Brunswick School wrestling team ready to resume action

The winter holiday break was just what the Brunswick School wrestling team needed. Coming off a stretch where the Bruins finished 10 dual meets in 14 days, Brunswick got some time off to rest and prep for the second part of their schedule.

However, if the rest of the schedule is played out like the first part, the sky’s the limit for the Brunswick grapplers.

With the winter break coming to an end, Brunswick currently sits at 8-2 on the season. They finished off their tough stretch of matches against Iona Prep and came away with the 51-28 win. Seniors Nick Ulanoff and Johnny Erdman; juniors Rohan Das, Owen Schubert, captain Jimmy Bell and Gregg Nabhan; sophomore Clay Berger and Matt Marvin; and freshman Tyler McMillian all picked up victories.

“I am very happy where we are right now,” Brunswick School head coach Tim Ostrye said. “We have been working hard. I am pleasantly surprised, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels. We’re going to work hard and try to stay where we are and get even better.”

So far this season, the Bruins have been exceeding early expectations by Ostrye.

To start the month of December, Brunswick took fourth place in the highly-competitive Canterbubry Invitational. Bell (138) took second place individually, while senior captain Connor Kupersmith (152) and junior Michael Keating (182) finished with the bronze.

Brunswick took the momentum from the Canterbury meet and used it to beat defending WNEISWA champions Avon Old Farms three days later, 63-16. Schubert, Bell, Kupersmith, senior Joe Caruso, Keating, Marvin, junior Dan Hughes and senior Willy Rosato each netted wins.

Proving that the win against Avon wasn’t a fluke, Brunswick took to the mat at the Loomis Chaffee Holiday Duals. Not only did they once again beat Avon, 52-30, but they beat Windsor High School 64-12 in the semis to earn the right to wrestle New England champions Northfield Mount Herman School.

Brunswick lost the match, but were mere inches away from pulling off the upset, as the Northfield grappler had his back to the mat, but the Bruins couldn’t get the pin to seal the victory.

“The bottom line is that we lost 40-36 and that was a surprise,” Ostrye said. “At that point in the year I didn’t expect us to be there. That kind of got us going. We went to Choate, where it came down to the last match and our kid ended up pinning him.”

In addition to the Choate victory, Brunswick beat Suffield Academy, who was 9-0 the time, 51-25. Leading the day was the duo of Schubert and Bell, who each picked up first period pinfall victories.

One of the reasons the Bruins are sitting where they are right now is because of their hard work and willingness to dedicate themselves to the sport.

“I think they know how to win,” Ostrye said. “They understand what this program is all about and the tradition here. They want to be the group that wants to carry on that strong tradition. There are veterans that have been around. We have four seniors and they have last year’s experience. The older kids are good with the younger kids and try to help them understand the tradition and work ethic they need to put forth to be successful.”

To see why the Bruins are successful, just look back at last year’s squad, which was younger and less experienced. That team had all 13 grapplers finish top six in the Western New England Independent School Wrestling Association Tournament and Brunswick ended the tourney second to only Avon Old Farms.

Owen Schubert was Brunswick’s best finisher, taking the silver. Clay Berger and Johnny Erdman grabbed fourth overall, while the duo of jimmy Bell and Nick Ulanoff finished fifth. Willy Rosato, Petey Briggs and Michael Keating each finished sixth overall.

“This was a really young team last year and look what we achieved,” Ostrye said. “Obviously we set winning it as a goal for this year. There is a lot of parity and there are five teams that could win it. If we continue to work hard, you never know. We are still young and need to learn more, as well as the older guys. They need to get in better shape and push themselves and the rest of the team.”

Leading the way for Brunswick this year are captains Bell, Kupersmith and senior Petey Briggs.

“The captains are your leaders,” Ostrye said. “They set the tone. If you have mature and hard working captains that the kids are going to look up to and emulate, then that’s the ticket to being successful. Jimmy Bell and Connor Kupersmith have been great and Petey Briggs is a good captain. All have been with the program for a good amount of time. Although Petey was injured the first week and hasn’t been in the room every day because of physical therapy, he’s been really helping the team early and we’re looking for big things from him.”

Starting Saturday, the Bruins will be back in action from their winter break and the schedule won’t get easier. Saturday’s home meet will be against Trinity Pawling and Salisbury. Seven days later, it’s back on the mat when they travel to Taft School.

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