Winning the Rumble on the Hill Tournament at Hopkins School on Saturday gave the Brunswick School wrestling team its first title of the season. Now the Bruins are out to claim numerous other trophies.
Coming off a season in which they won four championships, the Bruins hope to garner a little bit more hardware this winter. Brunswick hopes to defend the titles they captured last year and add one that eluded it — the New England championship.
“I think this year’s team is one of the best teams we’ve had,” Bruins senior tri-captain Lachlan Rosato said. “Last year was the best finish we’ve had in New Englands — we finished third. I think we could win the tournament this year. In terms of ability, talent and firepower, we have everything we need to be capable of doing that.”
Rosato, who wrestles in the 220-pound weight class, was one of 11 Bruins that posted a first-place finish at Saturday’s season-opening Rumble on the Hill Tournament. The Bruins won the tournament last season, along with the state tournament (also known as the Western New England Championship), the FAA Tournament and their own tournament.
After registering a regular-season record of 16-1 last season, the Bruins enter their 2017-18 campaign an optimistic group under the guidance of longtime coach Tim Ostrye.
“I believe what sets us apart from other teams is our work ethic in the wrestling room,” said senior tri-captain Jack Ocken, who will compete in the 195-pound division. “The intensity of our practices gives us a big edge on other teams and it gives us confidence going into our matches, because we know our matches can’t be harder that our practices.”
Ocken also won his weight class at the Rumble of the Hill, as did senior tri-captain John DeLucia (160-pound division).
“We definitely want to win New Englands, every year we have come pretty close,” DeLucia said. “We had a great start to our season on Saturday. I was really pleased with our team’s performance, winning 11 of 14 weight classes.”
Brunswick’s roster consists of five seniors, eight juniors, 10 sophomores and 10 freshman.
“We are a young team, so we are going to rely on our captains for leadership,” Ostrye said. “Their example will only make everyone on this team better.”
The Bruins have captured the FAA title 20 straight years and the WNEISWA championship the past four seasons.
“We won have states four years in a row, I guess it would be underachieving if we didnt’ shoot for another one,” Ostrye said. “Winning the New England title is a tall order of business, but they are pumped up and it could happen. We have to take it one step at a time.”
AT THE HELM: Ostrye begins his 32nd season as coach of the Bruins. He has led Brunswick to 33 FAA championships the past 34 seasons and 12 state (Western New England) titles. The Bruins’ program boasts five All-American wrestlers in its storied history.
Bob Benjamin starts his 21st season as an assistant coach, while John Martin and Neil Minsky return for their 12th year on the coaching staff.
WHO’S GONE?: Twin brothers Andrew and Brooks Hennessy were among the graduates from last season’s championship squad. Brooks Hennessy was a two-time state title winner in the 132-pound class, while Andrew won a pair of titles at 126 pounds.
Heavyweight Antonio Rogliano, Aiden Reynolds (182) and Alex Tucker (160) also graduated.
“We lost about 400 career wins from the senior group we lost,” Ostrye said. “We have to try to work hard to make up for it. Our team has stepped up for it thus far, behind our captains. They are terrific leaders.”
WHO’S BACK?: Rosato finished with a record of 29-6 last season, including a victory in the 220-pound final at the WNEISWA Championships.
“I weigh 190 pounds, so I have to stay quick when I wrestle and stay smart out there,” Rosato said.
DeLucia went 33-5 last season in the 152-pound class, while Ocken had 14 victories, 11 of which came by pinfall.
“I am at 160 this year, which is definitely a tough division,” DeLucia said. “Trinity-Pawling is our biggest competition and one of their toughest guys is at 160.”
Said Ocken: “Most teams have a big, strong guy at 195, so anyone can win any match. I have to wrestle my best and keep an eye out for everyone.”
Junior Harry Fett brings experience at the 152-pound class. He finished first at the Rumble on the Hill competition on Saturday and is coming off a 30-win season. Senior Rishi Das (126) placed second at Saturday’s tournament and has competed in a number of significant matches the past several seasons.
Senior Peter Mullen (170) should be a force in his weight class, as should junior Timothy Saunders (182). Saunders was also a title-winner in the Bruins’ season-opening competition.
WATCH OUT FOR: Freshman Will Donovan (113), Chris Perry (freshman, 120), Nick Bell (freshman, 132), sophomore Luca Errico (138), Nadji Ngbokoli (sophomore, 145) and junior Justin Canelli (285) each brought home title for the Bruins at the Rumble of the Hill. Sophomore Aengus Rosato (170, 182) and sophomore Clayton Ostrover (170) are among some of the Bruins’ younger grapplers.
STRENGTHS: “We are deep; we have guys that can fill every weight class,” Ocken said. “We have guys wrestling-off for spots every couple of weeks and good wrestlers in back-up spots.”