Bulldogs look to take step forward

MANCHESTER — Now in its fifth season, the Burr and Burton wrestling team is on the verge of breaking out.

First-year coach Sarah Barker has six seniors with Kendra Beavin, Patrick Dang, Cole O'Connor, Anna Osnow, Lilly Waite and Nick Williams. Barker said having that veteran presence has been huge for her as a new coach.

"They've all been great about helping the younger wrestlers and that helps me out a lot because I'm by myself," said Barker, who has been in the process of getting a couple of assistants to help out.

Nine of the 10 competitors at last year's state tournament are back for Barker, who was an assistant for Zach Monforte last season.

Williams has the best record of all the returners, going 35-14 a season ago and finishing fourth at 160 pounds after being forced to default with a knee injury.

"A lot of the seniors, I've been wrestling them since I was a freshman," said Williams, who started the season with 81 victories. "We all have our goals set out and what we want to achieve, we know what we have to do."

Some of the younger wrestlers on the squad have had success already as well.

The Bulldogs had a junior varsity state champion in sophomore Bailey Pinsonneault, the first state champ in the history of the program. Barker said last season was Pinsonneault's first in the sport.

"We want to take the younger kids under our wing to keep the program alive. We have to instill the work ethic and carry on the tradition. We have kids here that can win tournaments," Williams said.

Beavin is at 106 pounds, and Anna Osnow will likely be at 113 or 120. Pinsonneault will compete mostly at 120. Sophomore Benjamin James is at 126 with freshmen Emma Morris at 132 and Joe McNealus at 138.

O'Connor, who earned a tech fall at 145 pounds in the state tournament, moves up to 160 pounds, while Waite competed at 170 over the weekend, but may move down later in the year.

Williams is at 182, moving up from 160 pounds a year ago. He is currently on track to become the first BBA wrestler to reach 100 career wins.

Barker said her goal for this year is to have a varsity state champion come from Burr and Burton

"The beautiful thing about wrestling, anything can happen. You have to go in with the right mindset," Williams said.

BBA competed in the Ausable Valley Duals last weekend, just one part of a tough schedule that includes the Cohoes, N.Y. duals, the Hubie Wagner tournament hosted by Middlebury, and duals against Hoosick Falls (N.Y.), Mount Anthony and Mount Greylock (Mass.)

Roster: Kendra Beavin, Kole Blanchard, Patrick Dang Quoc, Kaz Iijima, Benjamin James, Joseph McNealus, Emma Morris, Cole O'Connor, Anna Osnow, Bailey Pinsonneault, Benjamin Pinsonneault, Lilly Waite, Casey Williams, Nicholas Williams, Devon Withington.


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