MERIDEN – While the recent bad weather has played havoc with the scholastic sports schedule, the Bristol Central wrestling squad was more than prepared to battle Platt in a CCC South confrontation from Orville H. Platt High School in Meriden on Thursday, Jan. 31.
Central (16-5) ramped up a 20 point lead midway through the event but pesky Platt closed the deficit to eight late before the Rams won by 14 – taking the meet by a 41-27 final in the end.
“I thought they were a very tough team,” said Central coach Matt Boissonneault of Platt. “They’re young and inexperienced. We’re a little young and inexperienced but I think on both sides, we weren’t afraid to try things and you can see that and that’s what made for some exciting matches.”
The night started off with Central’s Leo Kavanaugh (138 pounds) leading 2-0 after one period but turning it on in the second, pulling ahead 10-4 and making one last takedown with 42 seconds left to eventually earn a 15-7 major decision victory over Platt’s Tristyn D’aniello.
“He got the major decision to start us off,” said Boissonneault of Kavanaugh. “He let [his opponent] off his back twice…but he did a great job at attacking and pressing [and that came] throughout the matches. One of the things we’ve been trying to harp on this year is getting them to attack because the only way you’re going to improve in these positions is if you actually try things and are able to pull the trigger.”
Matt Duquette (145) grounded Platt’s Ibrahim Abdelgani over the second period, earning a pin-fall win in 3:43; while at 152, Central’s Andrew Beaucar nearly had a lead-changing takedown with 40 seconds to go in the third period but dropped a tough 6-5 decision in the end.
Central’s Caleb Buden (160) followed up with a big pin of Josh Rodriguez in 4:53 of the second tilt – making a huge reverse, leading to the win.
Connor Feeney-Wallace (170) went the distant, and then some, against Platt’s Cristian Calero, resulting in several overtime periods but the Central grappler earned the decision in the end.
Platt’s Ryan Greene (182), a very polished grappler, pinned Jacob Boucher in 1:26; but Central was still leading in the match by a 19-9 score.
Jakob Salinas (195) took a 7-2 edge into the third period and one final takedown early in the third cemented his 9-4 decision over Platt’s Andy Flores.
Ommy Velez (220) earned the Panthers a forfeit victory but the returning Eric Facey (285) helped Central get some of those points back in the heavyweight bout.
After a scoreless first period, Facey made a second period takedown – helping to secure a 3-1 decision over Christopher Bartlett and making it 25-15 with Central still on top.
“Eric Facey, the freshman heavyweight, he did a great job,” said Boissonneault. “That was his first match in a few weeks. Jakob Salinas has missed a few weeks so he was back. To have them back in those upper weights really helped shore up our line-up a little bit.”
And then, it was time for the duo of Will Hamilton (106) and Jake Aldi (113) to shine.
Hamilton dominated Tristen Mendoza, putting the Platt grappler in the proverbial torture rack, and got the pin one second too late but zipped up a 14-0 major decision in the end.
Aldi made his takedown of Mustafa Aziz in just 30 seconds, getting the pin moments later and the match-clinching points of the evening as the Rams’ 35-15 lead that proved too much for Platt to overcome.
“One’s a freshman [Hamilton], one’s a sophomore [Aldi],” said Boissonneault of Hamilton and Aldi. “We’re going to look for them over the next few years. They’ve been working hard and I thought it was a good showing for them as well.”
Platt’s James Rondini (120) pinned feisty Adam Ward midway through the second period while Central’s Karriem Hoe (126) and Isaiah Ross had an entertaining back-and-forth shoot.
It was 5-5 through two periods but Ross reversed Hoe midway through the final stanza and just got the fall but Platt still trailed 35-27.
“They’re both talented,” said Boissonneault of Hoe and Ross. “That goes down as a pin but it was back-and-forth until the third period.”
And finally at 132, Central’s Jason Feto made a takedown seven seconds into his bout against John Cerrone and earned the pin in 1:50 as Central won the event 41-27.
“I’m happy with the effort,” said Boissonneault. “We haven’t been able to practice in two days but there’s always little things that we can change. I thought we did a good job closing out matches and winning some of those the grind matches, the overtime ones, and the close ones.”
“So that was good.”
NOTES…The following day, the Bristol Central went 2-1 in action from Avon High School. The Rams defeated St. Paul Catholic 66-3 while turning away Rocky Hill 53-21. Central lost to the host, No. 10 Avon 44-22 but the grouping of Salinas, Feto, Hoe, Ward, and Hamilton all went 3-0 at the meet.
The Falcons also fell to Avon (78-3) and Rocky Hill (60-21).