BRISTOL - At the Bristol Central invitational, there was an abundance of quality wrestling on display.
As the back-to-back champions of the invitational, Bristol Eastern once again took home a first place finish as the Lancers finished with 286 points and had eight wrestlers make it into the finals.
“The Bristol Central tournament is a big deal for Bristol kids,” Bristol Eastern head coach Bryant Lishness said. “A lot of these kids fathers wrestled in this tournament and their fathers won or placed so it’s always a big deal if you have that bracket sheet and the kids remember it. The kids did a great job today.”
Mohanasen (N.Y.) finished in second place in the tournament with 126 points.
Of all the area schools participating, there were some intriguing finals matchups that presented fans with a glimpse of local talent going head to head.
Below is a closer look at each team and how they performed:
For the Lancers, the eight wrestlers to make it to the final round were Jordon Champagne (113 pounds), Gabe Soucy (132), Bryce Beebe (106), Diego Fernandez (145), Justin Marshall (152), Michael Barrett (160), Trinidad Gonzalez (195) and Mason Lishness (98).
“We came in knowing that we were the stronger team than most teams here,” Gonzalez said. “So really we just came out here trying to put the score up on the other teams and that’s what we did. We showed them what Bristol Eastern’s about.”
Lishness reached the finals against Berlin’s Cintron after receiving a pair of byes before beating Pomperaug’s Kendra Ryan with a 6-0 decision.
In the final matchup with Cintron, Lishness pinned Cintron at 2:15.
Soucy received a first round bye and got to the finals with a pair of pins against Fitch’s David Ervin (2:38) and Glastonbury’s Kyle Vigeant (5:17).
Soucy had a tough test in the finals against Berlin’s [Dan] Veleas and lost in a 6-0 decision.
Gonzalez also received a first round bye for the Lancers. Following the bye Gonzalez pinned Salem’s (N.H.) Tanner Morgano (2:35) and reached the finals via a 5-0 decision against Avon’s Matt Bourgoin.
In the finals, Gonzalez faced Jonathan Law’s Kevin Brocksom and won with a 3-1 decision.
Following his first round bye Fernandez pinned both of his opponents to reach the finals against Mohonasen’s Jim Marx.
Fernandez pinned both Pomperaug’s Jake Samo (1:27) and East Hartford’s Oscar Souvannovong (4:25).
In the finals, Fernandez won via a 8-3 decision over Marx.
Barrett took on Marcello Ruiz of Xavier and pinned him at 1:47.
To reach the finals, Barrett pinned New Fairfield’s Colman Doucette at 2:07.
Barrett faced Pomperaug’s Tim Cocchiola in the finals and won via a major decision 14-6.
Beebe won his first match against East Hartford’s Francisco Garcia via a 7-1 decision.
To reach the finals, Beebe pinned his teammate Trent Thompson at 5:03.
Beebe pinned Avon’s Abhi Bhabad at 5:55 in the finals.
Champagne received a first round bye as well before pinning Xavier’s Vito Santarsiero at 1:38 then winning via a major decision 12-2 against Glastonbury’s Parker Sutton.
Fitch’s Jared Kosman beat Champagne’s via a 9-2 decision.
Bristol Eastern’s Justin Marshall faced the longest path to reach the finals.
Marshall won his first round match by pinning Jonathan Law’s Jack Lawless just 16 seconds into the match.
In the following round, Marshall pinned Plainville’s Alex Hernandez late in the first round at 1:36.
To reach the finals Marshall had to take on Mohonasen’s Zach Zuend and won via a 7-3 decision.
In the finals Marshall couldn’t pull it off against Tolland’s Michael Angers as he lost in a 3-0 decision.
Bristol Eastern’s Tom Nichols had a tough match against Terryville state champion Leclerc. While Nichols lost via decision 5-2 he battled tough and showed his potential as a freshman wrestler.
Other place finishers for Bristol Eastern were Trent Thompson, Noah Corliss, Noah Piazza, Tyler King, Dylan Levesque, Keegan Bartis and Hidekal Mangual.
Overall, there was much to be pleased with for the Lancers.
The Rams finished in 10th place in the tournament with 78.5 points.
Christopher Trelli was the only Bristol Central wrestler to make it to the finals in the 120-pound weight class.
Trelli topped Terryville’s Cayleb Leclerc via pin at 3:09.
“On my feet I was really dominant,” Trelli said. “Nobody was taking me down. I set the pace every match. I wrestled my match. I got my move in and got them reacting the way I wanted to make them react.”
Jake Aldi placed fifth at 106 pounds. Jason Feto placed fifth at 126 pounds; Caleb Buden was also in fifth place at 152 pounds. Mike Guzman placed fourth at 220 pounds and was pinned by Salem’s Beau Dillon at 1:55 in his third place match.
“Like I said it’s a tough tournament,” Bristol Central head coach Matthew Boissonneault said. “We have a lot to work on and we’re going to get back to work on Monday.”
The Kangaroos struggled as a group finishing 17th place with just 26 points.
Cayleb Leclerc was the wrestler to watch out for on Terryville and he finished in second place, losing in the finals to Bristol Central’s Christopher Trelli via a pin at 3:09.
“He did very well,” Veleas said. “I’m very proud of his effort today. He’s going to learn from this and get better so he can place at the state open at the end of the year, that’s the goal.”
As a team the Kangaroos were tested and it showed.
“We’re very young,” Terryville head coach Peter Veleas said. “It’s pretty much what I anticipated unfortunately.”
Leclerc was the only place finisher for the Kangaroos.
The Redcoats finished in 8th place in the tournament with 84.5 points, highlighted by Max Schlein’s pin of Mohonasen’s Matt Miller at 5:28 in the final round.
“To have four of our wrestler place in the top three was very exciting,” Berlin head coach Jim Day said. “We wrestled very consistently and hard throughout.”
Schlein and Dan Veleas were the two Redcoats wrestlers to take first place. Veleas faced Bristol Eastern’s Gabe Soucy in the finals and won by a 6-0 decision.
Noah Cintron finished second place to the Lancers Mason Lishness at 98 pounds.
Josh Veleas was third place in the 170 pound bracket for the Redcoats.
He beat Wethersfield’s Ben Cholewa in the final match via a pin at 1:47.
“It was just what we needed,” Day said. “These kids were able to get top notch competition during the day. Bristol Eastern’s here, East Hartford is a strong team; the Salem team from Mass is good. It was good all around.”
Plainville finished in 13th place as a team with 47 points.
“It was okay,” Soli said. ‘Some guys lost quicker than I expected but overall we did okay.”
Soli put on an impressive display of wrestling finishing in first place in the 126 pounds.
Soli won his final match by a 7-6 decision over Wethersfield’s Matt Laurie.
“I only beat him by one point,” Soli said. “I see him again in two weeks and it’s going to be the same thing. It could go either way.”
The final match between the two was back and forth but Soli stood strong.
“That was my toughest match of the year,” Soli said. “All my other matches have been pins or major decisions and he’s the first guy that gave me any resemblance of a match.”
The Blue Devils Alex Hernandez placed fourth at 152 pounds as the only other place finisher for Plainville.