WRESTLING: Platt shakes a decade of frustration against CCC South rival

MERIDEN — For quite some time, the Bristol Eastern Lancers dominated the Platt Panthers in wrestling.

The last time Platt earned a victory over the Lancers came in 2009. On Wednesday night, that streak came to an end.

The Panthers improved to 15-3 on the season with a dominant 52-27 CCC South victory over Eastern on their home mat. Jahi Mitchell, Cesar Rodriguez, Jereck Echeverria and Ahmed Hernandez all earned pins for the Panthers to lead the way.

Platt coach Bryan McCarty credited his team’s hard work to its success.

“Our kids wrestled hard; we were able to capitalize on some mistakes they made,” said McCarty. “Cesar Rodriguez was a sparkplug for us, Joel Yaport did well against a tough kid that they bumped up, Jahi gutted one out, so the guys that went out there wrestled hard and did well.”

To start the night, the big boys in the 285-pound division stepped up on the mat first. Mitchell pinned Evan Gleifert with five seconds left in the third period to get Platt off to a 6-0 lead.

Earlier, Mitchell shot for a takedown in the first 10 seconds and looked to score two points but was reversed on the ground, resulting in a takedown for Gleifert. 

Mitchell quickly got up and the two grappled for a bit before Mitchell secured a takedown of his own. Before the period ended, Mitchell recorded a takedown and a few near falls. He led 6-2 after one.

Gleifert escaped to start the second period, but Mitchell took him down two more times to extend the lead to 10-3. In the third, Mitchell escaped in the first 10 seconds and recorded another takedown before pinning to win.

“I wasn’t really impressed; I just have to work harder and work on my stance,” Mitchell said. “I think I really helped the team get to where we were tonight.”

After Mitchell’s pin, the card flipped to the lightest weights. At 106, Platt’s Rodriguez dominated Yusuff Bah. After building an 8-1 advantage in the first period on several takedowns, Rodriguez pinned Bah with 11 seconds remaining in the second period for a 12-0 Platt lead.

“I felt like I did good,” Rodriguez said. “Out the gate, he fired off the whistle. I wasn’t really expecting that, but once we got a little break I re-established myself, got my hands on him, got him down, got a turn on him and I knew the match was over.”

At 113, Nathaniel Ortiz accepted an Eastern forfeit for an 18-0 Platt lead. 

At 120, the Lancers got on the board when Xavier Rosie, up 9-2, pinned Platt’s Serenity Perez in the second period of their match.

Yaport answered at 126. The Platt sophomore began the first period with a double-leg takedown. He kept the pressure on Luke Viens for the whole period and controlled him on the ground. 

Viens scored a point with an escape in the first 30 seconds of the second period. Yaport scored another takedown in the period and Viens survived getting pinned as Yaport ended the round with a nearfall. He led 7-1 heading into the last two minutes of the match. 

Yaport started the third in the down position, but got a reversal seconds into the round. He controlled Viens on the ground the rest of the way for a 12-1 victory that put Platt up 22-6. 

In the 132-pound weight class, Platt sophomore Eddie Waters picked up the team’s third pin victory over Soph Um. 

Waters secured a few takedowns and a near-fall to end the first period ahead 7-1. Heading into the third, Waters led 12-3. He recorded a takedown with 20 seconds left and earned a pin 10 seconds later.

Platt led 24-6. 

The highlight of the night came at 138 pounds, where Echeverria pinned in 10 seconds. It was one of the fastest victories of the Platt junior’s career.

“I felt really good; it was business as usual,” Echeverria said. “I didn’t expect that to happen, but it happened.

“Once I got him down and turned him, I knew I was going to get it. I didn’t think it’d be that quick. I thought he’d fight a little more, but it happens.”

Rocco Barbino put the Lancers back on the scoreboard with a pin at 152. The Panthers were still comfortably ahead 40-12 and they sealed it when Talento accepted a forfeit at 160 and Hernandez pinned 1:15 into his match at 170 against Jason Fione. 

“Great performance from the whole team,” said Talento. “Nine years, they had the streak of beating us and now we broke it. I told the team, ‘We just need to come out strong; this is our night.” We did, and the scoreboard proved it.”

The Panthers will also be back on the mat this weekend when they host Bloomfield, Canton, Nonnewaug, East Haven and Windham in the Silver City Duals. 

“We’ve been hosting the Silver City Duals for a long time,” McCarty snoted. “Windham comes in as a top team in the state, Nonnewuag is in the state ranks, East Haven is a tough competitor. So we’re just looking forward to seeing more tough competition.

“We just kind of continue to grind in the wrestling room and challenge ourselves,” McCarty added. “Hopefully, we’re ready for the end of the year.”


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