NORTH EASTHAM – Four Nauset wrestlers won by pin in one of the Warriors only home meets of the 2019-2020 season on Jan. 8, but it wasn't enough to overtake the Barnstable Red Raiders, who went on to win 51-28 in a Cape and Islands League meet.
Henry Rank was the first to win by pin for the home team Warriors, defeating Barnstable opponent Jacob Coyne during regulation wrestling in the 126 class. Coyne offered up a fierce battle, rolling out of several near-pin situations, but as teammates cheered loudly from the sidelines, Rank flipped Coyne one last time before the official deemed the match won, raising Rank's arm in victory.
Next in the winner's circle was Spencer Granlund in the 132 weight class, who took to the mat against Barnstable's Brandon Silva. Early on in the match, Granlund earned points with a big takedown, one of two he executed in the contest before forcing Silva into pin position for the win.
Gabe Coelho then challenged Barnstable's Ben Davis in the 152 weight class, grappling through a few regulation rounds before also winning by pin. Coelho's victory was followed soon after by a final pin from Curtis Taylor in the 160 weight class. Taylor went to battle against Barnstable's Tenzing Lama and dominated the match before winning by pin.
Both Taylor and Granlund not only celebrated with wins, but were also feted at the beginning of the meet for their respective Senior Night.
Though the four wins gave Nauset a boost, forfeits in other weight classes proved costly, as did minor mistakes in other matches that ultimately led the Raiders to their overall win. Nonetheless, Nauset head coach Chris Gildehaus was pleased with his team's performances.
“It was a very evenly matched team,” Gildehaus said. “We could have finished some matches stronger, and it's just unfortunate that we couldn't.”
Gildehaus said the squad has “some really, really good wrestlers” who have dedicated themselves to improving during the course of the season. Unfortunately, a league change from the Atlantic Coast League to the Cape and Islands League resulted in only two home meets for the Warriors, but Gildehaus said more home meets will be a part of future seasons.
With regard to the winners in the Barnstable match, Gildehaus said that it's always heartening to see work done in practice translate onto the mat.
“They're following through with the techniques and things we're talking about in practices,” he said. “And as a coach that's all that you can ask for. When you see them executing the stuff that we're working on and it leads to positive results, all it does is reinforce the things we're teaching. The small successes really help them buy into what we're trying to do.”
Gildehaus said the long van rides have been instrumental in building bonds between teammates.
“Sometimes going on the road can be a good thing,” he said. “We're all in it together. It does build some great team chemistry.”
He gave a nod to the parents of seven wrestlers that recently made the trek to a meet in Cohasset.
“That's the most parents we've ever had,” Gildehaus said. “We had cousins, aunts, uncles. To see this huge crowd of Nauset fans was really, really neat. We're really beginning to build a culture that involves our families.”
Gildehaus said that going forward, with the help of assistant coach Marcus De La Vega, the hope is to create and establish a local youth wrestling program that will not only introduce athletes to the sport, but also help build the Nauset program in the future.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have their sights set on a big tri-meet on Feb. 7 that includes Sandwich and Barnstable. Gildehaus said given his team's tenacity, his hopes are high.
“It's a unique group of kids together, and the way they pull for each other, protect each other, believe in each other, and support each other in wins or losses, is all that you can ask for as a coach,” he said. “That carries over to each of them individually and helps them fight harder, train harder. That's the type of culture that creates winning programs.”