By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Central wrestling squad picked up an important victory on its senior night as the Rams sacked Plainville 46-30 in a CCC South challenge in Bristol on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
But the young Blue Devils wanted to spoil those plans and were looking for an upset bid.
Plainville proved to be pesky throughout the evening, jumping out to a 9-0 lead, and certainly put the Rams in a bit of a hole to start things out.
But in the end, the Rams made a number of big pins to take the lead while Plainville – needing pins of its own during critical encounters in the match – came away a couple points short.
“I think about eight kids got stuck,” said Plainville coach Rusty Spence. “Our kids just can’t get pinned, it’s ridiculous. I can’t explain how to not stay off your back. That’s it, that’s all I’m thinking about.”
At 106 pounds, Plainville’s Doug Romano and Central’s Joe Cherwinski battled in a back and forth bout that could have gone either way.
However, the grappler from Plainville led by one after two periods and held on to pick up a 7-6 decision.
Then, Plainville’s Tim Lister, shifting down to 113, picked up a big pin over Breck Conlon as the Blue Devils edged in front 9-0.
Conlon had a chance at a fall early but Lister made a critical takedown in the second period to eventually pick up the pin.
“We were hanging with these guys,” said Spence. “Bristol Central is a tough team. They’re getting it together.”
But towards the middle of the event, a succession of pins by the Rams pushed the meet right back into Central’s collective hands to turn a 9-0 deficit into a 30-9 cushion.
“I knew going in that they were a little thin (in the lighter weights),” said Central coach Brian Archibald. “Some of the kids did pretty well.”
Trailing by nine, Central’s Josh Ganavage (120) started the run off by pinning Nicole Basile in just 46 seconds while Kadeem Richards (126) made a takedown on Andrew Marsh quickly into things and picked up a pin-fall victory in 1:22 as the Rams snatched up a 12-9 push.
Following suit, Tyler Burrow quickly knocked down Sam Lingren and made a pin in 3:31, Jordan Nadimi (138) won via pin-fall over Dom Villardi in 1:33. At 145, Sean Ziogas made a quick reversal for a pin over Cedric Rivera as Central stacked up a 30-9 edge.
But in the heart of the Plainville line-up, the Blue Devils rode the power of Connor Oakes and Mischa Hoffman and the duo did not disappoint for the visitors.
Oakes (152) battered Jordan Pelletier before picking up a pin in 3:32 while Hoffman (160), a very impressive sophomore, trailed early but in the end, made a critical takedown with 13 seconds remaining, to break a 4-4 stalemate and win by two over the always tough Glenn Pierce.
“I think where they’re good, we’re good,” said Archibald. “We’re good at 160. We’re good at 182. We’re good at 195.”
The Blue Devils were down 30-18 and only two pin-falls separated the teams. However, Central pulled out three impressive wins to end the suspense of the evening.
First, Ian Gonzalez (170) pinned John Oliveira in 5:21. Gino Rafaniello (182) added a 16-8 major decision over the always tough Marcus Slivinsky. Finally, big Cy McIntosh needed just 56 seconds to defeat Kurt Walker.
With the McIntosh pin-fall victory in hand, Central’s tally was 46-18 with just two matches to go.
In the final two showdowns, Timmy West (220) moved down from 195 to pin Cody McQuarrie in just under two minutes. Finally at heavyweight, Myles Mitera won his first varsity match, pinning Troy Maldonado in 42 seconds.
“Our 220 bumping up to heavyweight, sticking that kid was a great thing,” said Spence of Mitera. “He was hating it. He didn’t want to go out there and he ended up pinning (Maldonado). And now his confidence level is going to grow.”
But in the end, Central came out on top with the 46-30 win but Spence does see the improvement by his team from a week to week basis.
“It’s a majority of the team,” said Spence about the improvement. “When we get to the Class S (tournament), we’re going to show up. I’m hoping we can get a top five out of this (group) in the Class S. That’s not asking for too much.”
Then on Saturday, Feb. 2, the Blue Devils took second place at the Groundhog Duals from South Windsor high school.
South Windsor won the vent by going a perfect 5-0 while Plainville took second billing at 4-1.
The Blue Devils lost to the Bobcats but defeated Lyman Memorial (48-36) while going on to defeat Canton, Portland and East Catholic.