Pelham~Windham Sports

Pelham Wrestlers Take Fifth Place at Dan Gionet Tourney

by Tommy Gates

Chris Salaczar

Pelham High School welcomed 13 other high schools from around New England last Saturday to their 3rd Annual Dan Gionet Memorial Wrestling Tournament, and this one was the biggest and best so far.  Westerly High School from Rhode Island were very happy they came up for this tourney as they ended up winning it with 183 points.  Whittier Tech from Massachusetts was second with 127 points, Pentucket Regional from Mass. was third with 125 points, Con-Val took fourth place with 100 points, and coach Bob Riddinger’s Pelham Pythons took fifth place.  The Pythons would also salute two of their wrestlers for nailing down division titles as junior Mike Perruccio captured the 125-pound crown, and little freshman, Josh Medeiros, was able to win the 103-pound title.  Perruccio was 3-0 going into his final with Brandon Poulin, but he didn’t have a problem skunking his opponent 10-0 in the title match.  As for the little 103-pound freshman that always walks around with a smile on his face (Josh Medeiros) he was 3-0 with a bye heading into his championship match against Haley from Pentucket Regional before Josh turned it on in the last two rounds and came away with a convincing 8-4 victory.

Coach Riddinger had several other big efforts from his wrestlers too, as junior Ryan Cannizzaro went 3-2 in his 112-pound bracket before falling short 4-0 in his consolation final bout.  Sophomore 130-pounder, Josh Lynde wrestled very well and was 4-1 going into his consolation final, but a new rule saying that you can’t wrestle six matches in a day, had him settling for a fourth place ribbon.  Senior Mark Riddinger made it to the consolation semi’s at 152-pounds before dropping an 8-3 decision to Tyler Lott of Souhegan, but he’ll get another chance or two to see Lott again this winter.  Senior Justin Isabelle also made it to the 135-pound consolation semi’s, but dropped an 11-4 decision, and 140-pound sophomore Richie Sullivan dropped a tough 6-3 decision also in the consolation semi’s.  Pelham junior Chris Salaczar, came here in the summer from Chelmsford and played the line for the Python football teams’ state championship team, and coach Riddinger talked Chris into wrestling for the first time ever.  Last Saturday Chris won his first tournament bout when he was behind 2-1, but then got a reversal, and five seconds later pinned his opponent.  Chris later lost to Kaplan of Franklin and another big 285-pound kid from Westerly, but Salaczar had his finest outing ever.

The Pelham Pythons prepped for the Gionet Memorial Tournament by bashing Bow 63-9 Wednesday night in their first home meet of the season.  Pelham picked up 30 easy points when the Falcons failed to send wrestlers out for the 112, 140, 145, 160, and 189-pound bouts, but they did get some real nice performances from several of their wrestlers.  Freshman Josh Medeiros only needed 29 seconds to pin his opponent to the mat like a dissected frog, and 119-pound co-captain Roger Allen needed just 1:48 to pin his foe.  Mike Perruccio won a tough 4-3 decision at 125-pounds, and co-captain Justin Isabelle got a pin in just 44 seconds.  Senior co-captain Mark Riddinger got a pin in just 1:07 of his 152-pound match to close it out for the Pythons.  Following last Saturday’s fifth place finish at the Dan Gionet Tournament, coach Riddinger said, “We didn’t do that bad, but I was really hoping to finish a little higher than fifth out of the 14 teams here.  I gave the kids a little pep talk midway through, and they all know that we’ve got a battle on our hands this Wednesday night because we travel north to meet Plymouth.  We lost to them 57-21 up in Newfound a week and a half ago, so we’ll see how much we’ve learned since then.”

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Pelham Boys Cagers Slam John Stark, Bedford, and St. Thomas

by Tommy Gates

Corey Covilliard against Bedford

Pelham boys basketball coach Todd Kress gave all of his Pelham kids plenty of playing time last Thursday night in an 88-40 victory over the Bedford Bulldogs at Pelham High School.  Coach Kress also gave 10 of his kids plenty of playing time in big wins over John Stark and St. Thomas too, but somewhere along the line, his senior guard Justin Hojlo had time to toss in 100 points in those three games.  Coach Kress said, “You don’t even see it, but he’s looking for Spirou, or Lombard and Hebert underneath, and then things change and he does a nice job of ad-libbing.” Tuesday night in Dover Hojlo needed asbestos gloves he was so hot and the Pythons led the St. Thomas Saints 23-8 after one period of play. St. Thomas tried to come scratching back, but then they had to contend with sophomore Stephan Spirou and Pelham still held a comfortable 35-32 halftime lead. Hojlo was hitting every shot imaginable in piling up 35 points in this game while Spirou add 17 points, and senior Grant Hebert dropped in nine points, as Pelham raised their Class I record to 6-1.

