BERLIN - It was shortly after Thursday nightâ€™s match against Berlin when Bristol Central senior wrestler Ian Kreciglowa made a declaration of sorts.
â€śI think we can do big things this year,â€ť said Kreciglowa, who as a fill in won his match via pin at 120 pounds to close out the Ramsâ€™ 61-18 victory.
Kreciglowa wasnâ€™t being cocky or overconfident. There is a belief among the Bristol Central wrestlers that they have the talent to surpass their 7th-place finish in the Class L state tournament from a season ago.
Thatâ€™s even with losing four state place winners in Chris Trelli (first at 120 pounds), Mike Guzman (third at 220), Damian Mahaffy (fifth at 170) and John Duncan (fifth at 285).
Part of that comes from the Ramsâ€™ ability to move different grapplers around to different weight classes as needed, or even have others who might not normally be in the starting lineup fill in and come out with a win. Kreciglowa is a prime example.
In other words, there is plenty of depth Bristol Central can rely upon. Against the Redcoats, Bristol Central had to juggle its lineup due to an illness going through the team and it still came away with eight pins and never trailed by fewer than 19 points past the middle of the meet.
â€śItâ€™s a great group of kids who are working every day and our goal is to just get better every day no matter if youâ€™ve been wrestling for 10 years or 10 days,â€ť Bristol Central head coach Matt Boissonneault said. â€śWeâ€™re still pretty young and weâ€™re looking to improve and just enjoy the sport. Itâ€™s a grind and a long season. Someone wins or loses every time and for someone just starting out, that can be tough. Itâ€™s all about having a positive attitude and spinning success off of that and the kids are really buying into that.â€ť
The Rams are also using it as motivation, showing that no matter who is taking the mat, they have a chance to come out with a win. Of Bristol Centralâ€™s eight falls, three came in the final 1:30 of matches, showcasing the ability to win both close contests and extended ones.
â€śI think weâ€™re a lot deeper this year,â€ť Kreciglowa said. â€śWeâ€™re at the same skill level this year and that pushes us to be even better. When we had Trelli, some people might not have gone as hard because we knew Trelli was a win no matter what. Now, guys have to try harder and we all push each other.â€ť
So far, the results are showing.
The Rams are 10-2, including 3-0 in dual meets, entering their home tournament today, just a single win off their mark from last year when they went 11-9.
At todayâ€™s Bristol Central Invitational, the host team is set to bring in a number of quality opponents, including No. 2 Bristol Eastern, No. 3 Southington, No. 10 Avon, Ledyard and Berlin.
But the Rams know the kind of gauge this can present. They also know this is what theyâ€™ve prepared for - the entire roster - starter or not.
â€śWe work harder in practice so we can come out and win out here [in meets],â€ť Kreciglowa said. â€śIf we didnâ€™t work as hard, you wouldnâ€™t see these results. Itâ€™s always about working hard and thatâ€™s going to make us win and everyone on the team knows that. A two-hour grueling practice versus a six-minute match, weâ€™re all prepared.â€ť
And Bristol Central believes just that.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org