The Western Hills wrestling team had a strong showing at the state championships at Ponaganset last weekend, taking home a ninth-place finish and seeing Luke Montefusco taking home a title.
First year coach Chris Crofwell was proud of his club’s performance on the day.
“With a lot of young wrestlers on both JV and varsity, we were happy (with the result). I always feel like we can do better though,” said Crofwell, who was also excited to see Montefusco claim first place at 119 pounds. “He had a tough match. The kid that he beat (at states) actually beat him at the end of the year. He beat him and it was close, so Luke knew that it would be a tough match and he ended up pinning him in the first period. Luke is a great wrestler that has done well over the years so he was happy to win it.”
The Cobras had a young roster this season, which included primarily sixth and seventh graders. Crofwell believes that hard work and toughness led the Cobras to having late-season success.
“Many of them came in not knowing anything about wrestling. Some kids found out how tough the sport actually was and didn’t make it, so we were able to find the kids that really wanted wrestle as a sport. They’ve all worked really hard to get to where they are, they’ve all come to practice, have gone over things, and that experience has helped them get better each match,” said Crofwell.
The eighth graders will now take the next step toward high school, and the younger grapplers will continue to work to improve. Crofwell is excited to see the Cobras’ ceiling next year, and the impact that the soon-to-be freshman will make in high school.
“I’m looking forward to next year and seeing how these kids do with more experience. I’ve been constantly talking about high school with these guys, telling them that it will be a much different game and trying to prepare them,” said Crofwell. “(The eighth) graders are going to move up and I think they’ll do well, then the sixth and seventh graders will continue to get experience and get even better as well.”
Here are some of the results from the varsity and junior varsity state championships:
Luke Montefusco took home first place in the 119-pound division while Matt Defusco advanced to the finals at 133 pounds.
Cameron Davis took home two wins to advance to the finals in the 75-pound class, while Muhammed Kattan advanced to the quarterfinals in the 112-pound division. After winning in the round of 16, Vincent Merlino would advance to the quarterfinals at 165 pounds.
Benjamin Jawharjian won his first match to advance to the round of 16 in the 70-pound division, along with Sam Naifeh who made it to the round of 16 at 88 pounds. Jaydon Diaz also advanced to the round of 16 for the Cobras at 94 pounds. Daniel Negalha won his round of 32 match to advance to the round of 16 as well.
Henry Prendergast took home first place in the 100-pound division for the Cobras, while Baker Kattan placed first at 112 pounds. Collin Khanjari placed second in the 126-pound division.
Jared Prior went on to take second place in the 70-pound class, while Omar Kattan advanced to the quarterfinals at 94 pounds.