Nashua South takes down Nashua North wrestlers

Chris Pantazis photo Nashua South's Ryan Salemi and North's Matt Oliver battle at 106 pounds during Wednesday's Battle of the Bridge match. Salemi won, 3-0.

NASHUA – Individual and team pride and bragging rights were all on the line last night when the varsity wrestling squads from Nashua South and Nashua North squared off on the Purple Panthers home mats in playing their part in the 2018-19 Battle of the Bridge between the local high schools.

The evening wound up belonging to the host squad, with the Panthers putting forth a dominant performance in tallying a 51-18 victory.

Coach Chad Zibolis’ North Titans had won their most recent dual meet – edging Alvirne of Hudson by a 36-30 tally – while Adam Langlois’ South contingent was the victim of that Timberlane powerhouse from Plaistow in its most recent, rather lopsided duals decision.

But as is most often the case when rivals match up, recent events were a million miles back in the respective teams’ rear-view mirrors when the Nashuans got into their head-to-head battle. And the now 9-9-1 hosts had a great night, notching some eight pins and a total of nine weight class wins over 4-15 North.

South senior captain Tom Cullerton, who bagged the 105th victory of his superb career with a fiery effort in the 152-pound bout, spoke for many of the folks gathered at the event when he stated what the Battle of the Bridge competitions mean to him.

“Overall, I think the South-North rivalry is the best rivalry in the state,” he said. “The kids here are so into it, and the parents and coaches really get into it too. It’s pretty special.”

The visiting Titans actually notched the first points of the night when Matt Oliver squeaked out a 3-0 decision over 106-pound bout opponent Ryan Salemi. But the home-standing Purple Panthers then received consecutive pin wins from Colby Spencer at 113, Kyle Salemi in the 120-pound contest, and Aidan Walsh in the 136-pound bout.

Luis DeJesus then managed a 6-2 decision success at 132 pounds to give his Panthers a 21-3 team lead, and the pins kept coming for the hosts when Drew Fleury claimed one at 138 pounds to make the match score a lopsided 27-3.

North notched the first of its modest two pins on the night in the 145-pound battle when Andrew Tate got one, but South the turned the tide back its way at 152 via a Cullerton pin.

Connor Goodwin claimed yet another South pin in the 160-pound contest, but Titan Spencer Whiting was able to edge opponent Robert Isaac by a 6-4 score in overtime at 182 pounds.

But the host crew received pin wins from Nathaniel Tejeda and Nate Zalzal at 195 and 220 respectively to push their squad’s match lead up to 51-12 rolling into the final, heavyweight class bout.

The Titans notched the final points of the night there at 285 thanks to a pin from Garrett Hillard.

The South squad’s break from competitive action will be extremely short, with coach Langlois’ legion taking part in the Milford Quad Meet tomorrow. North, meanwhile, will be away from competition until next Wednesday the 6th when it will be at Bedford High.