Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are Bristol Central's Meghan Curtis and Mike Guzman

Published on Monday, 1 January 2018 21:46
Written by BOB MONTGOMERY

CORRESPONDENT

Four years of hard work have provided this week’s “Athlete of the Week” picks with various scholastic honors in sports. They are Bristol Central girls indoor team track runner Meghan Curtis and wrestler Mike Guzman, and among their accolades are both being all-conference and All-Press selections.

Curtis, the daughter Eric and Michelle Curtis, had the best girls finish among those from Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern who competed at the Wilton Wright Invitational at the Moore Fieldhouse at Southern Connecticut State on Wednesday. That was a fifth place in the 600-meters with a time of 1:46.33. She was pleased with her time and finish, but needed a boost from her coaches before going into the race.

“Before the meet I had a tough time focusing on how to run the race,” Curtis said. “But then, coach Paul [Ryskowski] talked to me before the race happened and he built up my confidence a lot more. So by talking to him, I learned how to start the race differently, which ended in my having one of the greatest races I’ve had in a long time.”

The 600-meters is her favorite event and she hopes to earn All-State honors this winter in it. Curtis is currently ranked third in Class L and No. 23 in the state overall and she hopes to get her time down in the event to somewhere in the low 1:40s, possibly a 1:42.

As if not enough, Curtis is also noteworthy in the pool as a two-time captain. She completed her final high school season of swimming in earning both all-conference and All-Press for the second year in a row.

Her favorite sport?

“I’d say it’s equal, but I do think I like track more because it’s a great sport,” Curtis said. “I didn’t have the natural ability to do it. It’s a challenge for me.”

In closing, Curtis’ advice for the up-and-coming younger athletes is to make sure they always believe in themselves.

“Never back down,” Curtis said. “Always work hard because the harder you work the better result you get.”

As far as her plans after graduation in June, she’s thinking either pre-med or studying to become a nurse.

Guzman, the son of Freddy and Nancy Guzman, won all four of his 220-pound matches on Saturday at the Southington Duals. He finished with three pins and won on a forfeit in his last match.

“It’s been nice watching Mike grow into a leadership role,” Central head coach Matt Boissonneault said. “He started the sport as a freshman with no experience. Because of injuries, he was thrust into the varsity line-up. I think he ended up only winning five or six matches that season. By his junior year, he won over 25 matches and was a Class L state place winner.

“He experienced that improvement because he completely bought into our philosophy of not focusing on his record but focusing on getting better every day. We like to say ‘winning is not the goal, it’s a byproduct,’ and Mike’s career has epitomized that philosophy.”

Guzman, who is 6-1 this season, was pleased with his performance at Southington but feels there’s more to be done.

“I thought that I wrestled well,” Guzman said. “I pinned my opponents in the first period, but I’m still working on new moves and I couldn’t hit them just yet. I’ll practice them more. I was happy with the wins, but I know I can do things differently to get better and finish things more quickly.”

As far as the team goes, it’s inexperienced, but Guzman sees good things in the near future.

“Our team goal would be to get better every time we step on the mat and control the things we can control,” Guzman said. “And like our coaches say, if we do the little things the winning will start coming.”

In talking about what wrestling has done for him, Guzman said it’s been learning several life lessons, which is something he wants the younger wrestlers to get out of the program. He also listed some advice for them.

“To work hard and cherish the moments now, to not have any regrets,” Guzman said. “I don’t want them to look back and say, ‘I should have worked harder.’”

Besides winning all-conference and All-Press honors in wrestling last season, he’s also earned them by playing linebacker for the school football team.

“Football has taught me to work as a unit, and (that you) you need everyone to get the job done,” Guzman said. “It’s taught me to, and most importantly, battle against adversity.”

His plans for next year include studying either forensic science or physical therapy.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Central on Monday, 1 January 2018 21:46. Updated: Monday, 1 January 2018 21:48.