PLAISTOW — For years, senior 160-pounder Chris Pagliccia has been biding his time for the Timberlane wrestling team, and it hasn’t always been pleasant.
For two years, he wrestled behind rugged New England champion Nick Lawrence and last year he was a backup for state champion Efrain Rolan.
“They beat me up a lot (in practice) but it made me better,” said Pagliccia. “I was nervous tonight, it was nerve-wracking, but I thought I was ready.”
Indeed, wrestling under the spotlight in the Owls’ gym for the first time in his career, Pagliccia showed he was more than prepared for his varsity debut as he pinned Londonderry senior Xander Coburn in the second period in the Owls’ 66-12 romp over Londonderry.
“I thought Chris looked very good and another new guy (to the varsity lineup), Tim McLinden, was impressive,” said Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian.
McLinden, a junior, stepped in at 120 pounds, and recorded a pin at the 1:10 mark.
Pagliccia started fast in the first period, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and then used a quick shoulder move in the second period to record the fall at the 3:43 mark.
After his impressive debut, and with such good training partners in the past, Pagliccia is, for a first-year varsity wrestler, aiming high.
“Nothing’s holding me back — I’m shooting for the top,” said Pagliccia. “I’m going for the MOC (Meet of Champions) and I want to wrestle in New England. I’ve been wrestling with the best (at Timberlane) so I think I can do it.”
McLinden started the meet with the first of five wins for Timberlane, the fifth being an 8-2 decision by senior 145-pounder Josh Burnham over Londonderry sophomore Kyle Byrd. It was the 100th win of Burnham’s career, but it wasn’t easy. The first period ended in a scoreless tie until Burnham took relative control.
“It was better to get it (100th win) here,” said Burnham, who was selected by Chooljian as Timberlane’s Wrestler of the Meet. “I want to get to 150.”
Recording first-period pins for Timberlane in addition to McLinden were Adam Corey (126), Dan Scalzo (138), Josh Riley (170), Cam Gargano (195) and Shawn Grenier (220). Harry Denoncourt added a 10-5 decision at 182 and, in the final (and perhaps best) match of the night, Tyler Fitzpatrick pinned Mitch Rose at the 5:35 mark after they battled to a 0-0 tie through two periods.
Overall, it was an encouraging performance by the Owls, who unveiled last year’s New England championship banner before the meet. But Chooljian wasn’t reading much into it.
“We’re going to have an evolving lineup until we come up with what we hope is the right combination,” said Chooljian. “We saw some good things tonight, but it’s just one meet and there were some guys who weren’t in the lineup who will help us.”
Despite the lopsided score, there were some positive signs for Londonderry, who started four freshmen and two sophomores. One of the freshmen, Amir Daouk, delivered a second period pin at 106 pounds.
agateText:106: Amir Daouk (L) pin Jake Shaheen 3:09; 113: Tyler Fitzpatrick (T) pin Mitch Rsoe 5:35; 120: Tim McLinden (T) pin Ryan Cabezas 1:10; 126: Adam Corey (T) pin Jake Barr :31; 132: Ryan Peters (T) by forfeit; 138: Dan Scalzo (T) pin Jimmy Nee 1:03; 145: Josh Burnham (T) dec. Kyle Byrd 8-2; 152: Jon Young (L) pin Brian Lonergan 3:09; 160: Chris Pagliccia (T) pin Xander Coburn 3:43; 170: Josh Riley (T) pin Richard Bilodeau 1:15; 182: Harry Denoncourt (T) dec. Jon DiSessa 10-5; 195: Cam Gargano (T) pin Madhi Achab :54; 220: Shawn Grenier (T) pin Kyle Feden :30; HVY: Zach Stewart (T) by forfeit
Records: Londonderry 0-1, Timberlane 1-0
What big meet? Timberlane co-captain Josh Burnham, who picked up the 100th victory of his career last night, insists that the Owls are not looking ahead to their Dec. 15 dual-meet showdown at home against three-time Division 2 state champion North Andover. "We're not thinking about that," said Burnham. "It's one day at a time, starting with practice tomorrow."