MERIDEN – The Maloney wrestling team absorbed a difficult 38-36 defeat at the hands of Bristol Central at the Nessing Gymnasium on Wednesday night, but there was plenty for the Spartans to celebrate.
Before the match, the squad’s six seniors were recognized and, after the match, senior captain Demetre Carnot was honored after earning his 133rd career victory, expanding on a Maloney record he set last week.
The 132-pound Carnot finished the match with a pin in 1:55. It was his 15th pin of the year. The senior is now 23-1 on the season and 133-19 for his career.
“It’s pretty special,” Carnot said. “I worked for this for the past four years — really the last 10 years of my life. I’m happy it paid off. It’s surreal now, because I’m a senior and this is the end. I’m extemely happy. It’s a weird mix of emotions.”
Maloney coach Eric Bergeron it took tons of training and time for Carnot to amass that many wins.
“Demetre has earned every accolade he gets,” Bergeron said. “It’s a lot of dedication and hours if you want to be successful. You get out of the sport what you put in. He put a lot into wrestling. He deserves this record. That’ll be a tough one to break.”
Following the match, an announcement was made that Carnot was the new record holder, having passed 1998 grad John Rettman. Rettman was in attendance and greeted Carnot in the middle of the mat with a handshake.
“I’m not surprised he got it,” Rettman said. “He deserves it. That record lasted way further than I ever expected. I’m glad that Demetre shattered it.”
Rettman wrestled at 130 pounds for the Spartans in his senior year. He placed second in the Class L tournament, fourth in the State Open and fifth in the New England Open that season.
Rettman finished with 125 career wins, surpasssing the previous record of Tom Brown, who tallied 112 conquests.
On Wednesday, the Spartans (7-6, 2-2) rode the emotion of Senior Night to a 27-11 lead midway through the CCC South bout with Bristol Central.
Maloney got pins by Kody Talento (145, 3:13), R.J. Plumberg (160, 3:47), Andy Cruz (182, 3:08) and Nikolas DeBaise (195, 3:53). Tanner Raymond also won by a 10-5 decision for the Spartans at 152.
Then the tables turned.
Bristol Central (9-6, 3-1) ripped off 27 straight points, aided by a pair Maloney forfeits, to lead 38-27 with two bouts left. The Spartans needed two pins. Marcos Ortiz won a 6-2 decision at 126 and Carnot pinned at 132, but it wasn’t enough as the Spartans fell two points short.
Bergeron said the loss was a tough one.
“It’s always a heartbreaker losing a close one like this,” Bergeron said. “It’s hard to reflect and see one thing that went wrong that could have been the difference. It’s always a team effort. The guys went out and battled hard. We just need to keep building and working from here.”
Carnot has been the leader on the mat throughout his four years at Maloney. He has a state championship on his resume.
“When I think about the 133 wins, I think about dominance,” Carnot said. “I think about leaving my mark and my legacy.”
The senior is primed for a strong postseason in his final year. He doesn’t plan to wrestle beyond high school. Athletically, he will focus on golf after the postseason.
“My ultimate goal is to win the State Open and finish top three in New England,” Carnot said.
Carnot and fellow seniors Markeese Thompson, Ortiz, Raymond, Jocelynn Rodriguez and Tyler Ware were recognized before the match. Carnot, Thompson and Rodriguez are the captains.
Rodriguez was scoreless through two periods before falling 3-0 to Adam Ward at 113. Thompson was bothered by a shoulder ailment and was pinned at 170 by Damian Mahaffy.
Bergeron said the senior class has led the team to a strong campaign.
“This season has been great,” Bergeron said. “It starts with the older guys and ends with our younger guys. They have all shown heart and dedication. They have bought into our system. We have seen success and want to keep it going.”