1998 All State
103 - Brian Ferreira, East Providence
112 - Matt Cole, Coventry
119 - Justin Lewis, Coventry
125 - Adam Morelli, Toll Gate
130 - Matt Erni, South Kingstown
135 - Artie Souza, Coventry
140 - Anthony Mirabile, Johnston
145 - Bryon Nelson, South Kingstown
152 - Chad Fratus, Coventry
160 - Anthony Alves, Cranston East
171 - Xenio Yearwood, East Providence
189 - Don Gaunt, Smithfield
215 - Percy Smith, Toll Gate
285 - Mark Spirito, Cranston East
103 - Tim Larned, Pilgrim
112 - Kevin Munley, Barrington
119 - Ryan Franco, Johnston
125 - Elias Nogueras, Warwick Vets
130 - Nate Faria, East Providence
135 - Andrew Rico, Cranston East
140 - Shawn Sandoval, La Salle
145 - Shane McGrath, Coventry
152 - Jon Desmarais, Johnston
160 - Shawn Hennessey, Coventry
171 - Ryan Sherlock, Coventry
189 - Jay Braxton, East Providence
215 - Jason Flynn, Pilgrim
285 - Tim McGrath, Central Falls
Anthony Alves, Cranston East, 160 pounds
Called "The Rocky of High School Wrestling," the Cranston East senior was a handful for anyone to contain on the mat. Most didn't. He posted a 37-3 record. Two of those losses came at the New England Tournament. Of his 37 victories, 30 were pins. Alves' two most sensational victories were pins over Coventry's defending 160-pound champ, Shaun Hennessey, once during the regular season and the other in their title bout at the state tournament. Alves, who is headed for the Marines in June, was best at dropping opponents to the mat and then putting them on their backs to stay. Strong and tough, Alves avoided being pinned himself over the past two seasons. He won titles at the Cranston East Tournament, the Bristol (Conn.) Tournament and the Keene (N.H.) Tournament.
Matt Cole, Coventry, 112 pounds
The Oakers' senior had quite a year, winning a state championship at 112 and going on to place third at the New Englands, helping Coventry win its fourth New England title. Cole was a solid performer all season, excelling at takedowns and then controlling his opponent once he got him down. Cole finished the year with a 32-4 record.
Matt Erni, South Kingstown, 130 pounds
An extra amount of hard work during the offseason turned this South Kingstown senior into a state champion at 130. Erni finished the year at 33-3. He was winning his first bout at the New Englands when he blew out an elbow and couldn't continue. A year ago, Erni failed to even place at the state tournament so he did a lot of offseason running and got himself into the best shape of his life. Erni went on to win titles at the South County Wilson Cup, the All-Star Meet and the Class B Sectionals. His best move was the single-leg takedown.
Brian Ferreira, East Providence, 103 pounds
As a freshman, Ferreira almost quit wrestling because he found the sport to be too difficult. But he was afraid to tell his coach so he stayed with it and went on to become a state and New England champion in his senior year, posting a 44-0 record at 103. A year ago, he was a state runner-up. This year, Ferreira vowed to win a New England title and score 30 points in the state tournament. He accomplished both. His strength was taking opponents down and then puttinng them on their backs. Ferreira was voted the Outstanding Wrestler at the Lexington (Mass.) Tournament and won the Durfee and Warwick tournaments and was an All-Star champion.
Chad Fratus, Coventry, 152 pounds
Tough, strong and agile on the mat, the Coventry senior captured the 152-pound state title and ended his season at 36-5. Favored to win the crown, Fratus's work ethic help make him a state champion. He spent loads of extra time after practice during the season honing his skills to keep him sharp.
Don Gaunt, Smithfield, 189 pounds
The Smithfield junior moved up two weight classes to 189 and captured the state crown because of his strength, quickness and footwork. Overall, he was 39-4 but put a good run together at state tournament time, going 20-0 during the late-season stretch. Gaunt was a Class C sectional champ and finished first at the Warwick and Johnston tournaments.
Justin Lewis, Coventry, 119 pounds
Technically, the Coventry senior, ranked first in his class academically, may be the best wrestler on this year's All-State team. He went unbeaten in 42 bouts and captured his second straight individual state championship before going on to become a New England champion. Lewis developed a style that prevented his opponents from scoring on him. He defensive tactics were superb. Not flashy, Lewis brought his lunch pail to the mat and got the job done each and every time out.
Anthony Mirabile, Johnston, 140 pounds
One of three Johnston finalists, Mirabile was the only Panther to come away with a state crown, winning at 140. Good on his feet, good on escapes and good on takedowns, the Johnston junior posted a 37-4 record. He was 1-2 at the New Englands. During the regular season, Mirabile won championships at the Sachem (N.Y.) High Tournament, the Cumberland Tournament and was a champ at the All-Star Meet and the Class B Sectionals. Of his four losses, three were to out-of-state wrestlers.
Adam Morelli, Toll Gate, 125 pounds
The Toll Gate senior did not get the headlines during the regular season but finished in a blaze of impressive victories as he captured his first state title at 125 and then went on to place second at the New Englands. Morelli wound up 38-1. He was the Class B Sectionals champion and also finished first in the Montville (Conn.) Tournament, the Warwick Tournament and the Johnston Tournament. In his 15 dual-meet bouts, Morelli pinned 13 opponents.
Bryon Nelson, South Kingstown, 145 pounds
Second in the state tourney a year ago at 135, the South Kingstown senior moved up a weight class, posted a 34-3 record, and became a state champion at 145. Nelson, considered an unorthodox wrestler because of the unusual ways he would go after his opponents, finished fifth at the New Englands and was a champion at the Warwick and South County tournaments, the Takedown Tournament and the B Sectionals.
Percy Smith, Toll Gate, 215 pounds
An ankle pick and a power-half were Percy Smith's big moves all season and they paved the way for him to win the 215-pound state title and finish with a terrific 38-2 record. The Toll Gate senior put an exclamation mark on his season when he placed third at the New England Tournament. The biggest reason for his improvement from a year ago was his involvement in freestyle wrestling during the offseason. Hat helped his quickness and made him a better technical wrestler.
Artie Souza, Coventry, 135 pounds
If there was a surprise at this year's state tournament, it was Souza's dramatic 11-10 win over Cranston East's Andrew Rico at 135. Rico had beaten Souza three times previously. Wrestling with heart and determination, the Coventry senior came through with the biggest victory of his career then went on to place eighth at the New Englands and finish out at 32-4. Very good on his feet, Souza handled opponents with his double-leg takedown.
Marc Spirito, Cranston East, Heavyweight
Hard work and desire finally paid off for the Cranston East heavyweight but not before he had to battle through injuries and a late-season death in his family. Foot surgery to heal severe cuts suffered after walking through an oyster bed late last summer kept him out of action until late January and early February. Injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons prevented him from competing in the state tournament. This year, Spirito's grandfather died a few days before the state tournament and was buried the day of the semifinals and finals. But Spirito shook off his sadness, won his semifinal bout and then captured the heavyweight state title with a second-period pin.
Xenio Yearwood, East Providence, 171 pounds
A two-time state champ at 171, Yearwood posted a 39-5 record in his senior year. He lost a pair of tough, one-point bouts at the New England Tournament. A good leg rider, Yearwood's best move was the double-leg takedown, which he used to win his state title match in overtime. An All-Star champion, Yearwood also won the Durfee Invitational and was second in the Warwick Tournament after losing to a New York wrestler.