BEDFORD — He was the best wrestler in the gym, but A.J. Pagliarulo didn’t get on the mat during Wednesday night’s season-opening dual meet between Bedford High School and Londonderry.
Pagliarulo, who won the Meet of Champions at 138 pounds last year, won’t wrestle at all this season. He had surgery on his left shoulder and was told he won’t be anywhere near ready to wrestle until April, long after the high school season has ended.
“Senior year is bust,” Pagliarulo said.
Pagliarulo hasn’t relinquished his responsibilities as one of three team captains, however. He did what he could to help his teammates in Bedford’s 62-18 loss to Londonderry.
“I was elected captain,” Pagliarulo said. “As a captain I have to show the team the ropes and be there when they need me. An injury isn’t going to change that.”
Londonderry received pins from Sean Wilson (120 pounds), Josh Bean (182), Nick Walter (220) and Blaine Hopkins (285). In addition, Aiden O’Loughlin won 12-1 at 126 pounds and Dylan Barnes prevailed 14-4 at 145 pounds.
The following Lancers collected forfeit victories: Jordan Marion (106), Ryan Duddy (113), Brandon Drake (132), Vincent Del Signore (170) and Justin Miller (195).
“It’s hard to gauge after one match and we didn’t have matches go the distance, but we should get a better indication of what we have after our tournament (at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Mass.) on Saturday,” Londonderry coach Jason Cucolo said. “We have two seniors in the lineup, so we have a young team. I think the tournament will be a better indicator of what we have.”
Pagliarulo, who finished third at the New England meet last year, said he found out he needed surgery after he had an MRI in September. The MRI revealed a torn labrum and surgery was recommended.
“At that point I was disappointed,” Pagliarulo said. “The end goal is I wanted to wrestle in college. Cashing in my senior year for another four years in college with no pain? That was a deal I was willing to make.”
He watched three of his teammates win by pinfall Wednesday: Jack Carrozzi (138), William Theodore (152) and Thiago Souza (160).
“He’s been unreal,” Bedford coach Ryan Schieding said. “Unreal. He’s like a true leader in the room. Since he’s been out he’s stepped in as not just a captain, but pretty much as an assistant coach. He’s just as good as having another assistant coach here.
“I wish he were healthy, because I really think we could have helped him get that New England championship. That was my goal for him.”