BRISTOL - Having the senior class set the standard for success was a goal of Bristol Central coming into the Class L state wrestling meet.
The four seniors in the lineup - Chris Trelli, Mike Guzman, Damian Mahaffy and John Duncan - all did their job to set that standard for the younger wrestlers as they placed in the tournament.
“Our goal was to place all seniors at the beginning of the season,” Guzman said. “We kept working together and working on new moves. John Duncan was my partner and we pushed each other to get better. Seeing all the seniors place really makes me happy.”
It all starts with Trelli, who has set the bar high as an All-American wrestler who just won the Class L title as a senior.
“It just shows that we grew,” Trelli said. “Since freshmen year we’ve gotten much better. It’s going to be the same for all the other freshmen that competed today. We’ve got to take this as a learning experience.”
Guzman, Duncan and Mahaffy also set a tone for the future of the program.
The younger wrestlers, specifically Jake Aldi (freshman) and Adam Ward (junior), have potential moving forward.
Both Aldi and Ward lost in the placement round.
“When you say young guys that didn’t place today, Jake Aldi comes to mind,” Duncan said. “He’s come so far. He’s one of the best freshman wrestlers I’ve seen personally. He was knocked out, sadly, in the blood [placement] round, but for him, he’s well on his way to completing goals that most wrestlers could never dream of completing, like getting 100 wins. He’s already over 25 wins and I’m excited about how our team is looking for the future.”
Ward has had a strong year pacing the junior class.
“I’m proud of everybody on the team,” Guzman said. “They all wrestled hard and they’re going to be alright in the future years. I’m excited to come back and see how much they’ve grown next season. I think they’ll be good.”
For the kids who didn’t place, their sights are set on getting better for next year.
“We have some other quality kids who finished the year as quality kids but ended up not placing,” Bristol Central head coach Matt Boissonneault said. “But at the beginning of the year they were inexperienced. So I’m happy with their progress.”
The four seniors will take part in the State Open this weekend.
“We’re young and we’re looking to build a little bit more into next year. Hopefully, some of the younger guys feed off of our seniors’ performance.”
For the Rams, the seventh place finish was a sign of an up and down season and a team with inexperience on its roster.
Bristol Central, however, will look to build off the youth and look to continue to grow as a program following this season.
The opportunity is there.
“Everybody has potential in the younger classes,” Mahaffy said. “Everybody is going to be doing offseason stuff. We’re definitely better than we were last year and next year will be a bigger step toward getting where we need to be.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org