Bunnell and Stratford did battle during a wrestle meet inside Needham Gym on Tuesday. (Photo by John Nash)

WRESTLING: Bunnell rides six first-round pins to victory over Stratford

By Bob Birge
Special to the Sports Scene

​STRATFORD—During Sean Sloat’s three seasons as the Bunnell wrestling​ coach, the Bulldogs have been on a steady upward spiral, increasing ​their win total each season.​

​On Tuesday, they parlayed six pins into a 64-18 victory over archrival​ Stratford at the Needham Gym to conclude the regular season at .500, a ​preseason goal.​

​”Every year we’re getting better and better,” said Sloat, whose team ​improved to 9-9 overall and 4-4 in the South-West Conference. “The year​ before we came in (as coaches), we didn’t win any matches, our first year​ we won like three matches and last year we won five matches.​

​”This year, we’re a .500 team, so we’re making good strides. We’re ​building a team, our first year we had seven kids. The best part​ about it is half our varsity team is freshmen. We don’t have experience ​ so it looks good for the future.”​

Bunnell’s Mike Amorando, left, wrestles with Stratford’s Tanner Mitchell during their 126-pound bout on Tuesday. (Photo by John Nash)

​Julian Dematteo (145), Luke McLaughlin (160), Nick DeManche (170), C.J. ​Falotico (285), Ryan McLaughlin (106) and Tanner Roper (132) all ​recorded pins for the Bulldogs.

What is even more impressive is that ​all six pins came in the first period.​​

Dematteo, the Bulldogs’ junior captain, opened the match with a pin of ​Joshua Kydes at 1:08 of first period and Luke McLaughlin put the ​Bulldogs ahead to stay at 12-6 when he stopped Drilon Nasufi with 1:09 ​left in the opening stanza.​

​”I told my guys everybody that wins has to pin,” Sloat added. “I wanted​ six points from everybody. That’s is what the expectation was and for ​the most part they delivered. You have to have that mindset.”​

​Prior to the match, Tanner Mitchell, who wrestled in the 126-pound weight​ class, was recognized as the only senior on the Stratford team.​

​Mitchell, who completed the regular season with an individual mark of​ 27-8, dropped a 17-7 decision to Mike Amarando in the only bout that was​ not decided via a pin.​

​Stratford (6-21) was forced to forfeit matches at the 182- 195-, 220- ​and 113-pound classes due to injuries and academic issues.​​

Stratford’s Sean Meisel, rear, battles Bunnell’s Devin Rudd during Tuesday’s match at Needham Gym. (Photo by John Nash)

Stratford’s two wins on the mat came from Sam Schumann (152), who pinned ​Craig Pressley at the 15-second mark of the second period, and Sean ​Meisel (120), who stopped Devin Redd with 41 seconds left in the middle ​period.​

​Hayden Roberts earned a forfeit win for the Red Devils at the 138-pound​ classification.​

​”We got a couple wins but there were a couple that didn’t go our way,”​ Stratford coach Dan German said. “Tanner has been battling that kid (for​ four years).​

​”All the scores have been similar to that. The big matches will be ​coming up this weekend (SWC championship) and next weekend (Class M ​championship) so we’ll meet up with them again then.”​​

Mitchell will be attending Brigham Young-Idaho next year with the hope​ of enrolling at BYU’s main campus in Utah while majoring in engineering​ Two of Mitchell’s brothers attended the Cougars’ campus in Provo.​

​One of the highlights of the evening came when Bunnell freshman Jimmy​ Galpin, who is blind, participated in an exhibition match following the​ varsity competition.​

​He actually is not the first blind wrestler for the Bulldogs as he ​followed Matt Soares, who graduated last year and sometimes returns to​ help Galpin in practices.​

​”He is an inspiration to the team,” Sloat said. “I know I wouldn’t be ​ able  to do it, go out there on a mat with another guy who is trying to ​take your head off and you can’t even see him. It’s a level of courage ​you and I will never experience.”​

​Sloat expects that a number of his freshman, including the McLaughlins and​ DeManche, could place at the SWC meet along with Dematteo and Amorando.  ​​

The Stratford roster is a bit thinner and German realistically ​anticipates that Mitchell and Meisel are his only wrestlers who can ​place at thw SWCs. Mitchell finished fourth in the SWC meet last year. ​​

“He should do okay,” German said.  “It depends on the luck of the draw, ​and make sure he’s healthy and all that good stuff.” ​

The Photo Album

Stratford vs Bunnell Wrestling

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