The Johnston Youth Wrestling Association, which features youngsters ages 5-14 and ranks among one of the best programs in Rhode Island, is about to rewrite its storied history book.
Sunday, the JYWA will transform the state-of-the-art Johnston Indoor Recreation Center off Atwood Avenue into Mecca for dozens upon dozens of youth wrestlers from all corners of the state and even some from different states in New England.
Johnston head coach John Antonucci along with Erik Martins, Brett Polofsky and Jay Baccala have been training their grapplers for what will be the largest single undertaking in the local organization’s history, simply because youth wrestlers from all over New England will compete on eight surfaces all under one roof.
It’s also the first time the JYWA has hosted its annual tournament at the Johnston Indoor Recreation Center.
“We’re all looking forward to a great day,” Lisa Baccala, the local group’s president and tireless leader offered. “Sunday should be a special day for every wrestler in the tournament. This is a great venue to host a wrestling tournament and the staff has been very accommodating.”
She explained that wrestlers will compete for individual championship trophies as well as team trophies in four divisions: bantam, intermediate, nice and middle school.
Many members of the Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School wrestling team will compete under the Johnston banner, with Nick Baccala – who last weekend was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the annual Birchwood-North Providence Tournament – leading the way after a first place finish.
Johnston’s Logan Martins finished as the runner-up in his division while his brother Dylan Martins placed fourth. Alex Morin was also runner-up in his division. As a team, Ferri placed fifth and Martin of East Providence capture the team championship.
The Ferri squad was also bolstered by Sonny Corbo, Danny Corbo, Stanley Garcia, Joe Cuoco, Joe Castellone, Jason Padula, Preston Marchesseault, Xander Polofsky, Zachary Gushehenko, Mike Camarena and Gian Tortolani.