MERIDEN — The Platt wrestling team fell to 15-7 on the season following a close 40-33 CCC South defeat against the Bristol Central Rams on Senior Night on the West Side.
“Our young guys have got to keep grinding,” said Platt coach Bryan McCarty. “We wrestled a well-coached team and we fell short, but we’ve got to keep grinding.”
As the Panthers marked Senior Night, they were without one key starter in Mathew Merrigan, a fourth-year senior who was out with a hand injury. He was on the sidelines Wednesday, cheering for his teammates.
“You know I’m always going to support my family,” Merrigan said. “We work hard every day and, over the past few months, we’ve developed as a family.”
Among Platt’s stars of the night were freshman Joel Yaport and sophomore Michael Melendez. Both earned pins in the first minute of their matches.
“I just keep working hard no matter how big my opponent is, I always have that mentality,” said Yaport regarding his 37-second pin.
Bristol Central started the night with a 18-6 lead by winning three of the first four matches. Platt scored six points with freshman 145-pounder Luis Caban picking up a victory by forfeit.
Platt junior 170-pounder Darren Gibbons cut Bristol’s lead to six, 18-12, as he earned a pin in Round 2 over BC freshman Tim Sample.
The next four matches all resulted in pins — three for Bristol, one for Platt. Sophomore 182 Jayden Colon, senior 220 Gabe Buden and senior 285 Jeffrey Labbe did the damage for the Rams. Melendez had the stick for the Panthers at 185.
“Honestly, it’s not really a great victory for me because it wasn’t a high-scoring match,” said Melendez. “But it’s still a win.”
Down 36-18 as the match flipped to the lightweights, the Panthers won the next two matches behind freshmen Nathanial Ortiz and Cesar Rodriguez to make the score 36-27.
Ortiz won at 106 by forfeit. Rodriguez scored a 6-1 decision at 113 behind two takedowns and a near-fall.
Bristol Central sophomore Julian Colon defeated Platt freshman Eddie Waters on points to secure the overall victory for the Rams. The match concluded with Yaport getting his pin-victory with ease in 37 seconds over BC freshman Albert Cruz.
Although the Panthers fell short, three seniors were celebrated Wednesday night: Tristen Mendoza, Cristion Taylor and Merrigan. Mendoza and Taylor both fell short in their matches.
“It’s about showing up for the team and supporting the family,” said Taylor.
“This team means everything to everybody,” said Mendoza. “We may have lost this match, but we gave it our all.”
The Panthers will be up bright and early Saturday morning pending the weather. They’re due to travel to Newington at 7:30 a.m. for a multi-team meet that features 10 squads.
“We’re just going to keep grinding, keep working hard, fine-tune in our movement and try to improve,” said McCarty.
Windsor 33, Maloney 30: The last time these schools met was in the Class L state championship football game in December, won by Maloney. On Wednesday night, the Warriors got a little payback with the CCC interdivisional wrestling win in Meriden.
Onil Carrion pinned to win for the Spartans, taking his match at 120 pounds in 30 seconds.
Also for Maloney, Mike Reddick won by 9-3 decision at 220 and Nick Rodriguez prevailed 7-3 at 126.
Both teams forfeited three matches. Accepting wins for Maloney were Daejon Nixon (195), Saleem Saleh (138) and Kevin Moreno (152).