To say that the wrestling program at East Greenwich High School isn’t often a topic of conversation has been to state the obvious — until now. With the duel championships of the Jarrell brothers at the state meet last weekend, it’s no longer possible to ignore the small team’s serious talent.
Stephen Jarrell, a 152-pound senior, won his weight class and Ebed Jarrell, a 112-pound freshman, won his weight class at the state wrestling meet at Providence Career and Technical High School on Saturday.
“It’s a big deal,” said longtime wrestling coach Joe Amato. “There’s never been two state champions at one time at the high school.”
“The Jarrell brothers are tremendous young men that are extremely dedicated to the sport of wrestling,” said Athletic Director Chris Cobain. “I am amazed and very proud of how they go about representing our EGHS.”
in the middle school division, competing as an independent athlete, since Cole doesn’t have a wrestling team.
Ebed won freshman states earlier in February, also a first for EGHS, according to Amato. “Then, to go on to win the states, that made it even more important,” he said.
“The competition was tough,” conceded Ebed. “No one expected me to win because I was in ninth grade. My toughest match was not my finals but the semifinals. I had to [beat] the Number One ranked kid in the tournament from Cumberland.”
“I had a few tough matches,” said Stephen about the state meet. He’s been wrestling for seven years. “I like that the sport is both individual and a team sport. I also like that in wrestling you can have your own style. I will wrestle one way and my brother may wrestle another but we can both learn from each other.”
He credits his success to the “great coaches” he’s had.
Ebed said he also liked that individuals have a chance to succeed even when the whole team doesn’t. That’s been an issue at EGHS in recent years. According to Coach Amato, there were meets this season where they didn’t loose a match but because they don’t have enough wrestlers to fill out all the weight classes, they would end up losing on forfeits.
“This year we lost a lot of matches but we were in them,” said Amato. There’s an intramural program at Cole which both Amato and Stephen Jarrell said they’d like to see turn into a real team. That would help feed the high school team, Amato said.
“I hope success will make EGHS students join,” said Ebed. “In the beginning of the year we had a lot of kids but it is hard for the kids that never win to keep wrestling.”
“I am looking to start a wrestling program at Cole Middle school in the next few years,” said Stephen. “I think that will have a big impact on how popular the sport will get.”
The Jarrell brothers will be wrestling again this weekend, at the New England meet.