Bedford tips Hollis Brookline in Division II wrestling showdown

BEDFORD – There is a new dual meet champion in Division II wrestling.

And if Bedford’s 43-30 win over Hollis Brookline is a sign of what’s to come, a new division champion could be crowned when the teams, and everyone else in the division, meet on Feb. 22.

The Bulldogs got out to a big lead, overcame some strong performances by the Cavaliers in the heavier weight classes, and held on for a win that left them as the lone undefeated team in division dual competition.

Despite the loss, HB coach Brian Bumpus felt good about what he saw from his wrestlers.

“We wrestled tough,” he said. “We had young guys in the lineup. We’re dealing with bumps and bruises. We had to mix and match, guys weren’t really in their normal spots. Pretty much everybody bumped up a weight.

“Bedford is tough and we knew it was going to be a battle. There were a couple matches where I thought that if we had stayed in them a little more, we could have given them a go, but at the end of the day, Bedford is the team to beat.”

Bedford (8-0) got out to a 25-6 lead through six matches, thanks to pins by Ben Dow (120 pounds), Colin Perras (132) and Josh Belz (145). The Bulldogs also got wins from Chris Conery, an 11-2 winner over Christian Lopez at 152, and Ben Gilman, who held off Nick McPherson 4-3 at 138.

“Nick McPherson, for him to hang in there, it was pretty big,” Bumpus said. “That took some heart and it was nice to see him wrestle tough. Conery is a runner-up from last year and Lopez is a sophomore. He wrestled tough. I think that was kind of a spark going into the upper weights.”

It seemed to be, as Wyatt Farwell stormed out to a 6-2 lead over Justin Mello at 160 and recorded a pin with 54 seconds left in the second period. Caleb Lomme followed at 170 with a pin of Bedford’s Ben Miller just 49 seconds in the match.

That cut Bedford’s lead to 25-18, but Ryan Belz followed with a 7-1 win at 182 to push the lead back to 10 points.

“We have to known that no matter what happens in the dual meet, it’s not over,” Bedford coach Bob Benincasa said. “We have to keep pushing because there are more guys in the lineup who are going to get us back into it. We can’t let one or two matches swing the momentum and determine the outcome.”

It appeared the Bulldogs weren’t going to let momentum swing, as Matt Houston took a 9-4 lead over Kayne Robert at 195. But the HB sophomore managed to take down Houston in the second and pinned him with six seconds left in the period to pull the Cavs within four, 28-24.

HB’s Chris Lazich then had a 4-3 lead late against Bobby Heald in the 220 match, but Heald recorded a takedown in the final minute and held on for a 5-4 win that secured the match for Bedford. HB had to forfeit two of the final three matches.

“It was fantastic by (Heald),” Benincasa said. “He had beaten that kid before, but it was by a score of 1-0. He knew it was going to be a tight match and then he got into a position where he was behind. He had to dig deep and find a way to pull it out for the team.”

The Cavs also got a win at 126 from Nathaniel Lindsay, who pinned Bedford’s Jake Valeri in 3:07.

Both teams are in action on Saturday before having a week off heading into the Division II championship, which will be in Hollis on Feb. 22.