Brunswick School continued its tradition of starting its season with a title, winning its fourth straight Rumble of the Hill Tournament on Saturday in its first wrestling meet of the season.
Now the Bruins hope to continue their trend of adding more championships to their ledger as the season progresses — a scenario they’ve followed for years.
“We want an undefeated season, hopefully we can win every tournament,” said Bruins senior tri-captain Luca Errico, who earned All-American honors last season. “We won states last year and finished fifth at the New England tournament, so hopefully, we’ll pull out a win there too.”
Errico will wrestle at the 145 and 140-pound weight classes for the Bruins, while fellow senior captains Clayton Ostrover and Nadji Ngbokoli are competing at 195 and 170, respectively.
“I’m really excited about the season,” Ostrover said. “We lost only a few seniors last year and we are returning a lot of kids. Also, both of our all-Americans are coming back, which is huge.”
Brunswick finished first in the team standings at the 16-team Rumble on the Hill tourney at Hopkins School on Saturday, totaling 221 points. Errico won the 145-pound weight class title at the tournament, while junior Chris Perry finished first in the 138-pound division.
“It was good to get it out of the way,” Errico said of his championship victory at the Rumble on the Hill tournament. “I beat the guy I wrestled in the New England final last year and I’ll probably see him five, or six more times the rest of the year, so it was good to start off the season with a win.”
The Bruins’ 2018-2019 season saw them win the FAA Tournament for the 22nd consecutive year and the WNEISWA (Western New England) tournament, also known as the state tourney for the sixth time in a row. Brunswick also won its own tournament and finished first at the Tabor Academy tourney.
“It’s going to be hard to duplicate last season’s success, but we are getting better every day in here,” said Brunswick coach Tim Ostrye, whose squad trains in the wrestling room at the school named after him. “We have a good core of young kids and a good core of veterans, so it will be fun. We’ve had a good run at states and New Englands, so we’ll see if we can continue our success.”
Ngbokoli is beginning his fourth season on the squad and first as a captain.
“The first three years I would always like to look up to our captains and try to emulate them,” Ngbokoli said. “Over the course of the three years, I have learned to love wrestling, even though it is a grind to be here. Wrestling prepares you for life.”
Brunswick’s dual meet season commences Wednesday at Avon Old Farms School.
AT THE HELM: Ostrye is in his 34th season as coach of the Bruins. He guided the team to a record of 18-1 last winter and to team titles at the Western New England, FAA, Brunswick Invitational, Rumble on the Hill and Tabor Academy tournaments. The Bruins also finished fifth at the NEISWA Championships (New England Tournament) and were represented by numerous wrestlers at the 2019 National Prep School Championships at Lehigh University.
It was at Lehigh that Ostrye received a pleasant surprise last season. He was presented with the National Coach of the Year award at the Prep School Championships.
John Martin, Bob Benjamin and Neil Minsky each return as assistant coaches.
WHO’S GONE?: Harry Fett, Timmy Saunders, Dylan Reynolds, Nick Villis and Jack Withstandley were among some of the graduates from last season’s championship squad. Saunders advanced to the championship match of the 195-pound division at the NEISWA tournament, while Reynolds was fourth in the WNEISWA tourney in the 170-pound class.
“We lost about 300 wins among all those guys,” Ostrye said. “It seems like every year we lose a good group of seniors and a good amount of wins. We have to move on and see what we can do from there.”
WHO’S BACK?: Errico won the 138-pound championship at the NEISWA tourney last season and claimed the 132-pound title at the WNEISWA tournament last season. He also made a strong showing at the Prep School Championships, earning all-America honors.
“One of my goals is to win nationals this year,” Errico said. “It is going to be a tough journey, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Ngbokoli placed second in the 152-pound division at the WNEISWA Championships and was fourth at the New England tourney. He has moved up to the 170-pound class this season.
Ostrover took second at the Western New England meet at 182 a year ago and is competing at 195 this season.
“For my standards, I thought I had a good year last year,” said Ostrover, who was a member of Brunswick’s football team, which won a NEPSAC championship bowl game in the fall. “I was able to come in second at states, which was huge and made it to New Englands.”
Said Ostrye: “All three captains bring different things to the table. They lead by example and with their knowledge.”
Junior Chris Perry finished first in the 115-pound class at the WNEISWA Championships last year and is now wrestling at 138. An all-American last season, he advanced to the championship match in the New England tourney.
William MacGillivray will wrestle in the 126-pound division, after excelling at 106 last season, while Jackson Wolfram has moved up to 132, following a successful season at 113 last year.
Junior Nick Bell, who placed second at the Western New England tourney last season at 145, is slated to fill the role at 160. He was also the runner-up at the New England tourney as a sophomore.
Senior Alex Burdick (182), who also starred on Brunswick’s championship football team, returns, as do Michael Neviera (sophomore, 220), George Hill (junior, heavyweight division), Cliff Bellknap (sophomore, heavyweight) and Kaden Saad (120, sophomore).
NEWCOMERS: Kyle Pagnani (106, eighth-grader), Michael Accetta (113, eighth-grader) and Enzo Vera (ninth-grader) join the Bruins.
HOME FOR NEW ENGLAND TOURNEY: Last season, the NEISWA Championships was held at Greens Farms Academy. This season, it will take place at Brunswick.
“It is going to be exciting to have states here, as well as our own tournament,” Errico said. “It’s perfect for us.”