Pelham Puts on a Show at Dan Gionet Memorial Wrestling Tourney

February 17, 2017


by Craig Smith

Every year the Pelham Python wrestling team hosts a tourney to honor Pelham alumni, Dan Gionet.  Gionet graduated Pelham High School in 2001 and was a member of the football, baseball, and the wrestling teams.  Gionet lost his life in Iraq while defending the freedom of his homeland, a true American hero.  This tournament, the Dan Gionet Memorial Wrestling tourney, is just one of several homages that the town has initiated to remember such an inspirational figure in the town’s history.

The tourney was exceptional as wrestlers from both New Hampshire and Massachusetts were in attendance and brought their best competitive spirit.  Dozens and dozens of matches took place in the Pelham gymnasium, all of which were a celebration of the sport and of the history of the tournament.  With three matches taking place at the same time there was always something incredible to watch and with so many schools in attendance there was a surplus of talent in every direction.

Pelham truly honored the annual tournament this year by putting up several great performances.  Jacen Boyden and Nick Branco competed in the 113 and 126 weight class respectively and fought well.  They were able to show off their strength against some quality opponents and demonstrated just how much of wrestling is based on intelligence and quick thinking in addition to the raw physical power.  Alex Becker also had an incredible run, pinning his opponents seemingly with ease.  His would be the last bout to begin the 132 weight class bracket, and the old adage rang true when it comes to saving the best for last.  For such a small frame, he is as powerful as anyone.  The swiftness of his moves made it impossible for his opponents to find enough leverage to start a reversal.

Of all the success that came to Pelham during the tournament there were few moments as glorious as one of Zach Koch’s early bouts in the 138 class.  Koch found himself pinned, his opponent gaining points one after another en route to victory.  Koch used all of his willpower and skill to reverse upon his opponent and take the momentum into his own hands.  He went from being almost finished to being in charge in a matter of seconds.  He ended up winning by a single point.

All of the Pelham athletes should be proud of their achievements this year.  The wrestling team has done a miraculous job all season long.  The fact that they honor Dan Gionet each and every year is a testament to the loyalty and pride that this school and this program takes in their youth.