By MICHAEL LETENDRE
MERIDEN – The Bristol Central wrestling team might just be peaking at the right time.
With the Class L championships just a stone’s throw away, the Rams picked up an important victory at Maloney on Wednesday, Feb. 5 – posting an impressive 51-20 victory to move to 13-4 overall and 4-1 in CCC South action on the season.
Up and down the Central line-up, the grapplers came to perform and even though all the usuals weren’t dressed for action, the squad performed well against an excellent Maloney aggression.
“We were missing a few guys,” said Central coach Matt Boissonneault. “We have some sickness and injuries. But the guys we put out there did a good job I thought. We’re improving and we’re moving in the right direction.”
It was a back-and-forth meet early but once Central got to the 145 bout, where Shane Oxton was waiting, the Rams notched 42 straight points to send the Spartans packing.
The meet started as Central’s Tim Cyr (120 pounds) earned a victory via forfeit before the home team zipped up three straight wins to take an early edge.
At 126 pounds, Maloney’s Demetre Carnot won a 21-4 technical decision over Jack Hale while at 132, Angel DeJesus defeated Central’s Isiah Sumler by pin-fall in 5:14.
And then at 138, the Rams’ Patrick Kenney gave Uri Mendez all he could handle, and more, before ultimately falling by a 3-2 decision and with that tally, Maloney grabbed a 14-6 lead.
However, that edge was short-lived as Central came firing back.
It started with Oxton and a quick takedown, a 4-0 edge in the period before a pin with just four seconds left on the first period clock cut the deficit to two at 14-12.
Central’s Julian Gonzalez (152) had a spirited match with Markese Thompson but in the third period, with 1:03 remaining, the Central wrestler made a takedown and his opponent never got back up as the Rams led the event by one.
And then the Mike-and-Mike connection, Gaudoin and Paloka, went right to work.
Gaudoin (160) went ahead by a 3-0 push in his encounter against Isreal Mezo before racking up a 5-2 decision; and then at 170, Paloka dragged his opponent down with 40 seconds left in the first period and eventually rang up a pin in 1:46.
“They’ve both [Gaudoin and Paloka] have been out with various and injuries, so that was good, especially at 170,” said Boissonneault. “For Paloka, that was a big pin there.”
Things did not get any easier for Maloney as Central’s Brett Scully (182) easily pinned Nick DeBais in 44 seconds while Connor Staubley made quick work of Te’Rell Knox via pin-fall at 195.
And then Central stud Noah Cruz just about knocked the wind out of Maloney’s Eli Ortiz, slamming him to the mat twice as the second shot caused a delay during the encounter.
Somehow, Ortiz made it into the second period where Cruz cradled him with 45 seconds remaining in the frame – eventually getting another pin-fall win.
“He’s athletically on a different level than most kids,” said Boissonneault of Cruz. “Most of the times it’s a blessing. Sometimes, it’s a curse and you kind of saw that today. But there’s never anything malicious with what he’s doing. He’s just physically and athletically on a different level than most of the kids he wrestles.”
And then at heavyweight, Kris Nizielski was looking for a battle but Maloney, instead, had to forfeit the bout, making it a 48-14 score in the Rams’ favor with two matches remaining.
The Rams’ Alex Woodard (106) battled but was pinned in 31 seconds before Mason Hale (113) finished off the meet for Central by nabbing a 6-3 decision over pesky Jocelyn Rodriguez.
With a 51-20 victory in hand, Central put together another prime win as bigger events are on the horizon for the outfit.
“We’re trying to rest and prime ourselves for a postseason run,” said Boissonneault.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE