Staying on the mat
Friday, January 18, 2013
The Bedford High School wrestling team is going to great lengths to make sure its healthy when the Division II meet rolls around next month.
The Bulldogs are even willing to go to extremes.
“We’ve been cursed with injuries and sickness right before D-II,” Bedford senior Sam Kollmorgen said. “We’ll carry hand sanitizer and pretty much bath in that.”
Bedford felt like it had a good shot at winning its first division title last season when its lineup was depleted by injury and illness. While coach Bob Benincasa hopes things will be different this season, this year’s Bulldogs have a much different makeup.
In 2012, Bedford had six seniors it could rely on to provide big points when needed. That continued a trend of big senior classes, a trend that ended this year. Bedford has just two seniors, but what the Bulldogs lost in depth, they gained in experience.
“We gave up strength in numbers, but we have strength in experience,” Benincasa said. “(Robert) Bernard wrestled at the New Englands last year. None of last year’s seniors went to New Englands as juniors. Sam has been in the lineup all four years, so he has experience and he has the drive. He’s really focused. Seeing those two hyper-focused this year really makes up for the fact that we don’t have as many seniors.”
It’s made for much different practices in Bedford, something that Kollmorgen believes has helped the Bulldogs stay focused.
“We’re more serious and realistic,” he said. “A lot of us have goals and we’re following through with on them. I feel like we’re a more competitive team this year.”
Colin Perras, one of two junior captains for Bedford, was worried going into the season about how the lack of upperclassmen might affect the team.
“At the beginning, we had a bunch of freshmen in our varsity lineup,” Perras said, “but now that they have more experience, we’re picking it up. We’re doing well in tournaments and competing in dual meets. It’s great to see how far they’ve come so far and knowing that we’re only halfway done, they still have more to grow.
“It was really loud in the room because of all the seniors (last season). This year, the freshmen and sophomores are kind of quiet. It’s nice during stretching because everyone is focused on the wrestling.”
Although their number is just two, Bernard and Kollmorgen provide the younger Bedford wrestlers with a link to the last two classes that have helped the Bulldogs rise in Division II.
“They’ve been in the room long enough that they are taking from the seniors before (last year),” Benincasa said. “They’re bringing that two years ahead of them back to this year’s juniors. I think the juniors are really advanced, more so than any of the ones we have had to this point. They can tell everyone to stay focused. They want a legacy to be left behind, to know that the next class is going to work just as hard.”
The Bulldogs have about a month to continue to work hard – the D-II meet is Feb. 16 at Hollis Brookline – and enjoy being a part of Bedford wrestling.
“We’ll be building wrestlers in Bedford,” Kollmorgen said. “We’ll be a powerhouse in a few years. It’s cool that we’re witnessing that, but it stinks that we won’t be a part of it. In a way, we kind of are.”