Two Bristol Eastern seniors who have recently received recognition in their sports are the â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť picks. They are Avery Arbuckle of the girls basketball team and Nick St. Peter of the wrestling team. Arbuckle was chosen for second team all-conference honors and Nick St. Peter captured the 285-pound title at the Class L championships.Â
Arbuckle, the daughter of Kristol Barnett and Allen Arbuckle, Sr., was a little bit surprised when she learned of the honor.
â€śI wasnâ€™t expecting it,â€ť Arbuckle said, â€śbecause I hadnâ€™t gotten anything like that before.â€ť
In talking about her team, she is content where the Lancers are at the end of the regular season, winning 13 straight after a slow start out of the blocks.
â€śI think we started out rough, because we werenâ€™t ready for the competition that we faced,â€ť Arbuckle said. â€śThen we grew as a team and it became more of a family relationship, which helped us on and off the court and led to our wins on the court.â€ť
Sheâ€™s also confident with where she and her teammates, 16-5 and ranked No. 9, are going into the first round of Class L play against visiting 24th-ranked Waterbury Career Academy (7-13).
â€śI think we have good competition on our side of the bracket,â€ť Arbuckle said. â€śOur goal is to go to Mohegan [Sun], which is the state finals and we know we have to work hard to get there. But every team we have a chance to play can be beat, we just have to show up with the same mentality that we have all season.â€ť
As far as next year goes, she will be attending Salve Regina University in Goffstown, New Hampshire to study biochemistry. As far as college basketball goes, sheâ€™s unsure at this point in time.
In addition to winning the individual Class L crown, St. Peter, the son of David and Debra St. Peter, also fared well at the State Open in going 2-2 in his matches.Â Â
â€śNick is a super kid,â€ť Lishness said. â€śHe has worked extremely hard for everything he has. As coaches, we are ecstatic for him. He grew up wrestling at the Gladiators and didnâ€™t always have success. To see him win a state championship was such a special moment for a kid like him and our program. This offseason he worked tirelessly at Ascension (Athletics) with Bruce Guilmette and by competing in offseason tournaments and getting mat time all with the goal of winning a state championship.â€ť
St. Peter was confident heading into the Class L event, one where he was seeded No. 1 in the heavyweight division after compiling a 31-4 record throughout the season.
â€śI did expect to win,â€ť St. Peter said. â€śAll the hard work I put in felt I deserved it. I felt the help of my coaches helped me get the championship. Going in I knew it was going to be tough because I knew I wasnâ€™t going to be given anything and winning gave me a sense of relief and made me proud of myself in dedicating a whole year to the sport. And winning it, it made me realize all the work it takes to become a champion.â€ť
Although he didnâ€™t place at the State Open, he represented his sixth-place team well.
â€śI just wanted to score points for the team, I knew it was going to be tough in this tournament,â€ť St. Peter said.
St. Peter started wrestling in the sixth grade at the local Boys Club with Lishness and the Gladiators program there. He then took it more seriously in high school and last year was knocked out of the Class Lâ€™s as the fourth seed last year and that gave him more motivation.
â€śMy brother got me interested and Iâ€™ve loved it ever since,â€ť St. Peter said. â€śI like how it develops people into men and how it can develop you a hard-working mindset. I like all the people, my coaches, my teammates, those who have helped me develop through the years.â€ť
â€śCoach Lishness has helped me progress through the years,â€ť he added. â€śHeâ€™s always in my corner however I do, both in the good and the bad times. Iâ€™m grateful that all of my coaches were there for me.â€ťÂ
In having closed his high school career, St. Peter leaves advice for the up-and-coming younger wrestlers.
â€śMake sure to do offseason work,â€ť St. Peter said. â€śNever give up and always take your losses as a learning experience. Take every match like it is your last match because wrestling is not forever.â€ť
Next year itâ€™ll be college to study cyber security. As far as wrestling goes, heâ€™s unsure right now.