MERIDEN — With a young team, Maloney is looking for its wrestlers to improve throughout the year. On Wednesday night, they got off to a solid start with a 45-25 win against Hall.
It was a victory of the come-from-behind variety. Down 25-15, the Spartans ran away with the match with five straight pins from Marcos Ortiz, Anthony LaFogg, Demetre Carnot, Kody Talento and R.J. Plumberg.
“We came out and we were ready to wrestle right away,” said Maloney wrestling head coach, Eric Bergeron. “We have a lot of young guys in this lineup and they came out ready to fight. Whether they won or they lost, they were ready to wrestle. It’s incredibly encouraging knowing that we’re taking steps in the right direction.”
The match started off well for the Spartans with an early pin from senior captain Markeese Thompson at 170 pounds. The Spartans then fell behind, losing on decision at 182 and forfeiting at 195, before regaining a temporary advantage when Hall forfeited at 220.
The heavyweight match that followed was a good one — and a close call. Hall’s Mehmet Kaya took on Maloney’s Matthew Torres. In a battle that exhausted both wrestlers, Kaya pinned Torres toward the end of the third round, giving Hall a 16-12 lead.
Maloney’s Jocelyn Rodriguez won the 106-pound match with a 13-7 decision to bring the Spartans to within a point, 16-15. A double-forfeit at 113 kept the score there before a decision from Hall’s Drew Currier at 120 and a pin from Kenny Nguyen at 126 gave the Warriors a 25-15 lead.
That would be Hall’s final scoring of the night. Though down by 10, the Spartans were in good shape starting with 126 pounds.
“We hit a heart of our lineup there, where we have some experienced guys, and it ended up turning out really well,” said Bergeron. “We just told them this is a match where they have go out and be ready to wrestle every time, regardless of the scoreboard, so they were ready to go from the start.”
Maloney reeled off 30 straight points behind the pins from Ortiz, LaFogg, Demetre Carnot, Kody Talento and Plumberg.
The season-opening victory bodes well for a team that finished with three wins and 17 losses last season.
“We’re going to keep growing,” said Bergeron. “We’re a very young team, so they’re going to get more and more mat time. The more mat time that they get, the better they’re going to get, and they’re going to keep getting better and better. We wrestle now so that, come February, they’re ready for the big matches.”