Nobody came away with a medal last weekend at the state open wrestling championship, but the Blue Devils still had a lot to cheer about this season under first-year head coach Todd Krolikowski. The rookie coach—along with his assistant Dylan Fusco—set high expectations this winter, and coaches were pleased with the transition.
Plainville boys scrambled for five Class S medals, and another teammate battled for Plainville’s first ever girls medal.
“I feel we reached all of the goals that were set prior to the start of the season,” said Krolikowski. “Everyone got better as the season progressed and that was the number one goal, and they had fun doing it.”
The Devils stepped up their game led by a group of nine seniors to finish the regular season at 12-8 as a team. Esteban Torres (182) and Kaleb Korona (170) both compiled 24-8 records to lead Plainville on the mat.
Dylan McVicker (145) posted a 23-11 mark, Felix LaOz (152) was at 13-7, Adam Buckley (220) 14-12, Nate Cyr (130) and Simona Barbagallo (132) both had seven victories on the mat with Ethan Miron (126) six wins and Eryk Piotrowski two wins.
“We had a great group of senior leaders,” said Krolikowski, “and we are looking forward to continuing to build on what we achieved this season.”
Plainville saw a marked improvement at the Bristol Central Invitational with five wrestlers placing and according to coach Krolikowski it was the most for the Devils as they finished 11th out of 21 teams putting up a total team score of 75 points.
Torres and sophomore Alex Santini (195) placed third in the Bristol Invitational, Korona and junior Kyle Voisine (160) finished fourth and freshman Joe Kennedy (113) placed fifth.
“I’m excited about what we have coming back,” said Krolikowski. “We have several freshman who I feel will give us big contributions next year. It’s going to be tough to replace what we are losing to graduation. But to build a program you need to be able to reload as opposed to rebuild and I feel we have the athletes to do that.”
Plainville did develop a core of solid returners with Voisine compiling a 22-12 record on the season, Santini was at 25-5, Kennedy finished 22-7, junior Bhavya Patel (285) at 17-12, sophomore Dom Bucci (120) 10-14 and freshman Nikolas Penta (106) at 6-9.
The Devils do have a little depth to lean on trying to fill in some spots next season with sophomores Damanni Turner and Alicia Quirion both at 3-4 on the season and the development of freshman Nicholas Dennis, Tyler McVicker, and Jeff Quirion LaOz.
“Both Alex (Santini) and Joe (Kennedy) are a couple of young guys who got some great experience in the Class S and state open,” said Krolikowski. “They will certainly help us to build on what we started this season.”
Plainville finished 7th out of 14 teams in the CCC Small Division championship with Torres, Voisine and Kennedy taking third place, Santini fourth place, Felix LaOz, Buckley and Patel placing fifth and Korona sixth place.
The Devils improved on last year’s Class S 9th place finish with a 7th place showing this year putting up a team total of 110 points out of a field of 35 teams. Torres went 3-1 in the Class S meet finishing as the runner-up in the 182 pound class to defending champion Jack Cronin of Nonnewaug.
Santini and Kennedy both went 3-2 to finish fourth in their respective weight classes with Korona and Voisine both taking fifth place with identical 4-2 marks.
In the first ever girls state open championship the Devils Barbagallo finished third with a 4-1 record.
“I was very pleased for Simona (Barbagallo) to finish third at the very first state championship for the girls. I’m really hoping they can continue to grow that program,” said Krolikowski.
Torres, Voisine and Korona all went into the second day of completion at the state open and all three were named to the All-CCC team.
“Kyle (Voisine) as a junior was a captain because of his work ethic and he is an amazing athlete,” said Krolikowski. “Bhavya (Patel) gained a lot of experience and is going to be one of our leaders next seasons. I really like what we have coming back and I’m excited about the potential that this team has moving forward.”
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