Sunday, January 22, 2017

Whitman-Hanson honors state champions during quad meet

Whitman-Hanson honors state champions during quad meet
Whitman-Hanson honors state champions during quad meet

Whitman-Hanson honors state champions during quad meet

Saturday, January 21st, 2017
The Panthers unveiled an eight-member state championship banner in their gymnasium, with some members traveling as far away as Pittsburgh, PA. and Georgia to attend the ceremony.

State Champions
By John O'Callaghan
The Enterprise
Saturday was more than a wrestling match for Whitman-Hanson.

The Panthers unveiled a banner honoring eight products of the school's wrestling program who captured state titles throughout the years. Some honorees traveled from as far away as Pittsburgh and Georgia to attend the ceremony.

The individuals honored were Steve Wright (1984, 107 pounds), Kevin Broderick (1988, 145), Matt Krebs (1991, 112), Sean Dynan (1994, 152), Eric Runci (1994, 1995, 130 and 135, respectively), Ryan Kerrigan (1995, 103), Nathan Dineen (2001, 171) and Ben Dineen (2002, 171).

"You look up at that banner and you see those state champions. That's an indication of an incredible amount of excellence and hard work," Whitman-Hanson athletic director Bob Rodgers said. "Those student-athletes accomplished something that is so hard to do, to win a state championship in any sport, but especially in an individual sport like wrestling. ... It's great that they're going to be recognized forever in this gym now. Their names are going to be up on that wall forever."

Wright praised the Whitman-Hanson program as a whole, especially the latest installment.

"We like to try and come back and show these kids that if they work hard what they can do," Wright said. "They're a great bunch of kids. They're well-coached. It's a great program."

Broderick, who was the Panthers' coach the past four years before Gary Rabinovitz took the helm this season, credited his predecessors who made an impact on his career.

"It started with coach Ron Brown (72-37), who got things going, and he was an excellent coach with a lot of wins," Broderick said. "Then Robert Gay (271-60-2) took over and got most of those 500 wins, I would say. And since then, teams have just been filling it out."

Someone who benefited more than anyone from the coaching was Nathan Dineen, who has the most wins in school history with 125. But he is more proud to be a member of a storied program and the relationships that have been molded because of it than he is of his individual honors.

"For me, it's about just being part of this program, it's not about individual accomplishments, but kind of carrying on a legacy," Nathan Dineen said. "(The program has) great people, great coaches, it's a program that I think does things the right way, teaches the right values, and I think wins are secondary to that."

Ben Dineen said the sport allowed him to feel closer to his brother, Nathan, as well as how the sport enabled him to grow as an individual.

"(Wrestling) did so much for me when I was in high school," Ben Dineen said. "It taught me so many lessons. It really brought me together with my brothers and I made a lot of friends from the team and I still carry those lessons I learned through wrestling in my life today. ... The whole thing just had a very positive impact on me."

Ben Dineen said there was no better way to get involved with wrestling than seeing his brother have a high amount of success on the mat.

"I got to learn from (Nathan) as he was tearing it up," Ben Dineen said. "Him being the all-time winner, I always knew he was going to be (successful) because of the way he wrestled. He always had a trick up his sleeve."

Being reconnected to the team has made Ben Dineen feel as though he can participate in helping the younger generation of Panthers.

"It makes me want to participate in the program,'' Ben Dineen said. "It makes me want to go to a practice and help out and maybe pass on whatever knowledge I might have to the kids here."

Rabinovitz said that recognizing the champions has been in the works for quite some time now.

"It's been a long time coming. We've wanted a state championship banner since 2002 was our last state champ," Rabinovitz said. "We just couldn't get it done. Bob Rodgers, our athletic director, finally really agreed that it was something important for the program that we should do this."

Nobody appreciates the level of tradition of the wrestling program has more than Rabinovitz, who has been involved for over 40 years, having competed in the program's first year of existence in 1977.

"Every one of our coaches and volunteer coaches are alumni from this school," Rabinovitz said. "Here at Whitman-Hanson, it means a great deal to everybody to keep coming back and giving back to the program. It's really growing very well right now."

On top of the celebration, there was wrestling, as Whitman-Hanson (6-10) went 1-2 on the day in a quad match with North Quincy, King Philip and Sharon.

The Panthers started out on the right track as they defeated the North Quincy, 36-24. Winners included Ben Cordingley (pin 3:12, 132), Steve Osborne (pin :38, 170), Alex O'Roak (pin :15, 182) and John Will (pin 1:54, 220).

Whitman-Hanson fell short against King Philip, 48-12, with wins coming from Jake Filicicchia (pin :45, 113) and Matt Rock (pin :48, 120).

The Panthers got a first-hand look at how skilled Sharon is as they lost, 54-18. The three winners for WH were Filicicchia (pin :20), O'Roak (pin, 1:20) and Will, with the fastest pin of the afternoon in 12 seconds.

John O'Callaghan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter Dr JO'Callaghan

Patriot Ledger article
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