match, we win the duel. If he just loses by points, we tie. But the worst scenario happened there with twenty seconds left and he got pinned. Worst scenario.”
Coach Hile acknowledged how big a loss it was for the team, while noting that the wrestlers who stood out to him were guys who performed extremely well - though they may not have won their matches.
“It was huge, especially as far as the Herget goes,” remarked the coach. “We needed that win for our league championship, and now we’re going to be in a dogfight with everybody else. I knew this match was going to be close with Braintree. We had a couple swing matches, a couple of kids wrestled great; we just, at the end, came up a bit short. In losses, Alex Takacs and Colin Hile both wrestled ranked kids and they went out there and fought hard. We got wins where we needed to get wins. Those two guys were probably the two standouts. Even though they lost, I thought they did a good job.”