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Chariho’s Wrzesien, Merritt earn state titles

CUMBERLAND — Chariho’s Tommy Wrzesien and Kyle Merritt won state championships and the Chargers tied Burrillville for fifth place with 137½ points.

Wrzesien won the 148-pound weight class with three first-period pins. The Division A top seed, the eighth-grader finished the season undefeated, going 16-0.

“He showed potential as a sixth-grader and got better. He did a lot of offseason things and wrestled 133 in the seventh grade,” Chariho coach Aaron Drake said. “This year he came in at 145 and grew three inches and got stronger. He just had a great year. I had a feeling he was going to win and he was dominant.”

Wrzesien pinned Noah Ladas of Curtis Corner 1:07 into the minute and a half first period on Sunday — the final day of the two-day tournament.

“The Curtis Corner kid was undefeated, I believe. He was from the B division so we didn’t see him. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Wrzesien was in front 2-0 when he pinned Ladas.

Merritt went 4-0 in the 82-pound weight class en route to a state title in his first season of middle school competition. The sixth-grader finished the season with an 18-1 record.

Merritt defeated Cameron Faria 10-1 in the finals. Faria was the top seed from the A Division.

Drake said he thought Merritt should have been the top seed and considers Westerly’s Dominic Bonano the second best in the class.

Merritt beat Bonano 2-0 in the semifinals, scoring both points with a first-period takedown.

“They’re real good friends. They go to the same judo club. It was a great match,” Drake said.

“He’s just a little terror, a little spitfire,” Drake said. “He’s been wrestling since he was 5 years old.”

Drake said it’s not as rare for a 6th grader to win a state title as people maybe think.

Three other Chargers medaled (top five).

Cameron Anderson was runnerup at 112, and Tyler Dumas (89) and Ethan Blanchard (119) finished third.

Anderson lost in Sunday’s finals, 15-0 to Devin Rivet of Martin Middle and finished 3-1 in the tournament.

Dumas won twice Saturday to get to the semfinals where he lost 6-0 to Barrington’s Trent Kellum on Sunday.

Dumas then won 15-0 and 7-0 to take third place. Blanchard also reached the semifinals with two wins Saturday. He lost 15-0 in the semis, then won 9-4 and 8-7 to finish third.

The Chargers were only able to fill 12 of the 17 weight classes in what was the final meet of the season.

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