Ashland Wrestlers Hope For Success In Sectional Tourney

Ken Hamwey Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

Ashland High’s wrestling team, which last year managed a .500 record in dual meets, enjoyed success in post-season tournaments when it had eight sectional place-winners, three place-winners in the state playoffs, and one place-winner at the all-state meet.
This season, coach Peter Zacchilli has guided his Clockers to a 4-7 record against strong competition in dual meets and he’s also guided his forces to the championship of the Milford Tournament, which is the school’s first tourney title in 32 years. As the post-season schedule approaches, Zacchilli firmly believes his matmen will compete at a high level when the Division 3 Sectional Tournament gets underway on Feb. 10 at Wayland. He’s counting on his squad’s strengths to play a key role in their ability to advance in a majority of the 14 weight classes.
“Our assets include a battle-tested attitude, added experience, perseverance and a pro-active approach,’’ he said. “We’ve competed against some of the best teams in the state. Where we still can improve is in our technique and mental toughness.’’
Competing in the Tri Valley League, where the Clockers are in the mix for the league title, Zacchilli likes his team’s depth and experience in the 106 to 160 pound classes. “We’re young from 170 pounds and up but the kids are hungry for success,’’ he emphasized.
Zacchilli, who’s in his fifth year as head coach, previously served as a co-coach when Ashland and Keefe Tech competed as a co-op squad. Last season was Ashland’s first as a non-co-op team since the merger in 2002.
“We’re looking forward to the sectionals,’’ he said. “Our schedule featured strong non-league competition and that hopefully has prepared us for the post-season.
Following is a capsule look at some of Ashland’s wrestlers who’ll be competing in the sectional. (Comments provided by Zacchilli).
*BENNY HERRERA (106) — A freshman whose style can only be defined as “relentless.’’ His engine never stops because he’s on the offensive throughout a match. The way he wrestles is how Zacchilli wants his entire squad to perform. It’s go, go, go and it’s called “rolling thunder.’’ He’s fun to watch.
*ARI DINERMAN (113) — A junior, he qualified for the state tourney last year. He’s committed, coachable and technically sound. He practices intensely. A bit undersized, he’s passionate about the sport and his work ethic in practice is excellent.
*JARED SWARTZ (120) — A student of the sport, the junior qualified for the state tourney last year. He’s invested in the program, he sets high goals and he works to achieve them. A wrestler who has lofty expectations, he competes pro-actively. He’s strong when he’s on offense and he’s technically sound. His will is one of our core values.
*JON TESLER (126) — A senior, he’s a returning state qualifier who’s invested and committed to the program. He’s one of Ashland’s most improved wrestlers as far as approach goes. One of his top attributes is his consistency.
*DAVID SUNDERLAND (138) — A senior, he’s strong, tough, and gritty. Intense and physical, his perseverance is what defines him. A wrestler who’s tough when he’s on the top position, he wears opponents down. Injured last year, he competed in only seven matches. Zacchilli says he’s “what we want Ashland wrestlers to be.’’
*NOAH FULLER (145) — A senior who’s a vocal leader, he’s a returning state qualifier. A committed wrestler, one of his top attributes is accountability. His coach admires the way he gets invested emotionally with his successes and failures.
*JACK FLAHERTY (152) — A junior, he’s poised, under control and physically strong. A defensive-minded matman, he eludes being pinned. His stoic approach enables him to maintain calm when pressure mounts. Son of Rich Flaherty, one of the Clockers’ top wrestlers in the 1980s.
*JEFF WRIGHT (138) — A sophomore, he’s coachable and committed to the sport. A student of the sport, he’s willing to take advice and learn. He’s enthusiastic and eager to compete and he’s an example of a top-notch team player.
At Local Town Pages deadline, the Clockers were hoping to have three injured wrestlers available for the Sectional. They include senior Beau Mumford (160), Sunderland, and freshman Sean Harding (285).
“We’re looking for additional contributions from sophomore Josh Troutman (132), soph Erick Corvera (170), junior Finn Bates (195), junior Lucas Howard (220), senior Roberto Gomes (160), and soph Colin Dagg (182),’’ Zacchilli said.