WOBURN — The Woburn High wrestling team won the most battles, but it was Reading which won the war, 39-29, last night at Torrice Gym.
It was the fourth victory for the Rockets, who won their first three of the season while going 3-1 in a super-quad meet over the weekend.
The Tanners are still seeking their first dual meet victory but their ranks are really slender, which means they give up a lot of points on forfeits, as was the case last night. Woburn had seven wrestlers ready to compete, its highest number since before Christmas.
Considering there are 14 weight classes, most teams are going to be able to take advantage of the situation, so the Tanners instead see themselves as a tournament team.
Reading has three weight classes it can’t cover, and fortunately for the Rockets, Woburn did not have anyone in two of those classes, and those matches went down as uncontested.
“It was good, they (Tanners) are always a tough team,” said Reading coach Craig Murphy, of the team’s first win in the Middlesex League. “They weighed in seven kids and kept us down to 39-28. We matched up well against them.”
The fact that Woburn won four of the six matches which took place was not lost on the Tanners, who are truly struggling this year.
“I thought that was pretty good,” said Woburn coach Mike Parziale. “Everybody (but one) got a match because we line up with them pretty well (with Reading). Sometimes the kids don’t get to wrestle because our kids don’t line up with the other team’s.”
The meet started at 106 and neither team had a wrestler in that class. The
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Rockets picked up a forfeit at 113 before the first match took place at 120 between Woburn’s Sophia Matthews and Reading’s Patrick Keenan.
Matthews won the first period with a takedown. Keenan chose the down position to start the second and he was able to escape to make it 2-1, and then get a takedown to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Matthews chose down but had a hard time shaking free of Keegan, who ultimately hung on for the decision and a 9-0 Rocket lead.
“Patrick Keenan wrestled Sophia and she wrestles tough, she is a tough kid,” said Murphy. “He got teched (technical fall) by her last year and this year he beat her, so it was a nice rebound win.”
John Lafferty was a heavy favorite at 126 going against Reading’s Dana Isabel. The Rocket wrestler fought hard but Lafferty got the win by fall at 1:48 to put Woburn on the board, 9-6.
Reading picked up forfeits in the next two weight classes to boost its lead to 21-6 before a wild match took place at 145. Woburn’s Evan Strandberg and Rocket Matt Hammond took turns flinging each other on their backs, but neither was kept down for long in the first two rounds.
Hammond led 7-5 after the first round and was ahead 14-8 in the second round before getting the pin at 3:49.
Another Reading win by forfeit made it 33-6 before the Tanners got their second pin of the meet at 160. Stephen Kolodko did the honors for Woburn, getting the first round pin at 1:49.
There was yet another Woburn forfeit at 170 before David Langlois wrestled Reading’s Trevion Atallah to a tech fall at 182.
It was 39-17 in favor of the Rockets when the Tanners got the last 12 points on a forfeit and a Michael Mercer win by fall for the 39-29 final.
“They are a gritty team like they always are and both teams wrestled tough,” said Murphy. “That’s what you want in a dual meet. It was a fun dual meet to coach.”
“We lost another match but our kids have been focusing on the individual things this year, and their goals,” said Parziale. “The kids are working hard, they are staying motivated. The circumstances are not ideal, but we are still here and we are still wrestling.”
The Tanners are looking forward to hosting their annual Woburn Invitational Tournament on Saturday. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments around, even if the Tanners have trouble keeping with many of their high-quality invitees.
“It’s a good fundraiser for us and a big tournament,” said Parziale. “Good matches, good teams — D-1 teams, mostly, so it will be a different look.”
Reading will be taking part in another quad meet, this one at Greater Lawrence.