Trailing 26-4, and docked a few points for a swearing outburst early in its meet against Central Catholic, the Chelmsford wrestling team refused to let its dire circumstance get it down.
Pins from senior Jack Walsh (160 pounds), junior Jose Bethel (172), senior Aidan Sherman (195), junior Ian Mwangi (220), and senior Thomas Brown (285) gave the Lions a thrilling 36-34 Merrimack Valley win over Central Catholic in front of a big home crowd at Chelmsford High.
“The coaches told the kids, ‘We’re coming back.’ They listened to us,” said coach Chris Piscione, whose team improved to 5-2 on the season. “They dealt with the adversity.”
Piscione understood the difficulty his team faced,, especially when they became upset by the points deduction, but the Lions responded by getting off the mat and pushing back.
After Brown recorded a pin at heavyweight, it all came down to Mwangi at 220. Piscione shook his hand, and told Mwangi he needed six (points).
“He’s a second-year wrestler,” Piscione said. “He’s a very good athlete. He’s a good, athletic 220-pounder. We got lucky he pinned, and that’s the way it goes.”
Mwangi had added motivation — and pressure — to perform. His older sister was home from college and watching from the stands while some of his high school teachers, who had never been to a wrestling meet before, were also in attendance.
Mwangi gave them all something to cheer with his pin.
“People are going to be beating you, you have to come back and win,” Piscione said. “That was our motivation for the win. We need kids that are supposed to lose, to win. And that’s what happened tonight.”