When Oliver Ames coach Adam Pomella meets with his team Saturday, they'll all have a difficult decision to make about Sunday's upcoming Hockomock League wrestling tournament.
"We’re going to let each kid individually decide what they want to do," Pomella said. "Everyone grieves in their own ways. For whoever wants to go, I’ll take them to the tournament. Everyone who doesn’t want to go, they don’t have to come."
It is a meeting Pomella wishes he didn't have to hold. The Tigers are dealing with the loss of one of their captains - Devin Ness.
Ness suddenly passed away Friday morning as the result of a brain anurysm. His character is something that will be missed.
"Devin is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever met," Pomella said. "He’s hardworking, honest and kind. He’s one of those kids that if we’re at practice and need to multi-match he’ll go over himself and make sure it gets done. That’s how he was with everything - not just wrestling."
Although the Tigers had a match Wednesday against Canton, Ness hadn't wrestled since last Saturday morning at a quad meet against Norton, Bellrica and Weston.
Pomella said the reason behind Ness not wrestling Wednesday was not medical.
"I have a couple good wrestlers in that weight class and it was just another kid's turn," he said. "People have been asking me if he was hurt or anything, and there was nothing wrong with him whatsoever – nothing that we knew about at least."
The tragedy sparked sadness through the hallways at Oliver Ames.
All of the wrestlers, Pomella said, were handling the loss of one of their leaders in different ways.
"Some are handling it better than others – all in very different ways," he said. "They’re hurting pretty bad."
For Pomella himself, the loss is hard to deal with. The OA coach had become extremely close with the student-athlete.
"I was going to have him come and do work at my house – he’s basically like family to me," said the devastated Pomella.
OA students are also gathering at the high school Saturday morning at 11 a.m. to mourn the loss. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.