The Pelham Pythons wrestling team came out of last weekend’s Division 2 Wrestling Tournament at Bedford High school with 97 points, which was good enough to place them seventh out of the 19 teams that participated in this giant tournament. Coach Bob Riddinger also knows that a couple of his Pythons took the initiative to make plans for this weekend at Londonderry High School, because that is where the 2009 NH Meet of Champions will be held. Junior Mike Perruccio is no stranger to the Meet of Champions, but this year he will be looking for 125-pound title after winning that weight class last weekend. Pelham’s other division winner is none other than freshman Josh Medeiros who blew his way through the 103-pound class. Coach Riddinger will have another wrestler attending Saturdays Meet of Champions in Londonderry as his son, Mark Riddinger, qualified for this event in the 152-pound division. The Pelham coach said, “I would have liked to do better, but I look at all the other top teams that are laden with seniors and then I look at our young squad with so many underclassmen and I really can’t complain. Mark did very well to place fourth in his 152-pound division because that was one of the toughest divisions, along with the 119 pound, and 145-pound divisions. Mark went 4-2 on the day so he earned his trip to Londonderry next week.”
Pelham’s Mike Perruccio was seriously being considered as a possible “Outstanding Wrestler” of the tournament because the junior 125-pound All-Stater had three pins leading up to his title match with Bow’s Ben Morrow. Perruccio started off the tournament with an early pin in the second period over a kid from Franklin and needed only 3:29 in his quarter-final about to pin his foe from Newport. Perruccio made quick work of his opponent in the semi-finals from Souhegan, as he laid him to rest in just 1:20 of the first period, and he saved his best for last when he beat defending champion, Ben Morrow of Bow, with a resounding 8-4 victory in the 125-pound finals.
This was something new for 14-year old freshman, Josh Medeiros though, as the 103-pounder went 4-0 in the tournament and only got any kind of challenge from the kid from Plymouth in the semi-final match. Medeiros got hit with four penalty points, but was still able to move onto the finals with an 11-9 victory. In the championship match, Medeiros was all over White Mountain’s Carleton Kleinscrodt like “A hobo on a ham sandwich” as he was invincible in running away with a 9-0 major decision victory.
Coach Riddinger thinks his kids will be right at home with the big boys at the Meet of Champions this weekend. Riddinger said, “We went 11-9 in our dual meets this season with a lot of them coming against Division 1 teams, and I think we did more than hold our own, considering how young we are. Perruccio is going to be going up against Can Sullivan from Timberlane and James Hurlihy of Pinkerton and those are two of the finest wrestlers in New England. Josh Medeiros will be seeing Division 1 champ Zach Brinson of Timberlane and Pat Terrin of Newton South. Mark will be hopefully getting another shot at Lott of Souhegan and Mitchell from ConVal besides seeing Division 1 kids like Cody Byrd of Londonderry and Seth Grimes of Merrimack. It should be a lot of fun and I know that our three kids will be giving it their best shot.”
Pelham’s girls gymnastic coach, Amanda Iwanicki, took her 11 Pelham athletes over to Salem High School last Saturday morning for the big State Meet. The girls all met at about 7:30 and got over to Davis Gymnasium, knowing that with only two seasons under their belt, they were the youngest team in the state. That didn’t matter one bit to senior Chelsea I’Anson. The slim blonde, who terrorized opposing goalies on the field hockey field, was now showing off her stuff on the gymnastic floor against the best girls in New Hampshire, and Chelsea certainly made a name for herself on this day. The Python team finished in the 12th position for team scores with 103.225 points, but there were some outstanding efforts from this young team. With about 400 girls participating in this all day event, I’Anson had her finest hour early on in the day when she went out and put up a 9.2 routine on the Balance Beam which blew away the competition, including eventual All-Around state champion, Kaitlyn O’Brien of Spaulding, who finished in fourth place with an 8.9 score. Chelsea then hit the Uneven Bars where she scooped up an eighth place spot with an 8.3 score. I’Anson had an 8.450 score to tie for the 20th position in the Floor Exercise, and she also tied for the 20th position in the Vault where she earned an 8.150 score. For this terrific morning Chelsea and her mother and teammates were asked to come back for the medal ceremonies that started at about 4:15 later that afternoon, so that I’Anson could pick up her Balance Beam gold medal from NHIAA Board Official Mike Kobilarsik. Chelsea also ended up scoring 34.100 in the All-Around which had her in seventh place, as she was just edged out from an All-State medal by Farmington’s Paige Smith.
When I’Anson wasn’t wooing the crowd and the judges with her nifty routines, she was busy cheering on her 10 teammates, many of whom were participating in their first ever State Meet. Slick sophomore Xiomorah Rams had a nice 6.575 score in Floor Exercise, then hit her Vault to pick up a nice 7.150 score, and finished up the morning session with top efforts in the Uneven Bars and the Balance Beam as the Python’s second All-Around girl. Coach Iwanicki also got gutsy efforts from Vanessa Alicea, Amber Faucher, Chelsea Desmarais, and Nicole Prud’homme on the Balance Beam, and from Alanna Flannagan, Faucher, and Desmarais on the Uneven Bars. Mikayla Cullerton, Alicea, Flannagan, and Faucher all performed well in the Vault, and Jessica Morin, Alicea, Cullerton, and Desmarais did nice routines on the Floor Exercises. It was certainly a day worth waiting for, for Pelham senior gymnast Chelsea I’Anson, the first All-State Gymnast champion in school history.
Souhegan was looking for a big upset win over coach Todd Kress’ 17-1 Pythons last Friday night, and they hit five 3-pointers and scored 31 points in the second period alone. While that may sound devastating for Python fans, we all know what the kids do in the second half at The Pit, and especially if they have Justin Hojlo on their team! Souhegan took a 46-43 halftime lead, but Justin Hojlo was just starting to warm up. Hojlo would toss in 17 points in the second half, and Stephen Spirou would tally 17 points with 13 of them coming from the charity stripe. Grant Hebert was big under the basket and he netted 14 points on Senior Night, and Sean Sweeney had a career-high 11 points, as the Pythons took this game 84-75. All Justin Hojlo did was to end up with 30 points in driving the Sabres bonkers in the second half, and those points give him 1,721 points as the Pythons all-time leading scorer. Hojlo just recently passed James Romans’ total of 1,680. Sophomore forward Mike Lombard chipped in with eight points and had a ton of big caroms to help in this big win. The Pythons will now sit back and see if they get the number one or number two seed in Class I, because as of early this week they were tied at 17-1 with Pembroke Academy. The Pythons will get to host a game in the first round of the Class I tournament against either the number 15 or number 16 seeded team before hosting another team in the second round.
Last Friday coach Kress’ Pelham kids got another stiff test at Hollis/Brookline as they held a slight 16-14 first-quarter lead and only enjoyed a 30-25 advantage by intermission. Both teams exhibited some tough defense, and the Python pulled away in the third quarter when they limited the Cavaliers to just five points in the quarter while sinking 16 themselves. Justin Hojlo led the Pythons with 22 points, and that surpassed James Romans’ all-time record of 1,680 points. Stephen Spirou was a big help again. Chipping in with 13 points, Grant Hebert and Sean Sweeney had seven points apiece, and Josh Boissonneault added six points and several key rebounds.
11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions
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