Wrestling preview: Some may place in league, states

Senior captains Jake Allen, top, and Aiden Buckley demonstrate half-nelson moves during Immaculate-Joel Barlow High wrestling practice. The team enters its second season as a cooperative program between the two schools.-Rocco Paul Valluzzo photo

Success will be measured in a couple of ways for the Immaculate-Joel Barlow High wrestling team as it prepares to start the 2012-13 season.

As a team, Immaculate-Barlow hopes to make a greater impact in the South-West Conference with respect to its record. It would also like to have individual wrestlers place in their respective divisions at the league as well as state meets.

“Hopefully, we can keep building it from here,” said second-year head coach Phil LiCastri, whose team started practice last week.

With 20 wrestlers in its ranks the team will have 10 from each school in the cooperative arrangement. Among these numbers is some established talent and some more may emerge as the season continues.

Much of it returns from last season. Immaculate-Barlow did not fare badly in its first year as a co-op program. It started out at 6-2 but was then hit by injury, posting a 10-8 overall record to take second in the Patriot Division  and then went on to take fifth as a team at the SWC finals.

It finished in the middle of the field at the state Class M meet, taking 17th out of 33.

While many of its wrestlers were new to the sport, it did lose several experienced ones to graduation. Two were former captains Tom Starkey and Cavan Perrot of Barlow. Starkey wrestled at 145 pounds and Perrot was at 205.

Jose Quispe, a first-year wrestler, also graduated. On the Immaculate side the team lost Tom Cronin at 138 pounds  as well as Chris Deisenroth, who was SWC runner-up at 170 pounds.

Immaculate-Barlow will have experience in certain weight groups. For the 182-pound class it has senior captain Dante Hristu, who was third at the SWC tournament last year.

Senior captain Jake Allen of Immaculate will wrestle at 132 pounds. For the 138-pound class the team has captain Aiden Buckley. also from Immaculate.

From the junior class is Barlow’s David Gombos, a first-year wrestler who will compete at 160 pounds. “He’s a very good athlete,” said LiCastri. “He should have a decent year.”

The team will have experience in the 195-pound class with Immaculate junior Steve Ghossaini, who was SWC champ and Class M runner-up at 195 pounds. He is currently recovering from a torn calf muscle. Classmate Alex Lagas, also of Immaculate, is a candidate for the 160-pound division.

From the sophomore class is Barlow’s Andre Hristu, who will wrestle at 220. Sam Bartlett could compete at 138 pounds. C.J. Kowalski is back and could wrestle at 182. Other returning Barlow wrestlers are Elias Papadimitriou, (160 pounds) and Callum Tennant (152).

Freshmen who could see time on the mat include Barlow’s Emmet LiCastri, who will wrestle at 126 pounds and Roy Villagomez, a candidate for 195.

The team will begin the season on Wednesday when it hosts Bethel at 6 p.m. at Immaculate.

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