Jun. 11—The 2020-21 school year has forced student athletes and coaches to make big time adjustments in their respective sport. No sport, however, has been put through the ringer more than the sport of wrestling.
Originally scheduled for the winter season, wrestling was not cleared to play when the other winter sports competed from December to late February. The sport did not get the clearance to compete in the "Fall 2" season, which took place from late February to late April.
Instead, wrestling has taken place in the spring season.
"We didn't think this season was going to happen at all but we're glad we got the chance to compete," Gloucester head coach Matt Swanson said. "Dual meets are tough for us because our numbers are low, but we have a tough group of athletes that came to compete."
Wrestlers were put in a tough spot as they are the only athletes that potentially had to make a choice between two sports they have been competing in for years. With wrestling usually taking place in the winter, a lot of the athletes on the 2020 squad played a spring sport. That affected Gloucester's overall numbers this season.
"It's one of those season where there are no hard feelings," Swanson said. "It's such a unique year and some kids were forced into tough decisions and chose to play their usual spring sport. But we also had some athletes that chose to stick with wrestling too."
The Fishermen hosted Salem in Northeastern Conference dual meet action on Thursday at the Smith Field House and turned in their second victory of the season, 27-24.
Daniel Beaton picked up a win at 132 pounds in a back-and-forth match that was decided by points. Gloucester's other three wins came from brothers Will, Michael and Jayden Toppan.
Will, a sophomore, picked up the victory via pin at 160 pounds while twin brothers Michael and Jayden, freshmen, won via pin at 182 and 220 pounds respectively.
"Beaton had a great match today and fought back from an early deficit to get the win. He's a captain this season and has really stepped it up," Swanson said. "And the Toppan brothers are all outstanding. They're our young core and all three of them can be dominant. We could see some big things from them in the future."
Gloucester's four victors in Thursday's match have all had consistent seasons along with seniors Josiah Castellucci, a transfer from Landmark who earned his 100th career win earlier this season and senior captain Quinten Ulrich.
Gloucester also has four girls on the roster in Morgan Pennimpede, Olivia Amaral, Kylie O'Connell and Bailee Militello.
The Fishermen have one meet remaining on the season at home against Danvers on Tuesday (5 p.m.) and the conference is planning to hold a dual meet tournament which has yet to be announced.
"Danvers will be a good test for us, we're pretty evenly matched," Swanson said. "Overall we're just happy we got the chance to have a season. It's different but it's still high school wrestling."