Kevin Sutherland, the veteran head wrestling coach at Johnston High School, sat smiling at the recent Rhode Island High School Coaches Association wrestling banquet last week at famed Wright’s Farm in Burrillville.
“Remember the names Antonio Bracey and Jose Echeverria,” said Sutherland, “we’re excited about what they can accomplish next season.”
Sutherland had every reason to tout the two “Terrific Panthers,” who received individual honors during the awards dinner.
For starters, Bracey competed in the 138-pound weight and finished his freshman season with a sparkling 22-6 record that earned the hard-working Panther First Team All-Division 2-B honors.
“He’s one of the hardest workers in our practice room,” Sutherland said of Bracey. “We’re looking for bigger and better tings from him next season.”
Echeverria, who is only a sophomore, landed Second Team All-Division 2-B honors after posting a 20-13 overall record in the 126 pound class, yet another reason why Sutherland and assistant coaches John Antonucci and Tim Tedesco are optimistic about the 2019-2020 season.
“We’re a relatively young team and building for the future,” Sutherland said. “We had primarily freshmen and sophomores on this year’s varsity while only having one junior and no seniors. We were a young and small squad and that was the reason for our struggles this season. However, the future for JHS wrestling looks bright and it’s because of the work our kids put in this season.”
Sutherland also emphasized that when you’re a young team it’s often difficult to fill some weight classes noting, “We are proud of the way the kids stayed focused on working hard at getting better each week, regardless of the final team score at the end of a match.”
One reason in particular for Sutherland’s optimism is, “There is a sense of pride these kids will have, knowing they were part of building a successful team and program. We are really excited for the opportunity next season holds.”
The 2018-19 wrestling team included: freshmen Jake Souvannavong, Carlos Monteiro, Jared Trottier, Nicholas Harrington, Antonio Bracey and Oseas Salazas. Sophomores were: Giovanni Monteiro, Jose Echeverria and Jose Gonzalez.
Junior Anthony Andriole served a team captain and as Sutherland noted, “With the return of all these wrestlers and the eight graders coming from Ferri Middle School, we are excited for the potential that next season brings to the JHS mat.”