Last Thursday night at home against Bedford, Hojlo got to play a little more than a half against Bedford and he’d have to settle for a measly 30 points on the night. The Pythons led 23-13 after one quarter, but went wild in the second stanza taking a 48-21 lead at the break. Spirou only saw limited time too, as he squeezed in 18 points, and sophomore forward Mike Lombard had another fine day under the hoop knocking down 14 points and 13 rebounds. Corey Coilliard had a career high 10 points in his game, Conor McColgan pumped in six points and Jesse Vaiknoras scored four points in the last quarter while running the offense with Dino Joyce. The Pythons played everyone and still came away with an 88-40 victory with Hojlo having to settle with just 30 points.

This team started off the week up in Weare where they’d get another 35-point effort from Hojlo in downing the Generals 88-71. Stephan Spirou had 26 points for the Pythons.  Grant Hebert hit for a dozen points and sophomore forward Mike Lombard had 10 points. With the top four teams in Class I hosting the first two tournament games this year, coach Todd Kress would love to have one of those spots and his kids will be geared up for Con-Val, who comes to Pelham High Friday night for a 6:30 p.m. contest.

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Gym-Ken Gymnastics attends Deary's Gymnastics Northeast Invite Jan 19-21 at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

The meet, officially named The 2009 DGS 9.9 Northeast Invite, welcomes over 620 female athletes and their families from all over New England and the Tri-State area.  Athletes of all levels will be competing at this officially sanctioned USA Gymnastics meet for prizes, level advancement, and overall team merits.

Our Level 7 team made up of Amanda Cioli, Jessica Lord and Kaylee Pacunas of Derry, Kadianne Tommasi and Sarah Hale of Salem, and Amanda Forti and Sarah Vignos of Windham won the 2nd place team banner.

Level 8 Marrina Mayo of Salem earned 3rd place with an all-around score of 35.275.

Level 9 Taylor Powell of Windham won the 1st place trophy with an all-around score of 35.25.  Taylor was 3rd in the entire meet for all age groups for Level 9.

Gym-Ken Gymnastics is owned and operated by Paul Shea. Gym-Ken’s competitive team coaching staff consists of Kara Lemay of Candia, Jen Corsetto of Derry, and Ruth Licata of Windham.

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Pelham Girls Hoopsters Lose to John Stark, Bedford, and St. Thomas, Now at 3-6

by Tommy Gates

Lady Luck hasn’t been seen anywhere near Pelham High School if you ask girls basketball coach Tim Powers and his Lady Pythons.  The Pelham girls started off the year at 3-3 and beat Haverhill in the Christmas Tournament, but a week and a half ago they lost their sophomore ball-handler, Alex Catalano, for six to eight weeks.  This past Tuesday night the Pelham girls entertained 4-4 St. Thomas, and Pelham’s 6’ 3” center Brianna Szidat was whistled with three fouls in the first 1o minutes of the game.  Pelham not only trailed 14-6 after the first period, but now coach Powers had to rest Szidat and not take a chance at picking up her fourth foul in the first half.  The Saints started to pull away by halftime as they upped their lead to 32-16 heading into the third quarter.  Sarah DeBaldo would have her best game of the season as she’d pump in 12 points with eight of them coming from the foul line, but the Saints stretched their lead to 47-23 after three quarters.  Szidat was still being held and mugged and she did get to the foul line a couple of times, but she also picked up her fourth foul.  Down 49-26, Szidat and company ran off 11 straight points to cut the lead to 49-37, but she picked up her fifth foul with a couple minutes left and went to the bench with 13 points.  The Saints won this game 59-42.

Friday night the Lady Pythons traveled to Bedford to take on the Bulldogs after they had beaten Bedford 54-51 in their first game of the year.  The Pelham girls did not get off to a great start and trailed 20-8 after one period, but Szidat and Jacqui Perry started clicking and they were able to cut Bedford’s lead to 38-28 at intermission.  Nicole Mastacouris also had some key hoops, as did Kayla Bailey, Sarah DeBaldo, and April Blinn, as all three had four points apiece, but Bedford still led 52-41 heading into the final frame.  Pelham did cut Bedford’s lead to three points, and Szidat was able to sink a game high 23 points, and Perry added 13 points, but the Bedford girls won this one 62-55.

Coach Powers and his Python girls look to get back into the win column this Friday night when they head for Peterborough to take on the Con-Val Cougars.

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11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions

Athlete Accolades Wanted!

Attention Parents.  Is your child involved with Recreation or School sports?  If so we would love to hear from you.  We are currently looking for “Media Parents” to submit pictures/articles from home and/or away games in the Windham area.  Please send your stories via E-mail to  Photo should be sent in a jpeg format.  For more information contact Robin or Len at the Area News Group offices at 880-1516.

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