Starting off their season 5-0, Walpole Wrestling is set to match or surpass their historic 2016-17 season where they finished with their best season record in the history of the program: 21-5. Led by senior captains Tyler Splaine, Paul Kauranen, and Luke Wassel, the boys defeated all of their opponents thus far, and took home first place in the annual Wayland Holiday Tournament.
The team kicked off their 2017-18 season on Dec. 9, with a home quad meet against Sharon, Plymouth North, and Pembroke. The Rebels finished the day undefeated, starting their season 3-0.
Walpole’s first and closest match-up was against the Sharon Eagles, in which they began the match with the 126 lb weight class. Senior captain Tyler Splaine took to the mat for the Rebels and defeated his opponent in three rounds, 10-0. Closing the match with six total pins, including those from freshmen Mike Gordon, Anthony Borelli and Derek Petrucci, Walpole went on to defeat Sharon 47-29.
“Our younger guys have been showing some real potential,” said Splaine. “They have been battling their hearts out, and wrestling smartly.”
Next, the Rebels took on the Plymouth North and Pembroke, defeating them 54-10 and 45-15 respectively.
“We did what we came to do,” said Kauranen. “We pinned kids where we needed pins, and stayed off of our backs when we needed to. Everyone worked hard and it payed off.”
The team then traveled to Milton High School for their first dual meet of the season. Walpole won 59-12, only losing two out of the 14 total matches.
“We were told that Milton was a strong team going into it,” said Wassel. “We wrestled strongly and competed well.”
On Dec. 16, Walpole spent the day at the Wayland Holiday Tournament. Not only did Splaine and Wassel claim first place in their own weight classes—respectively 126 and 152—but the team as a whole took home first place. Finishing in second place in the 132 lb weight class, Kauranen also performed well.
“Ever since we were freshmen [coach] Petro had been telling us if we worked hard we would be unstoppable as seniors,” said Splaine. “Judging off of the Wayland tournament we are. Taking first place was a big accomplishment for both me and the team.”
Walpole’s latest match was against Newton North, in which they squeezed out a close 39-35 victory. Key pins for the Rebels came from Wassel, senior Patrick Lanahan, senior Aidan Fitzgerald, sophomore Anthony Sirvello, and Gordon.
“We came out kind of flat, but we got some really big pins from our mid-heavy weights,” said Kauranen.
This year’s group of boys has some big shoes to fill, but they are confident they will have big success this season.
Former Rebel wrestler, WHS graduate of 2017, and current assistant coach Mike Shea said, “They have a really good chance of both taking first in the Bay State League and winning a sectional title.”