Brunswick wrestling grappling with youth, varsity inexperience

Legendary Brunswick wrestling coach Tim Ostrye talks to one of his athletes during a recent match last season.  — John Ferris Robben photo

Legendary Brunswick wrestling coach Tim Ostrye talks to one of his athletes during a recent match last season. — John Ferris Robben photo

The youth movement has hit the Brunswick School wrestling team. However, that doesn’t mean that head coach Tim Ostrye and the rest of the Bruins are planning a rebuilding season.

Last season the Bruins had a stellar season and finished their dual meet season 16-1 overall. They captured the Brunswick Invitational Tournament and took second in the Canterbury Tournament. Brunswick took top honors at the Fairchester Athletic Association and Western New England championships in addition to placing 11th at the New England championships.

However, when the season ended, the Bruins lost a plethora of talent to graduation. Rohan Das was the FAA champion in the 113-pound weight class and took sixth at Western New Englands. Jimmy Bell finished a team-best 32-6 overall and took home the FAA and Western New England titles. He also finished fourth at New Englands.

Owen Schubert grabbed the bronze at the BIT and was co-champion at the FAA tourney and fourth and eighth at New Englands. Not to be outdone was Evan Jonokuchi, who went 21-6 at the 145-pound weight class and took fourth at Western New Englands, and Greg Nabhan, who grabbed the silver at Western New Englands.

Michael Keating grabbed third overall at the Brunswick Invitational and was fifth in the state.

“We lost nine kids last year to graduation, and those kids spent four years in the wrestling room,” Ostrye said. “With all those guys combined, we probably lost over 300 wins. That’s a huge amount. Any time you lose a group like that, it’s going to hurt, and it’s important to have a core coming up. It’s going to take a while, but hopefully not that long.”

While Brunswick lost a bunch of talent, senior captain Jack Jones still sees a lot of potential for this season and the future.

“I see a lot of potential on this team,” Jones said. “We lost a lot of guys last year and have a lot of new faces here, but I think having the underclassmen provides a great future for us. If we put in the work, I think we could do very well this year. Our goal is to win another States, and hopefully we can achieve that goal.”

The one obvious thing about Brunswick this year is the newcomers to the varsity lineup. While the future is looking bright for the Bruins, Ostrye still is hoping the team doesn’t miss a beat.

“I am starting five sophomores, one eighth grader and a freshman,” Ostrye said. “I am starting two seniors and a junior. Half of my team is gone. I have a good core back, but when you’re putting half your team out there that is so young, it’s tough. We really have to get better every day. If we are going to win another state championship, another BIT and another FAA championship, the kids in the lineup have to get better.”

With a team full of underclassmen, the trio of captains for Brunswick need to step up their game even more, both on and off the mat. Seniors Matt Marvin and Jones, along with junior Alex Russell, have given Ostrye plenty of reasons to smile.

The Brunswick School wrestling team takes to the mat during last year’s Brunswick Invitational Tournament. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Brunswick School wrestling team takes to the mat during last year’s Brunswick Invitational Tournament. — John Ferris Robben photo

“They are doing a tremendous job,” Ostrye said. “They have been fabulous. They lead by example, and that’s something that I preach. The captains work hard in practice and show the kids what it’s all about. With such a young team, their leadership is so important. This year they have to be more of a role model to show the younger kids the right way to practice. When a kid has a setback, I need them to pick him back up.”

Jones will move up from the 126-pound weight class and wrestle at 152 this season, while Russell will compete in the 182-pound weight class. Last year Jones finished fourth at the BIT and grabbed 12 wins for the team. Russell was stellar at 182, finishing 27-6. He won the FAA championship, was second at Western New Englands and took third at the BIT.

“It’s great to lead this team,” Russell said. “I came in here as a freshman, and it’s really cool to be here now and leading the team. I think we have a great future for us. We are also doing well right now. We are having a great start to the year, and I think this team has the potential to win States. It’s one of our goals. We need to all do our jobs in our weight classes.

Marvin is back in familiar territory, competing in the 195-pound division. Marvin grabbed gold at the FAA championships and the silver in Western New Englands, and finished the season 26-6.

“I expect them to win a lot,” Ostrye said. “Matt’s been in the program for four years, Jack has been here for four years and Alex has been here three years. They are my senior guys. Two of them are seniors and Alex has been in the program so much that it seems like he’s a senior. Until the younger kids step it up, I need them to step it up. I expect them to be top three or four in the state, if not champions.”

Right from the start, Ostrye has high expectations from the Hennessey brothers. Brooks Hennessey will compete in the 106-pound weight class, while Andrew will compete in the 113-pound division. At the Canterbury Tournament last weekend, Brooks Hennessey won his weight class, while his brother finished with the bronze.

“It’s great having those kids back to back because you pretty much expect them to win every time they step on the mat,” Ostrye said. “They are both very knowledgeable and absorb a lot of the sport. They are also mentally tough and know how to rise to the occasion.”

Sophomore Emmett Bell will wrestle at the 126-pound weight class, but Ostrye is hoping he will drop weight and compete later in the year at 122. At 132 will be junior Sandro Mariani, while sophomore Alex Tucker will compete at the 138-pound weight class.

Coming over from Byram Hills this season is junior Jon Errico. Ostrye said that in the short time seeing his newest wrestler, he believes Errico might be one of the best wrestlers he’s ever coached.

“He was a section champ and took fourth in New York state,” Ostrye said. “He won his weight class by beating a really talented kid and also got Most Outstanding Wrestler at Canterbury. He’s already making an impact and establishing his legacy here at Brunswick. He’s a good kid and elevates the tone in the room by having him around.”

At the 152-pound weight class will be Jones.

“It’s a privilege to lead this team,” Jones said. “It’s an honor to be a captain here, especially with the other two captains, Alex and Matt. They are great guys. It’s a big responsibility, but I’m grateful to have the chance to provide team leadership.”

Junior Lucas Bell will compete at 160, while at 170 will be freshman Nicholas Mosher. Sophomore Lachlan Rosato will be at 220, and Joe Fervil rounds out the team at the heavyweight division.

“Right now I couldn’t be happier with their work ethic,” Ostrye said. “We have been working pretty hard here, but that’s nothing new for wrestling here at Brunswick. We work hard every year, try to get better after every practice, and this team is really doing a good job with that. They understand that they are in a program that sets high goals, and we plan on trying to work hard in an attempt to achieve them.”

This year, Ostrye said, he has been constantly working on footwork, technique and having wrestlers learn the moves better to the point where the athletes aren’t thinking about them before they do them.

“Pinning is going to be so important for us,” Ostrye said. “That’s how we won the state tournament last year. We were known as one of the better pinning teams in the state, and I want that to continue this year. When you pin an opponent, you get two extra points, and those points are going to be huge for us to get.”

While the team is young and inexperienced at the varsity level, don’t think Ostrye has lowered his goals for the team.

“Our goals are just as high this year, and hopefully the guys will work to achieve them,” Ostrye said. “As I say every year, we set the bar high. These kids coming in here have to understand that the bar is there and help us out. Our veterans are going to have to come through big time. I believe we have good enough athletes and good enough kids that are focused. I think at the end of the season we have a shot at a championship. We would be underachieving if we didn’t shoot for a championship.”

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