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Richie Sullivan with coach Riddinger after his 100th win, above Sullivan pins Ronayne and below while Sullivan ramined in control through out the match .
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Puppy Jags Defeat Pelham Wrestlers, Python’s Sullivan Reaches Coveted ‘100 Win’ Milestone
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by Marc Ayotte The Windham Jaguars wrestling team hosted cross town rivals the Pythons of Pelham High (PHS) on Wednesday, January 26. In winning four out of the seven matches actually wrestled on the mats, as well as receiving three forfeit wins, the Jaguars went on to defeat PHS 41-24. The meet also saw action involving Newfound HS as well as Sanborn Regional High School. Although Pelham went down to defeat at the hands of Windham in team competition, it was an historic night for one particular senior Python wrestler. Richie Sullivan, still nursing an injured knee sustained in a match at the Gionet memorial tourney, brought his 2011 season record of 21 wins and only five defeats to the Windham mats. After beginning the season with 78 wins, Sullivan’s quest for a hundred career victories seemed imminent; “I knew I had a chance (for 100) at the beginning of the year,” recalled the Pelham senior. In his first match of the night as well as the first time facing Windham’s Ronayne in the 152 weight class, Sullivan with sights on his personal goal, stormed out to a commanding 11-0 lead. The Python standout proceeded to make short work of his opponent and at 2:33 into the match, Sullivan with a pin entered the record books by becoming the most recent Pelham wrestler to notch one hundred wins. In other Pelham vs. Windham
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matches, Warren Greenhalgh in the 171 class was victorious by forfeit. The individual match win pushed his team leading total to twenty-nine on the season against a paltry five defeats. In the 145 class, sophomore Tyler Harper defeated Windham’s Hanson with a win by fall one minute and twenty three seconds into the match. Coming up with the other Python individual match win was the machine- like junior Josh Medeiros in the 112 class. At 1:19 of the match, Medeiros pinned Josh Gallagher of Windham in a manner in which Python head coach Bob Riddinger described as “methodical“. With that victory, Medeiros upped his season record to a staggering 22-3. For the host Jaguars, their four actual wrestling wins came via three decisions and one pin. The lone win by fall came compliments of Chris Ferri who was moved up to the 189 weight class where he battled Matt Blanchard of Pelham. Ferri at 3:16 into the match entered the win column when he pinned the Python sophomore. One hundred and three pounder Jeff Armstrong of Windham in a hard fought match walked away with a 10-1 decision over Pelham’s Jared Boyden. Another individual match win for Windham over Pelham saw
a high scoring match between Dylan Swiderski (WHS-135) and Josh Lynde. As coach Riddinger observed, “It was a back and forth match” which ultimately saw Swiderski emerge with a 14-8 win by decision. Closing out the Windham individual match victories was Connor Golden who defeated Pelham freshman Tom Gleason 10-2. After the meet in the Windham gym, Richie’s mother Sue and father Joe presented him with a custom made t-shirt commemorating his athletic achievement. “I wasn’t aware of the 100 thing until last year when my nephew Mike was going after it,” recalled Richie’s dad. Mike (Perruccio) who was a wrestling inspiration of sorts to Sullivan was a 2010 graduate of PHS. During his time on the Python mats, Perruccio racked up an impressive 139 wins along with three state titles - currently displayed on the gym walls. Once this season began, dad in hopes of seeing his son attain “banner status” started the countdown. “You never take anything for granted - I kept a tally going on the (wrestling) schedule.” Richie also received a congratulatory call from cousin Mike who currently wrestles for WPI.
Jaguar head coach Tom
Darrin hopped on the recognition train as well. In a classy display of sportsmanship, Darrin after the meet addressed Sullivan’s accomplishments.
In discussing his most recent individual accomplishment, Sullivan reflected upon his early years at PHS: “When I first thought of the hundred (wins) was my freshman year.” As a freshman, Richie was following his brother Billy’s own quest for membership in the 100 win club. “I remember watching him in his senior year chasing after a hundred wins,” recalled the younger brother. When big brother Billy dislocated an elbow in his sophomore year, that eventually proved to be the reason why he didn’t get to the land of a hundred wins. Witnessing that, and barring any serious injuries of his own, Richie was determined to reach the victory plateau that eluded his older brother. Though it was during the formative years when Richie while attending Pelham Middle School (what was known to people of my vintage as Pelham Memorial when we attended it) first observed his brother wrestling as a high school freshman. At that point, as dad Joe recalls, is when Richie got the itch to wrestle, “He was a good basketball player. He could have done either (choosing) wrestling surprised me.”
In recognizing the people who made an impact on his wrestling
career, Richie said, “I attribute my progress to my brother … to what I learned from his work ethic.” In addition, Sullivan attributed part of his success to his cousin, “My cousin Mike also helped me get better. Mike was a better wrestler, but Billy was a hard worker”. Along with personal acknowledgements, Sullivan spoke highly of the Python wrestling coaching staff. “Conditioning-wise we’re always better than everyone else. They are also good at the teaching aspect - there is a good balance but we focus on the conditioning.” Looking forward, the Pythons have just a few more matches remaining before post season competition begins. This year and next, the PHS gymnasium affectionately referred to as the Snake Pit, will be the site for the state tournament. After being ’pinned’ with the question whether he has ever won a state title, Sullivan replied, “No. This year, that’s what my goal is.” When I asked him if it would be cool to win a state title in his ‘house,‘ Sullivan grinned and said, “yeah, that’d be sick!”
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