Faria, Gillis claim Gorman Invitational titles
CUMBERLAND — Aidan Faria saw Timberlane’s (N.H.) Antonio Pallaria look at the clock with 10 seconds left in Saturday’s John Gorman Invitational 145-pound title match and the Clipper sophomore knew it was time to strike.
Trailing Pallaria by one point, Faria faked a shot that unbalanced the Owl, which allowed the Clipper to earn the match-winning takedown with nine seconds left in a 5-4 victory for the second-seeded grappler.
“If he was coming at me, I needed to go 10 times harder at him to beat him,” Faria said after picking up his second title of the season. “I don’t want to be beat at all. Once I saw him look at the clock, I knew it was time to go because he was not ready for this. I went as hard as I could, caught him with a fake and hit a back trip right to the mat.”
“Our motive here is to constantly be offensive and look to score points,” Cumberland coach Colin Smith said. “I’m really happy for him. He’s doing a good job of pacing himself during the match where he isn’t going crazy in the first minute, but he’s pushing the pace the entire match.”
Faria was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament after posting a pin and a pair of major-decision victories on his way to the title. Cumberland was in position to win its own tournament through the semifinal round, but the Clippers suffered a key injury to 285-pounder Reuben Hancock and suffered a number of defeats in the consolation semifinals.
Timberlane cruised back to Plaistow with the tournament title even though the Owls only had one tournament champion, Lehigh-bound 132-pound senior Connor McGonagle. Timberlane defeated Connecticut powerhouse Bristol Eastern 201-191. Eastern passed Cumberland in the medal round thanks to three champions.
Lincoln finished a disappointing 17th with 34 points and just two grapplers on the medal stand. Christian Balon won a pair of matches at 195 pounds to finish fourth, while junior 120-pounder Mason Lynch finished sixth after dropping his final three matches, including the consolation semifinals where a penalty point was the difference in a 3-2 defeat.
“There’s a ton of work to be done and we have a lot of room for improvement,” Lincoln coach Michael Tuorto said. “We have to have the right mentality and the right mindset and right now we’re a little mentally weak as a group. Moving to Division I where the competition is strong, losses in December and January don’t mean anything if you learn from them in February.
“This was a tough day for us only having two kids place. I think Eric Chin at 160 is getting better each and every time on the mat. As a team, we need to get better and go into matches looking to win and not trying not to lose.”
Cumberland put itself in position to stay in front of Bristol Eastern to start the medal round when junior 113-pounder Brady Gillis finished off a dominant day with a 19-4 technical-fall victory over Shayn Donaldson of New Milford, Conn. in the final. Gillis, a reigning state finalist, recorded a takedown with five seconds left to end the match and give the Clippers an extra half team point.
“I wrestled my hardest and I just tried to let him up and take him back down just to make up points for my team,” Gillis said. “I didn’t pin him, but I got the tech. I’m proud of myself for what I did today. I’m hoping to win the state title, and I’m working hard every day to try and do that.”
Another Clipper who has designs on competing for a state title next month, junior Colby Reilly, didn’t fare as well in the 126-pound final. Facing Marshfield Holiday tournament winner Joey Valentino of North Andover, Mass., Reilly could get nothing going offensively and succumbed to a 14-2 defeat.
Prior to the defeat, Reilly posted a pin, a major and a 3-2 quarterfinal victory over Hope’s Damion Roderick.
“If there are any small victories, we had one there,” Smith said. “Valentino’s going to be in contention to win the New England title and [Reilly] legitimately scored points against him. He realized what it’s like to wrestle someone like that, and that’s why we have these good teams come in here. It was good for him to finish the match the best he could.”
The Clippers were in position to pass Bristol Eastern late in the 195-pound title match when senior Kaream Sangare led Oliver Ames (Easton, Mass.) senior Dean Pacini 6-3 on the strength of a pair of takedowns. But, in what must’ve felt like deja vu for Sangare, Pacini threw the Clipper to his back for a pin at 5:31 to claim the title.
Sangare led Eastern’s Trinidad Gonzalez late in the third period of last year’s final, only to suffer a similar fate.
“I thought he wrestled a great match against a phenomenal opponent,” Smith said. “I thought Kaream really took it to him, but you have to wrestle the full six minutes and he only wrestled five minutes and 30 seconds.”
Cumberland had five other wrestlers reach the podium, including both 152-pounders – Matt Maguire (fourth) and Tyler Kelly (sixth). Tyler Shaw finished fifth at 160 pounds, while Hancock had to injury default to sixth place because of a leg injury he suffered in the consolation finals against Timberlane’s Marcos Colon.
Cumberland will likely go into Thursday’s match against undefeated Hendricken without two starters because junior 126/132 Dom Passanante is still dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Spartan Invitational two weeks ago.
The good news for Smith, though, is Phil Coppolino continues to improve. The firstyear varsity starter won three matches, and pushed Gonzalez in a 3-1 defeat in the semifinals, to finish third at 220 pounds.
“He’s improved to so fast that sometimes I get frustrated that he doesn’t hit a move that I have to remind myself he’s just in his second year and how raw he is,” Smith said. “He’s a competitor and he wants to be the best at whatever sport he does – it shows. Going forward, we need him to score more points because the state tournament is wide open. He has the opportunity to be as good as he wants to be.”
Three other Valley wrestlers made the short trip to the Wellness Center, but none of them reached the medal stand. Mount’s Aidan Turner won three matches at 138 pounds, while Davies 170-pound Fabian Vargas and North Smithfield 120-pounder Nick Maraglia went 0-2.
Cumberland 220-pounder Phil Coppolino, seen here beating North Attleboro’s John Kummer, finished third in the John Gorman Invitational Saturday at the Wellness Center. The Clippers also finished third as a team with Brady Gillis (113) and Aidan Faria (145) winning titles.