BRISTOL - The final two weeks of the scholastic wrestling season brought both struggle and gratification to Bristol Central’s 120-pound senior wrestler Chris Trelli.
The peaks and valleys would ultimately lead to results to be proud of for the senior standout as he closed out his stellar career with the Rams.
“I got to know who I really am,” Trelli said. “These last two weeks really let me grow. I realized what I need to do in college when I’m wrestling. I can’t let things get to my head and I just need to push through adversity.”
It all started at the State Open for Trelli.
Entering it, there was anticipation for a rematch between Ryan Jack (Danbury) and Trelli, as the two had wrestled the previous year in the State Open. Jack won that matchup.
The two wrestlers would take different paths in this year’s State Open. Trelli struggled, placing 5th and securing the final spot at the New England championship in his weight class, as only five wrestlers in each state qualify for it.
“I just thought to myself [in the fifth place match] that my season can’t end here,” Trelli said. “I need to make it to next weekend. I was confident and I wanted to push myself and see what I could do at New Englands on a bigger stage.”
Jack would go on to repeat as the Open champion in the weight class.
“Reflecting on Chris’ State Open performance there were some things that I wish I had handled differently,” Bristol Central head coach Matt Boissonneault said. “We tell the kids ‘one match at a time,’ and to not look beyond anyone in a bracket, but I think sometimes what we’re doing contradicts that message. If we spend the majority of our time in practice preparing for [Jack] who’s on the other side of the bracket, are our actions really reflecting the message that we’re trying to convey?”
For Trelli and Boissonneault it was time to regroup as the New England championship approached.
It was a bigger state, yet one Trelli wasn’t afraid of. The opportunity was there for him to bounce back after a disappointing Open performance.
“I totally wanted to my avenge my losses at the State Open,” Trelli said. “At the Open I didn’t wrestle to my ability and New Englands was the perfect time to not so much prove myself but show that I could respond to adversity and that I’m better than what I showed at the Opens.”
Trelli would start the New England championship in dominant fashion, winning his first three matches by a pair of technical falls and a major decision. The three wins put him into the semifinals.
Fittingly, his opponent was Jack. It was Trelli’s chance to avenge his State Open loss to Jack last year.
It wasn’t going to be easy, as Jack is nationally ranked on the mat as a sophomore and regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in New England by coaches.
To nobody’s surprise the match between the two came down to the wire, eventually going into overtime. Jack would end up winning the match by a score of 5-3.
Following the loss to Jack, Trelli would end up beating the Maine state champion, Justin Cote, in the consolation semifinals to reach the third place match.
Lining up against Trelli for the third place medal was Parrot, the opponent he had lost to in the semifinal match at the State Open.
Trelli and Parrot battled in a back and forth match throughout. Trailing 1-0 to Parrot with just two seconds remaining, Trelli secured a takedown, earning two points to win the match and placed third at the New England championship.
“I fell really short of my expectations in the State Open and my head wasn’t in it,” Trelli said. “I didn’t think about it one match at time at the State Open. In New Englands I just wanted to have fun with it as it was my last tournament with Bristol Central. Obviously I wanted to place but my main goal was to have fun. It helped me a lot. I wasn’t stressed at all or worried about my opponents.”
While everything may not have gone the way Trelli had hoped, his third place finish at the New England championship is representative of a kid that refuses to give up and keeps pushing towards reaching his goals.
“During the season I had the kids write down why they wrestle,” Boissonneault said. “It’s a demanding, grueling sport so I wanted them to reflect and figure it out for themselves. Chris said he loves the challenge and wants to leave his legacy. After he was done wrestling at the state open, I told him the tourney did not end up how he planned it but what’s done is done.
“If he really wants to leave a legacy, he could give me a story to tell future wrestlers about the kid who bounced back after a disappointing State Open tournament. The fact that Chris was able to deliver on that message the way he did really shows you the type of competitor, the type of kid, that he is.”
He finishes as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 149.
“That’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Trelli said. “Being the wrestler with the most wins at Bristol Central is crazy to think about, I couldn’t have even imagined that after my freshman year. The reason I wrestle is to see how much I can grow and improve when being challenged. Being the all-time leader in wins shows how much I’ve progressed.”
Trelli will continue wrestling at the collegiate level. While he is unsure of where yet, whatever program gets him will be getting a wrestler that leaves it all on the line, every single match.
Dan Orencole can be reached at or