MERIDEN — The Platt wrestling team lost just its fifth match of the season on Wednesday night, but it was a big one against CCC South rival Berlin.
Coming off a winning weekend at the Jonathan Law Invitational, the Panthers entered the match looking to improve on their 20-4 record against a 16-3 Redcoats squad that is also starting to garner attention.
The Redcoats should garner more with a 44-30 win over Platt.
“Berlin is a talented team, we knew it would be a tough task,” said Platt coach Bryan McCarty. “We did everything we could do, but they just got us in a couple spots. Credit to them.”
While neither team cracked the Top 10 in the Connecticut Wrestling Online poll this week, both did receive votes.
Wednesday’s showdown started off with a bang at 138 — or, rather, an emphatic slam to the mat, which would serve as a catalyst for a gritty and tense match.
Berlin’s Nicholas Koops put the visitors on the board first with a commanding 15-0 technical fall win over Ed Waters.
The Redcoats quickly added onto their lead with a pin at 145 pounds by Hiram Sepulveda against Thomas Gonzalez with 50.5 seconds left in the first period.
Looking to get the home team started, Caiden Talento cut the deficit to eight points by defeating Berlin’s Landon Vieira with a 9-4 decision at 152.
Ahmed Hernandez kept the Panthers rolling. He took a 9-1 lead before pinning Aidan Dejesus with 24.6 seconds left in the third in the 170 bout.
Berlin answered with a pin by Tim Mrachek against Emmanuel Lugo. After an early 6-0 lead, Mrachek quickly took down Lugo to begin the second before sticking him at the 1:09 mark.
In a grueling 195 match, Platt’s Michael Melendez came out victorious after a last-second pin with 1.8 seconds left against Hamza Mourabit.
The two programs exchanged pins at 220 and 285.
Berlin’s Nick Ebrahimi pinned Isaiah Smith after 58 seconds at 220, while a bear-hug takedown by Platt’s Julian Frias led to a 46-second pin at 285.
After a high-scoring 106 bout that saw numerous lead changes, Collin Sullivan prevailed for the Redcoats, defeating Cesar Rodriguez 18-13 to give Berlin a 32-21 lead.
Berlin continued to grow its lead with pins at 113 and 120, the second of which proved to be the dagger for the Panthers. Both came in the first period. Mason Arborio pinned Jesus Hernandez with 16.2 seconds left. Caleb Orde followed suit against Nathan Ortiz with 28.4 seconds left.
Platt finished off the match with a pair of wins. Joel Yaport defeated Malcolm Ferguson in a 10-5 decision at 126 and Jereck Echevarria pinned Robert Trent Spilka after 33 seconds at 132.
“We just have to improve on basic positioning,” McCarty said. “The kids wrestled hard, they were just out-techniqued today.”