Let the games begin

Friday, December 13, 2013



Opening night for any sports team tends to offer up plenty of questions regarding the team’s ability. The Bedford High School wrestling team got all the answers it wanted, utilizing five pins in Wednesday night’s 48-21 season-opening win over Alvirne High School.

The Bulldogs buried the Broncos early on with pins in three of the first four matches courtesy of Ben Gilman (138 pounds), Josh Belz (145) and Justin Mello (160) to jump out to a 21-0 lead.

With his team in need of a confidence boost, Ray Hamelin claimed the first points for Alvirne in the dramatic 170-pound match. Hamelin had as much as a 9-4 advantage over counterpart Ben Miller, but Miller came roaring back when he rolled over on top of Hamelin to even the score. After holding off Miller in the final 12 seconds of the third round, Hamelin wasted no time by clamping his adversary down on the mat to claim the 11-9 win.

“He had really helped,” said Alvirne head coach Tom Jackson of Hamelin’s effort. “That fired us up and everybody after that went out and they didn’t all win, but they wrestled a lot better. The emotion got going that really helped us a lot.”

The surging win laid the ground for 182-pounder Evan Manning’s pin on Ryan Belz in the very next match bringing the score to 21-9, but that was the extent of the Broncos’ success.

“We’ve got a lot of inexperienced guys and this is their first time out in real competition,” Jackson said, “and I think it was good in the sense that it showed them what it was going to be like this year. It’s going to be tough.”

Alvirne’s ensuing points came from an unopposed win at the 182-pound class and 120-pounder Nick Milinazzo’s pin in 1 minute, 56 seconds over Jake Valeri.

“We had a lot of toughness out there,” Bedford coach Robert Benincasa said. “Everyday in the room we practice moves, but we can’t practice toughness and the guys showed it tonight.”

Bedford’s Ben Gilman pinned John Plante in the first match. The second match saw Josh Belz with a pin over Alvirne’s Eaon Welchin. The third was a 10-6 win by Bedford’s Chris Conery over Trystian Davio at 152 pounds. The fourth was a pin by Justin Mello over Alvirne’s Jacob Lavalley. The fifth saw Hamelin 11-9 over Miller. The sixth was Manning’s pin on Belz. Alvirne’s Jacob Rice (182) and Bedford’s Matt Houston (195) were both unopposed. The ninth match had Robert Lamy’s 1:06 pin on Alvirne’s Cole Sevigny at 285 pounds. Jake Hall (106) was unopposed for Bedford. Bedford’s Ben Dow had a 6-4 win over Taylor Thyne in the 120-pound match. The 12th match was Milinazzo’s pin on Valeri, followed by Bedford’s Colin Perras pinning Ben Katsohis to close things out.

Bedford (1-0) travels to Litchfield on Saturday to face Campbell, while the Broncos (0-1) will host Spaulding on Dec 18.

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