The Marblehead-Swampscott Black & Blue co-op wrestling team has just two team wins to date, but there have been many outstanding individual performances that promise hope for the future and have brought some acclaim to seniors on the roster.
Season highlights to date
Senior captain Nicolai Tarason of Swampscott (25-7) has literally been the team’s leader. This year, he won the Anthony Lisitano Memorial, ended up fifth at the Pentucket Holiday Tourney and was third in the Daniel Gionet Memorial.
“(Tarason) has been excellent on his feet, and in every other position on the mat. He’s also the vocal and emotional leader of the team,” coach Mike Stamison said. “He is a great wrestler on top, and is overall very cerebral, intelligent and tough.”
Tarason’s attitude provides a good role model for the younger grapplers on the roster, including freshman Liam O’Brien of Swampscott, who won the Pentucket and Gionet tournaments, and was sixth in the Lisitano Memorial. He is 25-5 so far this year.
Sophomore Mason Hinshaw of Swampscott (21-4), a transfer student from San Antonio, Texas, was the Gionet champion in his weight group after coming in third in the Lisitano Memorial.
“He’s a quiet kid but may be one of the more talented guys on the team this year,” Stamison said.
Junior captain Angelo Knight of Marblehead was injured to start the season but did finish fourth in Pentucket and third in the Gionet Memorial.
“(Knight) was named the team’s second captain for the Bridgewater-Raynham quad meet on Jan. 7 as a result of his contributions on the mat but more importantly in the practice room,” Stamison said. “He is a good wrestler but a better kid and teammate.”
Stamison shares thoughts on seniors
Zach Perlman, Marblehead
“Marblehead senior Zach Perlman is a first-year wrestler. He is a calm teammate, who sadly had his season cut short by injury. I truly wish we had more time together with him, because I think if we could’ve had him all four seasons, he would have been a dangerous wrestler.”
Miles DeRiggi, Marblehead
“Similar to Zach, Miles is calm and quiet. He filled in admirably early on this season at 220. As a first-year wrestler, that’s no easy task. I truly wish he had also decided to come out as a freshman with Perlman, because they would have been great teammates. But nonetheless, thanks for trying something new. This is truly the most difficult of sports, and I admire the character he has by sticking with it.
“Both Perlman and DeRiggi are coachable young men, and that will take them a long way in life.”
Mark Babineau, Marblehead
“Mark has been on the team since his freshman season and is the team’s longest tenured member, along with Swampscott senior captain Tarason. He has been a good soldier for us ever since. He is 5-11 to date this year and took sixth place at Wakefield. He has also been steady in the practice room while battling injuries year in and year out. He is my favorite scorekeeper. He was injured early on in the weird spring COVID season and is the only team member that seemingly knows how to hold a pencil. Thanks, Mark, for four years of service to our team.”
Roni Snitkovsky, Swampscott
“Roni is new to the team and sport this season and has won a few exhibitions for us. He’s a good drilling partner and teammate, and I wish we had more time together with him. Roni is the team’s Uber driver, taking his teammates over to practices at Marblehead High School every day.”
Drew Roddie, Swampscott
“Similar to Roni, Drew is brand new to the sport and has taken to it quickly. He narrowly missed out on medaling at the Wakefield and Pentucket tournaments, going 2-2 in each. He is 6-10 on the season and is a good drilling partner and teammate. Drew takes to coaching well and is only improving.”
A.J. Kluge, Swampscott
“The quiet A.J. has been a fixture in our lineup since joining us in the spring COVID season. He has been durable, supportive and a valued teammate. He’s taken his lumps but has never begged out of a match and has always come back. All summer, he worked with us at the YMCA to get better, and he certainly has improved. We appreciate his effort and sacrifice for the last three seasons.”
Nicolai Tarason, Swampscott, captain
“A four-year starter for us, he has a 39-18 record the last two seasons. This season, he has won the Wakefield Tournament, placed fifth at Pentucket and was third at Pelham. He’s been a constant presence who’s also durable and honestly one of the best captains we have ever had.
“Fun fact: Until he was appointed captain this season, I had no idea he had a Boston accent. It just goes to show how he led by example during his first few seasons, and then when thrust into a leadership role he has been vocal and passionate. He has been a big part of our recent team success in the 138-to-160-pound category. He wrestled in our first-ever outdoor match at Piper Field in the spring COVID season, and he pinned his opponent from Triton in our first-ever win over them last season. He has placed in numerous tournaments. Thank you, Nicolai, for four great seasons.”