Wrestling team shows big reversal


Leora Ulrich

GHS wrestling team showcases the new mats


The Gloucester High School wrestling team has made big changes since last winters’ season which didn’t go the way Coach Matt Swanson expected.

“We’re the real thing this year,” said Swanson.

Last year, the young inexperienced team failed to fill all 14 weight classes and faced big losses to Danvers, Beverly, and Marblehead-Swampscott. The Fisherman worked hard during the off-season and recruited new members to fill all the Varsity weight classes with sufficient backups this year.

“A lot of kids are making a comeback and learning from their mistakes,” said the team captain Adrian Gedney. “We’ve worked hard and most kids are starting to show success.”

Christian Sanfilippo, known as “Brucie” by his classmates, coaches and teammates, finished last year 0-16 without a varsity win. This year he has came up with 4 wins and 4 losses, including a 2-2 record at the last week’s tournament held at Gloucester High School.

“Hardwork and determination leads to success,” said Sanfillipo. “I lifted all year and worked on speed to work on being a better football player first, but a good wrestler as well.”

Another change to the wrestling program is the brand new mats, featuring a Gloucester logo, donated by assistant wrestling coach Kirk Benson. This is a step up from the older mats, which show years of wear due to use from another high school and the local Gloucester youth wrestling program.

“He put a lot of thought into getting the best mats for our team,” said Cape Ann Youth wrestling coach Josh Ulrich. “Kirk has been the driving force leading our program and we’re lucky to have a man like him in Gloucester. These mats cost about ten thousand dollars.”

The new mats are printed with the words: In Memory Of Drs. Kenneth and Jane Benson and Family.

“This mat was dedicated by my parents,” said Benson as he addressed the crowd before last weeks meet against Salem. “They didn’t wrestle themselves, but they supported athletics. They took everyone, everybody, off the streets and pushed them to where they needed to be.”

Benson, a former high school wrestler, says the experience shaped who he has become.

“The thrill of winning- man on man, man versus man. It’s an extraordinary feeling. I just love it,” said Benson. “A lot of my beliefs and a lot of my character comes from wrestling.”