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WRESTLING: Mastery of the Meriden mats remains in the West

WRESTLING: Mastery of the Meriden mats remains in the West



MERIDEN — Platt continued its Silver City dominance on the mat with a 52-28 victory over visiting Maloney in front of a packed house at Platt High School on Wednesday night.

The Panthers built an early lead and never looked back to defeat the Spartans for the ninth straight year and for the 15th time in 16 years.

“We did a nice job with our pace and tempo, and we kept it going all night,” Platt coach Bryan McCarty said. “I’m pleased with the tenacity we showed. We also showed our depth tonight.”

Platt (24-11) opened up with three straight wins, starting with a Tristyn D’Aniello pin at 138 in 2:41. John Cerrone won by forfeit at 145 and Mathew Merrigan pinned in 1:20 at 152 as the Panthers grappled to a quick 18-0 lead.

Maloney’s Kody Talento got the biggest cheer of the night from the visiting sideline. The senior collected his 100th career victory with his pin at 160 in 2:23.

Talento was serenaded with cheers and Spartan fans holding up “100” signs.

“It was insane and felt amazing,” Talento said. “It felt like I won a state championship. I looked up to all of the people that have won 100 matches over the years and I never thought I would get this, but I put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears and I finally made it.”

Talento is 100-34 for his career. He is 30-3 for the current season with 22 pins.

Platt responded to Talento’s milestone win with another run of three straight wins. Cristian Calero pinned in 1:32 at 170. Evean Oquendo dominated his way to a pin at 2:24 at 182 and Noah Chambers collected a win at 195 via a forfeit.

Darel Rivera put Maloney (15-10) back on the board with a pin in 1:40 at 220 and Alaa Boulabate earned a medical forfeit at 106 after leading 18-6 in the second period.

In between those two Spartan wins, Platt senior Luke Fuerstenberg pinned at heavyweight in 1:09.

Platt’s Joellyz Lopez Rosario had her arm raised with a forfeit win at 113. Onil Carrion followed with a pin for Maloney at 120 in 3:54. He led 6-0 before the pinfall.

As for milestone wins, Paltt senior Isaiah Ross may be the next Meriden wrestler to reach the 100-win plateau. He earned his 94th career victory with a 20-6 decision at 126.

“We came in with the attitude to win and to keep the streak going, and that’s it,” said Ross, now 94-21 for his career. “We came out and wrestled and got the W. It’s special. This rivalry has been going on a long time and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Maloney’s Austin Studley ended the night with a 12-2 decision at 132.

“Maloney is much improved and I think we matched up well with them,” McCarty said.

Before the match, there were a variety of ceremonies. There was a moment of silence to recognize former Connecticut wrestling stalwart Ray Southland, the Washington Middle School principal who died last summer.

Wednesday also started the tradition of the Ray Southland Outstanding Match Award. The first award went to Talento and Platt’s Ahmed Hernandez’s bout at 160.

It was also Senior Night for Platt seniors Ross, Calero, Fuerstenberg and James Rondini. The four seniors have accounted for more than 80 team wins in their four seasons.

Rondini and Calero both spoke briefly and the senior quartet presented McCarty and Platt assistant coach West Johnson with plaques.

Rondini, unbeaten on the season at 34-0, missed the match with a disloacted elbow. His status for the rest of the year is uncertain. The senior said he hopes to be back. He will find out Friday whether he will be cleared for the postseason season tournaments or if his season is over.

Maloney, meanwhile, has been without one of its top wrestlers, R.J. Plumberg, for the last two weeks. He’s been out since Feb 1 with a fracture in his shoulder. Maloney coach Joe Winoski said the junior has been shut down for the season.

Maloney seniors Alfred Aviles, Talento and Mackenzie Rettman were also recognized on Wednesday night.

“If anyone was at the Platt-Maloney match last year and was here tonight, they saw a great difference in how much we improved,” Winoski said. “We had a big turnaround. The kids showed a lot of grit. Platt’s done well to win almost every match over the last two decades. Eventually, we will have our turn.”


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