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Goffstown, Bedford grapplers go head to head, but Grizzlies win

Sickness took its toll on the Bedford wrestling team at its meet on Wednesday, Dec. 12, meet against Goffstown. Several competitors were missing from head coach Bob Benincasa's usual starting lineup, which hindered the Bulldogs in their loss to the Grizzlies.

'Against Goffstown, we weren't able to put out a full lineup,' Benincasa said. 'A lot of kids were sick. We were missing four kids from the varsity lineup, so we wound up losing to Goffstown in a divisional matchup.'

The loss brought both teams to 1-1. Bedford won its season opener over Alvirne and Goffstown fell to Merrimack to start its winter season.

'That's a tough loss that we're going to have to take, but we'll just have to rebound from it and keep trying to win against those Division II opponents that we'll see the rest of the year,' said Benincasa.

Bedford escaped the sickness bug Saturday, rebounding to finish third at the Bow Holiday Tournament.

'We rebounded well Saturday,' Benincasa said. 'We got everybody healthy, got our lineup together, got everybody in their right weight class and we rebounded and had a fantastic showing.'

Of the 16 competing schools, the only two teams to beat the Bulldogs were Division I opponents Londonderry, which came in first, and runner-up Manchester Central. Bedford managed two champions at their respective weight classes, and had several runners-up.

Matt Houston was the tournament's champion at 195 pounds and Robert Lamy won amongst the heavy-weights. Bedford's runners-up were Colin Perras at 120 pounds, Josh Belz at 132 and Robert Bernard at 182.

Bedford's next contest is Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Hollis-Brookline Nor' Easter Invitational Tournament. As in the Bow Holiday Tournament, the Bulldogs will face Division I competition from schools like Bishop Guertin and Pinkerton, and Campbell, which Benincasa said is a strong Division III team. The tournament will also be Bedford's first look at Hollis-Brookline.

'We'll get a chance to see them and see how good they are this year coming off their title run from last year,' said Benincasa.

He said the tournaments Bedford competes in over the course of the season are essential to a successful showing at the state tournament at the end of the season.

'These tournaments that we hit throughout the season are very similar to what goes on at the state tournament,' Benincasa said. 'If you learn how to wrestle your way through a tough day of three or four matches throughout the season, that's going to get them ready and prepared for the state tournament at the end of the year.'

Bedford resumes action after winter break on Jan. 3 against Winnacunnet.

Goffstown starts a day earlier, at home against Spaulding.

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