EXETER — The Exeter High School wrestling team came into the season with limited experience, but the team has continued to improve, pinning down its most convincing win of the year on Wednesday night with a 60-24 decision over Nashua North.
“We are starting to execute more in competition,” said Exeter coach Greg Dussol. “We are always trying to build on what we practice, and we are working hard in practice, but executing in matches is a lot different than in practice.”
Dussol said his team, although somewhat inexperienced, has been showing steady signs of growth throughout the season. On Wednesday night against an even less experienced Nashua North team, the Blue Hawks did what they had to do, securing wins by fall in seven of eight contested matches.
Tannar Thornton (170 pounds), Nick Beebe (195), Jack Hess (132), Gage Bolduc (138), and Alex Hagan each secured first round wins by fall for Exeter.
Kyle Cotoia (182), Justin Tatman and Mitchell Lennon (126) also picked up wins by fall, while Matt Cotoia won via forfeit.
Max Ackerman (220) picked up the only contested win for North.
“It feels really great (to win at home),” said Thornton. “We have improved a lot this season, and I am looking forward to being able to grow in the future.”
Thornton hopes the team will continue to improve as it approaches the end of the season and the state meet.
“I am hoping to see everybody do their best and work as hard as possible to be the best version of themselves they can be,” he said.
For Nashua North coach Chad Zibolis, Wednesday’s loss was another chance for a team with nearly zero experience to improve and grow.
“Last year we only had two guys on the team,” Zibolis said. “This year we were able to get 28 kids to come out, but most of them have never wrestled before. We’ve been getting better every week, and that’s all you can ask for with a team with this little experience.”
For Dussol and the Blue Hawks, the big night could serve as a springboard to the end of the season and the Division I state meet.
“We try to wrestle a good 6 minutes no matter who we are facing,” he said. “We want to push the pace. We train hard, so we think our conditioning is good. Sometimes that conditioning is the difference in a match.”
The lack of experience for the Blue Hawks has actually limited the amount of pressure on them, according to Dussol, and allowed them to simply focus on improvement.
“We just want to take it one match at a time and see what we can do," the coach said. "We’ve been working so hard in practice. Every day I see something new from (team members) that impresses me.”