There is an atmosphere of excitement along the Plainville sidelines this wrestling season as new head coach Todd Krolikowski has instilled a team first mentality among his grapplers.
“Wrestling can be viewed as an individual sport but we don’t see it that way,” said Krolikowski. “There is a sense of excitement as everyone is pulling for one another. Regardless of varsity or JV we are all one team…Because when one wrestler succeeds it’s a success for the entire team.”
That type of mindset has been brought along slowly as the team became acclimated to the new coach and his style. At the midway point of the season the Blue Devils are a very competitive 7-5 on the season, and the progress that has been made is quite evident.
“It really help to have assistant coach Dylan Fusco here who knows the kids,” added the head coach. “There’s a good reason why Dylan coaches in three different sports. The kids connect with him and he has been a great asset with the transition of brining in a new head coach.”
“We had five wrestlers place at the Bristol Central Invitational and I’m being told that is a first around here,” said Krolikowski. “That is as much about the hard work that the kids are putting into this, than anything I’m doing.”
Esteban Torres (182 lb. class) and Alex Santini (195) both finished in third place helping Plainville to 75 team points and an 11th place finish out of the 21 teams competing.
The Blue Devils have developed a solid middle core of the lineup with Kyle Voisine (152) and Kaleb Korona (170) both ranked 3rd in the Class S Division.
“I think the biggest difference I’m seeing since day one is the overall confidence level,” said Krolikowski. “They are beginning to trust in some of the new techniques they are learning. At the start of the season they weren’t too sure about it but now they are seeing that it works, and they are more comfortable with it.”
On Jan 15 the Blue Devils took on Platt of Meriden and came up on the short end of a 40-30 final margin. Adam Buckley (220) and Bhavya Patel (285) led the upper weight class and Fabi Laoz (160) was a consistent performer in the middle weight class earning a pin to give Plainville a shot at a comeback.
“We are at the point where we have some kids who are a little banged up. You may have to take a forfeit here and there that could decide the outcome of a match,” said Krolikowski, adding that it’s a long season. “But the focus going forward is to get the most out of some of these invitationals we are going to be competing in over the next few weeks.”
Platt opened up with a pair of wins before Nikolas Penta (106) and Joe Kennedy (113) picked up forfeit wins to close the gap. Dylan Bucci (120), Ethan Miron (126) and Nate Cyr (138) all lost battles to Platt by pins to give the Panthers a big lead.
The Blue Devils were not backing down one bit and that was evident by the inspiring performance of Alicia Quirion in the 132 match. Marc Bishop of Platt may have had more strength than Alicia but could quite match the tenacity and desire shown by Quirion who refused to be pinned.
As the match reached the third period the Plainville bench was on their feet cheering on their teammates effort and the final score of the match no longer mattered.
Dylan McVicker (145) recorded a pin at 1:27 and Laoz (160) had a pin at 2:54. Voisine (152) lost a 4-2 decision and Korona (170) dropped a close 11-8 decision and when Eryk Piotrowski (182) earned a pin at 3:30 the Blue Devils were closing the gap but it wasn’t enough to put this one in the win column.
Plainville will finish out the month of January at Berlin on Jan 21 and at Middletown on Jan 29. The Blue Devils will compete in the Highland and the Stafford Invitationals in Febuary before closing out the regular season away at Bristol Eastern and Newington.
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