MERIDEN – Maloney started out fast, winning three of the first four matches, but Platt finished strong to take the Silver City showdown on the mat for the seventh winter in a row.
The Panthers used back-to-back pins by Zavian Arroyo at 170 (1:56) and Ben Stratton at 180 (13 seconds) to get rolling and defeat the visiting Spartans, 43-23.
“They’ve been doing a lot of that this year. That’s a really tough part of our lineup: Arroyo, Stratton and (Ryan) Greene,” Platt coach Bryan McCarty said. “As a whole, they’ve worked hard in the room all year. Maloney looked good, too. It was a good match.”
The Spartans began the night with the strength of their lineup, starting with their best: 138-pounder Demetre Carnot, the all-time winningest Maloney wrestler of all-time. The senior scored a 17-2 technical fall in the second round.
“It didn’t go as well as we expected this year,” Carnot said about the night on a whole. “The matchups were really good, though. This is the best wrestling there has been in Meriden over the last couple of years. A lot of the matches finished in minor decisions. I was glad to see to see our progression.”
Maloney 152-pound freshman R.J. Plumberg earned the Spartans (12-9, 2-4 CCC South) their lone pin on the night in 3:54. Spartans senior Markeese Thompson registered a 7-2 decision at 160.
Platt’s earliest win was a thriller at 145. Damian Morris edged out Kody Talento with 44 seconds left in the third period.
After the first four bouts, the Spartans led 14-3. Then came the pins by Arroyo and Stratton and a 7-4 decision by Greene at 195 as the Panthers (18-5, 5-1) charged ahead 18-14. Stratton’s pin in 13 seconds was his fastest of the season.
The 220-pound contest between Maloney’s Tyler Ware and Platt’s Cesar Flores went into overtime tied 1-1. Ware won with a takedown with 36 seconds left in the first overtime, temporarily stemming the Platt tide and trimming the Platt advantage to 18-17.
Then there was a trio of forfeits. Platt’s Luke Fuerstenberg had his arm raised at 285, Maloney’s Jocelynn Rodriguez won by walkover at 106 and Platt’s James Rondini gained an easy six points at 113. Following the forfeits, Platt held a 30-23 lead.
Platt sealed the match by sweeping the final three bouts. Jeremy Polanco earned a 5-1 decision at 120, Isaiah Ross clinched the overall victory with a 14-6 decision at 126 and Rasec Rodriquez polished it off with a pin in 2:30 at 132.
The victory was the Panthers’ seventh straight over Maloney. The Panthers have also won 13 of the last 14 intracity matches.
“Tonight was Senior Night and it was all about the seniors. We worked really hard,” Stratton said. “Coach McCarty told us to never quit and never surrender. They jumped out early; we wrestled hard and wrestled our match.”
Maloney coach Eric Bergeron said he was pleased with his team’s effort and the regular season as a whole.
“It was a tough loss. Hat’s off to them. They wrestled great and now it’s tournament time. We will shift our focus to Class L,” Bergeron said. “To go from 3-19 and to winning 12 matches, I couldn’t be happier. They go out and put the hard work in.”
Maloney seniors recognized before the match were Carnot, Marcos Ortiz, Tanner Raymond, Rodriguez, Thompson and Ware.
The graduating Platt seniors are Brian Flores, James Burrus, Rodriguez, Luis Santibanez, Cesar Flores, Damian Morris, Dante Morris, Polanco, Arroyo and Stratton.
“This is a special group,” McCarty said. “I’m really proud of them for sticking it through. A lot of guys quit on them through the years. Even though we have good numbers, there were probably 15 guys that quit on them. So I give them all of the credit in the world for sticking with it and working hard. If they lose, they are back here the next day.”