Bristol Eastern wrestling team won the CCC South at Bristol Central High School last Saturday. JANELLE MORELLI PHOTOBy MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – With a huge crowd in attendance, two of the top 10 scholastic wrestling squads in the state converged on the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium on Wednesday, Feb. 12 as Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central clashed for the 58th time in a city series battle.
But the Lancers led wire-to-wire, scoring a huge 49-15 win to finish the regular season at 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the CCC South – capturing the league title once again.
It was the 10th straight win for the Lancers over the Rams but some of those swing matches that night could have gone the other way if Eastern wasn’t patient and focused.
“I think some of those matches are a little closer that happened to fall our way which was great,” said Eastern coach Bryant Lishness. “I was a little surprised by [the final score].”
Lishness had to juggle several of his grapplers up and down the line-up to attempt to match Central.
And all those athletes met the challenge from their coach.
“I’m bumping Cameron [Cruz] up in weight, I’m bumping Tommy [Nichols] up in weight,” said Lishness. “Alex [Marshall] actually dropped weight tonight just in case but still wrestled [at 152] even though he weighed in at 145. [Dylan] Piazza bumped up in weight, [Tyler] Gleifert bumped up in weight.”
“Just to fill everything we could, those guys, did a really good job.”
Central, with one meet to go, fell to 22-2 but battled tough on the mats although the scoreboard did not show it.
“It didn’t start off well for us,” said Central coach Matt Boissoneault.
The clash commenced at 113 pounds as Eastern’s Trent Thompson shot on Central’s Colton Pelletier for a takedown about five seconds into the first period.
But on the move, Pelletier was injured and the match was ultimately stopped.
“That’s a tough way to start just in a lot of different ways,” said Boissoneault of the injury to Pelletier. “Ten seconds into the match, the senior captain fractures his collarbone.”
Thompson won via an injury default and in the process, won his 100th career match for the Bristol Eastern program.
And then at 120, Mason Lishness kept Jake Aldi grounded in his match and ended up a 3-1 winner via decision in another competitive confrontation between the duo.
Eastern’s Aaron Morocho (120) used a flip technique to keep Jake Leone grounded on the mat early and with one final near-fall, the Lancers’ had another win in hand off the 18-2 tech fall with 35 seconds left in the third period – making it 14-0 in the match.
Central got on the scoreboard when Jason Feto (132) and Eastern’s Josiah White went the distance in a bout that was tied at 6-6 midway through the final period.
But a huge reverse by Feto made it academic as he picked up an 8-6 decision .
Cruz (138) never trailed against Chris Osuch and ended up with a 13-4 major decision while Nichols (145) was looking for a technical fall against Matt Duquette.
But Duquette held on in the end, refusing to give up any extra points as Nichols collected an 18-5 major decision.
Marshall, at 152, dominated his match against Umar Malick, leading 10-2 before snaring the pin-fall win in 5:38.
At 160, Eastern’s Logan Morelli had an extremely competitive back-and-forth showdown against Andrew Beaucar.
A critical reserve five seconds into the third period allowed Morelli to eventually snare a 6-4 win while Eastern’s Dylan Piazza (170) and Central’s Matt Beaucar battled to a 0-0 stalemate through the first two minutes of action.
And it was close into the final period but Piazza made a huge takedown with 30 seconds left, nearly had the fall but Beaucar hung on until the final horn, dropping a tough 10-3 decision.
That decision made it 34-3 and Eastern had the contest in hand.
“We lost a close match at 160, close match at 170, a close match at heavyweight and I think Eastern did an excellent job of controlling a lot of the mat,” said Boissoneault.
Gleifert (182) quickly pinned Central’s Jacob Boucher in 40 seconds and then at 195, Logan Meyer took down Central’s Jeff Labbe and won the bout in 43 seconds to extend the Lancers’ edge to 46-3.
“We really wanted momentum going into those matches,” said Lishness of the Gleifert and Meyer bouts. “I thought they could do that. Tyler is a senior, he can wrestle really great. I asked him to lengthen himself out here. He’s a 170 pounder and he goes 182 tonight.”
From there, Jakob Salinas (220) was awarded a forfeit victory before Eastern’s Nick St. Peter (heavyweight) took on Central’s Eric Facey in a big bout.
Neither grappler scored in the first period but a critical reverse and a couple penalty points gave St. Peter a 4-1 edge through two periods of work.
But Facey closed the deficit to one later in the third but simply couldn’t secure a takedown as St. Peter snared a huge 4-3 decision victory.
And finally at 106, Eastern conceded the match to Will Hamilton as Central won the bout by forfeit.
In the end, Eastern wrapped up the 34 point victory to take the meet from Central.
“I try to tell the guys to have faith in what we’re teaching, in their ability and to out-wrestle people,” said Lishness. “Sometimes in a match like this, you get kind of get heated and you try to out-fight and there’s a time and place for that type of heart. But I have a lot of faith in my guys and they know how to wrestle no matter what the other guy looks like, no matter what the emotion of the match is. Have faith in your wrestling, relax and try to out-wrestle your opponent and I thought they did that tonight.”