BRISTOL - After last yearâ€™s 64-3 loss to Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central head wrestling coach Matt Boissonneault thought the way his team wrestled was far more competitive than what the scoreboard represented.
Wednesday nightâ€™s edition of the city wrestling match saw Eastern win 49-15, and while the team scores were slightly more favorable towards the Rams, Boissonneault did not have the same positive endorsement of his teamâ€™s performance.
â€śI thought [the score] reflected the wrestling,â€ť Boissonneault said. â€śI thought we lost some close matches. Their good kids beat us up in some other matches.â€ť
Jason Feto was the lone grappler to defeat an Eastern wrestler, to go along with a pair of forfeit wins. Feto took an 8-6 decision over Josiah White, but was noticeably distraught by what he saw some from himself and his teammates.
â€śI think I wrestled pretty bad,â€ť the senior captain said. â€śItâ€™s not what we wanted tonight. Iâ€™d rather wrestle terrible today than next week in the postseason when it really matters. Thatâ€™s what we really care about.â€ť
The first day of the Class L state tournament is one week away and the Rams will be using everything they learned from the loss to Eastern to bring their best performances in the more meaningful tournament.
â€śTheyâ€™re a good team and itâ€™s an important test, but last year, as bad as this was, last year was a little bit worse scoreboard-wise,â€ť Boissonneault said. â€śWe were able to regroup and come back better for Class Lâ€™s, so thatâ€™s our primary goal and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re looking for.â€ť
All but two of the 11 matches wrestled on Wednesday night reached the third period and four of them were decided by three points or fewer.
Jake Aldi trailed Mason Lishness 1-0 after two periods in a pivotal match between two experienced wrestlers who know each other extremely well, but was unable to score and lost 3-0.
Similarly to Aldi and Lishnessâ€™ match, the heavyweight match between Centralâ€™s Eric Facey and Easternâ€™s Nick St. Peter was tied at zero after the first period. St. Peter led 4-1 after the next period, but Facey was nearly able to tie the match before losing 4-3.
â€śI learned that we need to be more aggressive,â€ť Boissonneault said. â€śI think they did an excellent job of controlling the mat area and I think when you control the mat area you find yourself in scoring situations. A lot of our kids wanted to jump around and get into stance before trying to control it and as they tried that they had to play catch-up in all the positions whether it was a scoring position or not. That created some problems.â€ť
The Rams have five wrestlers on their roster who placed fifth or higher at the 2019 Class L tournament and expect to have similar, if not better, success this year. They know what they are capable of and will move on and grow from the loss to the Lancers.
â€śWe just have to put this day behind us, go back to the room, work harder than we ever have and prepare ourselves mentally,â€ť Feto said. â€śI know weâ€™re better than this, I know Iâ€™m better than this and I know my team is better than this. Itâ€™s not reflective of the time and work we put into this sport, itâ€™s not a reflection of what our team is.â€ť