By BRIAN JENNINGS
2016-17 REGULAR SEASON
Overall Record—7-10 (3-4 home, 4-6 away).
CCC South Division Record—1-5.
CCC South Champion—Bristol Eastern (19-0, 6-0).
CCC South Runner-Up—Middletown (15-6, 5-1).
Class M Championship (at Guilford High School)—19th/30 (1 medalist).
Class M Champion—Ellis Tech.
Class M Runner-Up—Foran.
State Open (at Hillhouse High School, New Haven)—T79th/94.
State Open Champion—Danbury.
State Open Runner-Up—Newtown.
New England Championship (at Providence Career & Technical Center, Providence, RI)—DNQ.
New England Champion—Danbury.
New England Runner-Up—Newtown.
Head Coach—Rusty Spence, entering sixth season.
Assistant Coaches—Tim Dalena, Dylan Fusco.
Key Losses (4 graduated):
Christopher Centurelli (graduated)—132-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship.
Tyler Rizzo (graduated)—126-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship.
Grant Sarra (graduated)—captain, season-ending injury.
Jonathon Tattersall (graduated)—captain, season-ending injury.
Benjamin Root (senior)—145-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship, concentrating on academics.
Mason Sarra (sophomore)—170-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship, season-ending injury.
2017-18 Team Captains:
Travis Boone (junior)—195-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship.
Dominic Pedrolini (junior)—120-pound weight class, wrestled at Class M championship.
Sebby Soli (junior)—126-pound weight class, placed 4th in 120-pound weight class at Class M championship.
Other Key Returners:
Simona Barbagallo (sophomore)—126-pound weight class.
Adam Buckley (sophomore)—195-pound weight class.
Kaleb Korona (sophomore)—160-pound weight class.
Ty Pales (sophomore)—152-pound weight class.
Esteban Torres (sophomore)—138-pound weight class.
The Observer asked Spence the following questions about the upcoming season:
Observer—What were your overall thoughts about last season? What did the team/program gain or accomplish?
Spence—Last season started with a lot of bright spots, only to come back to earth with season-ending injuries that took four of the seven starting seniors. Simply, you are the team that gets off of the bus.
Observer—What can be taken from last season into this season?
Spence—I expect that every student does well academically, conducts themselves with pride, and shows respect to opponents and officials.
Observer—What stands out most about this team? What is unique, different, or interesting about this team?
Spence—Our team is very young with quite a few first-year wrestlers. With one freshman coming with experience, Kyle Voisine, it makes it a little easier.
Observer—Last year was the first season Plainville went from competing in Class S to Class M. The Blue Devils placed 19th at the Class M championship with eight wrestlers, including one medalist. How do you think the team did in their first season competing in Class M, and what did you learn through the experience? What are the keys to having a successful team/program for the upcoming season, in order to send even more wrestlers to the state meet and through to the state open?
Spence—It was a statement about how these kids can step up and do their best. Fortunately, we are back where we belong, in Class S, which gives us more of an opportunity to excel. We might be back in Class M next year, so we should take advantage of this season.
Observer—What are the team’s strengths? What positions or areas of the playing field is the team strongest in?
Spence—We have five kids that are expected to do really well, and they should motivate the others to get better as the season goes along.
Observer—What are the team’s weaknesses? What does the team have to work on or improve most, in order to be prepared for the upcoming season?
Spence—Having no seniors will be a problem to start, but this isn’t the first season where we were in that position. Our team is young, but they have showed that they learn very quickly, and that should make the season go well.
Observer—Are there any other major changes from last year, either to the league, schedule, team, or program in general?
Spence—We have a new assistant coach. Brian Lister will be missed, but Dylan Fusco wrestled for me and is a former Class M runner-up. I feel that he will be a good fit for Plainville.
Observer—Why should people follow the team?
Spence—People should follow the team to see what adversity is all about and what all in means. People should also follow the team to show some pride and support Plainville High sports.
Observer—If you had to headline the upcoming season, what would it be?
Spence—It’s a marathon, not a sprint.