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.