By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Central wrestling team just missed out in pulling off a big win against Plainville on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
However, the Rams were right there, right in it with two matches left to go.
But Plainville was able to knock off Bristol Central by a 34-31 final from the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium in a CCC South tilt. “That was a big win,” Blue Devils coach Rusty Spence said. “We haven’t beaten Central since we were here in 2011. It’s been a few years.”
And Spence and company earned every point of that victory as five lead changes highlighted a back-and-forth affair.
But this event came down to the final four matches with the meet still in doubt.
With Plainville ahead by a slim 22-21 margin, Sam Lindgren (138 pounds) pinned Central’s Kuba Kreciglowa in 1:26 as the Blue Devils’ edge reached 28-21 with three matches to go.
Lindgren’s takedown and cradle was the difference-maker that put the Blue Devils ahead by a two-match margin.
From there, Central’s Caleb Hildebrand (145) won his match by 9-0 major decision over Jesus Jiminez as the Plainville grappler refused to get pinned and Plainville still maintained the lead at 28-25.
But the drama of what could have been was quickly snuffed out with two matches left.
Plainville’s John Oliveira (152) won by forfeit as did Central’s Josh Nelson (160) and off the final two moves, the Blue Devils‘ 34-31 push was enough to win the meet.
“We just didn’t have anybody at 152,” said Central coach Matt Boissonneault. “In the middle of the line-up is where our injuries are right now. But I’m sure they have injuries, sickness and things too and we have to deal with what we have.”
To start the match, Plainville shifted around its roster at bit and Central’s Mike Paloka (170) picked up a pin in 52 seconds over Plainville’s Levi Thompkins.
But in the 182 challenge, the Blue Devils’ Ray Moskus won a major decision victory over Damian Mahaffy (13-4) and Central’s lead was capped at 6-4.
“We had to bump,” said Spence. “We had two new kids here at 170 and 160. So we bumped them up to 170 and 182, which spurred our run.”
From there, the match became a tit-for-tat battle.
At 195, Plainville’s Josh Benoit nailed down a big 8-3 decision while at 220, the tug-of-war showdown pitting Central’s Noah Cruz and Plainville’s Nick Cyr was an entertaining bout.
Cruz zipped up a quick takedown and a near fall and rode that momentum to a 14-6 major decision victory as Central retook the edge again at 10-7.
“Noah Cruz wrestled a good, strong kid but then made some adjustments in the third period too,” said Boissonneault. “After the blood timeout, we talked about getting angles and corners with a kid who’s just thinking big moves at that time.”
At heavyweight, Plainville’s Dylan Fusco eventually pinned Josh Meisinger in 5:01 and back down at the lightest weight, two grapplers nearly went the distance.
And while the Rams‘ Chris Trelli racked up an 18-3 major decision as he defeated Lilli Morales – who simply never gave in, never yielded until the 15-point barrier was reached. “He was a little bit heavier today. He weighted in at 90 pounds,” said Boissonneault or Trelli. “He’s a really tough kid. He’s a smart kid. He has a great heart and he listens and wrestles well.”
Trelli’s technical fall gave Central a 15-13 push. However, after Timmy Lister (113) pinned the Rams’ Travis Parsons, the 19-15 lead by the Blue Devils gave the visitors the edge for good.
And once Plainville’s Justin Plourde (120) picked up a 3-0 decision over Jack Hale, the 22-15 lead by the Blue Devils’ propelled the squad to a two-match advantage.
But Central won the next two matches – getting straight decisions from Jean Rioux (126, 4-0 decision) and Jeremy Ganavage (32, 8-7 decision), as he hung on to Dave Was who came so ever close in sneaking out a one-point decision.
“I thought Jeremy Ganavage did a great job of wrestling to the end of the match,” said Boissonneault. “He made some adjustments in the third period. He realized he could score with the double-leg and stuck with that.”
Lindgren wrapped his pin and when Jiminez was taken down late, it became a major decision for Hildebrand.
And suddenly, Plainville was clinging to a 28-25 lead with two matches to go.
“I think we gave up three pins and we only got one pin,” Boissonneault said. “That’s the difference in a close match.”
But Oliveira and Nelson (24-0) swapped forfeit victories and in the end, the Blue Devils hung on to an amazing three-point win, 34-31.
“Matt [Boissonneault’s] got a good team, he’s a good coach,” said Spence. “All those kids are vey good, up-right kids, very polite. It’s good to wrestle teams like this. They’re got a little pride about themselves.”
With the win, Plainville moved over the .500 barrier (5-4) and evened their CCC South ledger to an impressive 2-2 ledger.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE