Bulldog wrestlers make statement with win vs. Milford

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While the week did not end as they would have liked owing to Saturday’s snowstorm, the Canton High varsity wrestlers still have much to be excited about after securing their first home win last Tuesday with a dominant showing against Davenport Division opponent Milford.

Sophomore Harry Carter (Mike Barucci photo)

Sophomore Harry Carter (Mike Barucci photo)

The bad news for the Bulldogs last week had nothing to do with performance; rather it was the lack thereof as winter weather forced the postponement of their signature event, the James Peckham Invitational Tournament. Head coach Brian Caffelle said this was the first time in the 20-year history of the tournament that it had to be cancelled; however, he said school officials were doing their best to get it rescheduled and still get “some type of competition running” for the teams that could still participate.

In the meantime, Caffelle said the team was busy preparing for this week’s showdown with Foxboro — the kind of “measuring stick” match that could propel Canton into the division title conversation. Last week’s dual meet against Milford served as the first test and the Bulldogs essentially aced it, beating the Hawks 51-26 behind several outstanding individual performances.

Caffelle said a big key to the victory — the program’s first against Milford since the school joined the Hockomock League — was the Bulldogs’ refusal to give up pins, even in matches where the Hawks had the upper hand. For instance, Harry Carter, a rising star at 120 pounds, faced a tough matchup against a defending Hock champion but kept it close and held his own in an eventual 7-0 loss.

At the same time, Canton got big-time performances from its studs, including freshman Eddie Marinilli, who remained unbeaten in dual-meet action at 126 pounds, junior Anis Chakir (132 lbs.), and seniors Brandon Lentol (170 lbs.) and Nick Matt (285 lbs). Other winners for Canton included Mark Carstairs (106), Joe Pacitti (152), Tom Monagle (160), and Stathi Dandis (182).

The Bulldogs didn’t even need the services of their No. 2 wrestler this season, junior Justin Dickie, who took a win by forfeit at 113 pounds.

“He’s had a fantastic season so far,” Caffelle said of Dickie. “At the Lowell tournament he faced a [national finalist] in the quarterfinals and didn’t get pinned. He just kind of has that mindset to go out and wrestle as hard as he can, and we’re lucky to have him.”

As for the Milford win, while he did not want to overstate the significance of one dual meet, Caffelle looked at it as a big step forward for a talented yet still improving team.

“It was a great feeling, especially to get our first win at home,” he said. “Our guys definitely wanted to win at home and beat a program that has given us problems for a number of seasons in a row.”

Now 3-3 overall but 1-0 in the division, the Bulldogs face the Warriors of Foxboro on Wednesday and then travel to Milton this Saturday to compete in a nonleague quad meet. The team’s next divisional matchup will take place next Wednesday, January 18, at home versus Sharon.

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