MERIDEN — It was a shocking night Wednesday in terms of how the Platt wrestling team lost to Middletown.
The Blue Dragons were ranked No. 10 in the state poll going into the CCC South match and everyone knew they were going to be a tough oppponent, but the Panthers could not have anticipated the 61-9 outcome.
Even though Platt got trounced, coach Bryan McCarthy got his Panthers some quality matches to help their development with the state tournaments looming right around the corner.
McCarty could have shifted a few guys around to make the match a little more competitive, but he knew how good some of Middletown’s wrestlers were and wanted to give his top guys good exposure.
“I left some kids in a couple weight classes where I could have bumped them up to give us a better score. However, I wanted our kids to have quality matches, like (James) Rondini, and (Isaiah) Ross. So I left them there to get really good kids and get the competition that they need to prepare for states.”
Rondini, a returning All-Record-Journal wrestler from a year ago, had by far the most competitive match Wednesday night. He went up against Eli Cyr, one of the top wrestlers in their 120 weight class.
The two went back and forth all three periods, showing their skills whether they were on top, bottom, or neutral. Cyr won the match 5-1, but it was a great matchup that will serve Rondini well in February, when the junior will look to improve upon last year’s fourth-place finish in Class M.
“Eli’s probably the top wrestler in the state,” McCarthy said. “We elected not to bump up a weight for (Rondini) and we wanted that challenge. He’s going to grow from it and we are very proud of him for taking it on.”
Ryan Greene is another Panther who has high expectations going into the postseason. The senior was the bright spot Wednesday with a pin at 182 pounds.
McCarthy has been impressed with Greene’s performance throughout the season.
“Ryan is doing a great job for us this year,” the coach said. “He was pretty dominant in his match. He has continued to grow. Kudos to him.”
So when does McCarthy start to get his guys focused on states? Every day.
“We never stop preparing for the states, especially our more talented kids, who can do things in the states. We are constantly thinking about that in the back of our minds. That is really what’s important.”
The road for Platt continues Saturday with day-long duals in Danielson hosted by Ellis Tech. The Panthers return home to host CCC South rival Plainville next Wednesday and their own duals the following Saturday.
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