Courtesy of Kim Peters
RHS ninth grader Casey Coughlin wins a match.
By Kim Peters
Rutland High School freshman wrestlers, Mark Napolitano, Jr., Casey Coughlin and Hunter Cameron, will participate in the JV State Tournament at Spaulding High School this upcoming Saturday, Feb. 20. Dakota Peters, also a freshman but wrestling on the Varsity level, will have to wait until the following weekend to wrestle at Varsity States which is at Mill River High School.
Head Coach Matt Tuscano is excited to take the JV boys to states and believes they will place well. “All three boys have had constant improvement this year wrestling in over 25 matches each,” he said. “They have bought into the training program and have realized that the harder they work, the better the results will be.”
Tuscano is specifically impressed with Hunter and Casey who had never wrestled before this season. “The first time a wrestler steps on the mat for their very first match I know the anxiety they feel, and for these two wrestlers there was lots of nerves! Luckily a month into the season both boys, Hunter (weight class 145) and Casey (weight class 138) were able to control their nerves and both placed second in the JV Mt. Abe invitational.”
The sport of wrestling is not like other team sports, it is just the athlete and their opponent on a mat. The win will be decided by each individual, not a teammate or even a coach. As an athlete you cannot blame others for your loss, the wrestler is solely responsible for the outcome. Rutland only has four wrestlers, which makes practices a challenge at times due to wrestling partners.
Late in the season, Ethan Woodberry, a seventh grader saw an article on Dakota Peters, who had recently won the Otter Valley tournament. He was inspired by the Rutland club team and has been coming to practices since. Coach Matt Tuscano is interested in starting a youth program and/or a middle school program, so that others like Woodberry can begin wrestling sooner and be a feeder program to the high school team.
Head Coach Matt Tuscano has been involved in the sport of wrestling for over 20 years and was a state champion, himself, at Fair Haven. He continued his wrestling career for University of Southern Maine for four years. Tuscano puts in over 12 hours of coaching a week, not including the 10-hour wrestling meets on the weekend. His dedication and passion for the sport of wrestling and his wrestlers is apparent when he is coaching on the sideline.