By KEVIN ROBERTS
Plainville wrestling still has much of the season to compete in following last Saturday’s Bristol Central Invitational, and coach Rusty Spence said he’s happy with where his team is.
“Right now, we’re 8-5, but still, that’s a much better record than we thought it would be at the beginning of the year,” Spence said.
Spence said the team could actually be 11-2 if not for some close losses. Three of Plainville’s five dual meet losses have been by two or less points, and two of those defeats were on criteria. Criteria is used to break ties in dual meets.
The Blue Devils finished 12th as a team at the Bristol Central Invitational, which included wrestlers from over 20 different schools. Dominic Pedrolini won a bronze medal at 126 pounds for his third place finish. Pedrolini took the third place bout by injury default over Bristol Eastern’s Carson Sassu.
“I’ve coached him since he was 4 years old, and now he’s gone,” Spence said about Pedrolini, who is in his last year with the program. “I’m hard on him, but we have a mutual respect for each other.”
Senior Alex Hernandez finished fourth at 160 following an 8-1 loss to Bristol Eastern’s Noah Piazza in the third place bout.
“Alex Hernandez, I’ve coached him since he was a little kid,” Spence said.
Spence said it’s hard coaching the seniors because he knows their time with Plainville wrestling is short. Besides Pedrolini and Hernandez, senior Travis Boone also wrestled in the invitational. Boone wrestled at 220 and finished with a 2-2 record.
“All that hard work is paying off, but now it’s over,” Spence said. “Eight weeks and it’s going to be done. I told the kids it’s like you got Stage 4 wrestling cancer, and you’re going to die in eight weeks, so live it up, live to your fullest right here.”
Junior Ty Pales finished sixth at 182 after losing by fall to Southington’s Matt Jacobson in the fifth place bout. Freshman Jose Alvarado wrestled at 101, the exhibition weight class of the invitational, and took fifth place with a pin against New Fairfield’s Michael Cartossa in the fifth place bout.
Alvarado is part of a large influx of wrestlers that made Spence glad he decided not to retire. Plainville has 44 wrestlers on its roster, a big number for a Class S school. Spence said his roster normally has about 20-24 wrestlers.
“I’m glad they all came out,” Spence said. “I don’t know why I got 44 kids. That was crazy, but it’s a gift, and I’m going to appreciate it.”
Alvarado wasn’t the only freshman to wrestle for Plainville at the Bristol Central Invitational. Dakota Dinielli finished with a 2-2 record at 152. Spence sent most of his wrestlers to Bristol Eastern’s JV tournament, which was also held last Saturday. Spence said the Eastern was the best place for those wrestlers to be.
“If you’re out there wrestling kids at your own abilities, you can hang with them, you can learn from that,” Spence said. “It’s good because all these other schools that are here use it too.”
As far as the dual meet season goes, Plainville has already done more than last year. The Devils knocked off Platt during a quad dual meet at Avon on Dec. 28, then defeated Maloney 36-35 on Jan. 3 in Meriden. Spence said those wins are a step in the right direction.
“It’s a young season, and I’m happy with where we’re at,” Spence said. “I usually average about seven wins a year, and we’ve got eight right now. I’m elated, and we still got half a season to pick up another five or six wins. I’ve had kids come up to say ‘I’m glad I came out.’”
Spence said he expected sophomore standout Kyle Voisine to return to the wrestling room on Tuesday. Voisine had been out with an injury, and he brings a presence to the Devils.
“He’s a smart kid and a phenomenal athlete,” Spence said. “He’s mature beyond his years.”
Spence said he thinks Plainville can finish in the top five in Class S, as long as improvement continues and the wrestlers stay healthy. After that, all he wants to see is his wrestlers coming back for the 2019-2020 season.
2018 Bristol Central Invitational
At Bristol Central High School (Jan. 5)
Team Results (winner and local finishers): 1. Bristol Eastern, 207; 2. Southington, 199; 8. Bristol Central, 82; 10. Berlin, 59; 12. Plainville 52.
Results by weight class (Champion and Plainville place winners)
101 (exhibition): 1. Aiden Baghdassarian, Avon; 5. Jona Alvarado, Plainville
106: 1. Trent Thompson, Bristol Eastern
113: 1. Martial Sutton, Glastonbury
120: 1. Parker Sutton, Glastonbury
126: 1. Peter Coniglio, New Milford; 3. Dominic Pedrolini, Plainville
132: 1. Matt Laurie, Wethersfield
138: 1. Cole Dirico, Ledyard
145: 1. Daniel Veleas, Berlin
152: 1. Justin Marshall, Bristol Eastern
160: 1. Michael Angers, Tolland; 4. Alex Hernandez, Plainville
170: 1. Alec Arnold, Wethersfield
182: 1. Dylan Garcia, Bristol Eastern; 6. Ty Pales, Plainville
195: 1. Caleb Chesanow, Southington
220: 1. Trinidad Gonzalez, Bristol Eastern
285: 1. Henry Schrecengost, Avon
Plainville individual records: Alvarado 1-1, Pedrolini 3-1, Dakota Dinielli 2-2, Hernandez 2-2, Pales 3-2, Travis Boone 2-2.