SOUTHINGTON - In convincing 69-6 fashion, Southington wrestling took down Enfield on Wednesday night but the Blue Knights’ coach was not totally satisfied with his wrestlers’ performances.
Being just the first match of the season, Southington coach Derek Dion explained that practice time has been limited so there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We haven’t done a lot of technique,” he said. “We had to save a lot with the football players coming in late. We’re putting our moves together. We haven’t done a lot on the top or bottom yet. It’s just a matter of putting technique together, getting a little better every week [and] hopefully getting them prepared by the end of the year to tighten things up a little bit.”
What little time the Blue Knights have had, they have been focusing on getting up off the bottom. For Dion, that is one of the most important techniques on the mat.
“We’ve been working on getting off the bottom. Basically that’s [all] we’ve been working on,” Dion said. “I knew the rest was going to be sloppy. But I want them to be able to get out from on bottom. That’s really important so you can extend the match so, when the opportunity does arise, you’ll still be around. If you don’t get out on bottom, you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities.”
The biggest example of that work paying off was at 195 pounds, when Southington’s Cole Brock fought back from multiple points down to earn a 9-8 decision at the final horn.
On their way to 69 points in the match, the Blue Knights picked up 10 wins by pin, which was a good indicator to their coach.
“We were trying to teach them to really dictate the tempo and let out feet really dictate the positioning,” Dion said. “I thought they did an OK job with that today but we have a lot of things to work on and a lot of technique to tighten up.”
Wednesday’s match was an opportunity for some of the second-string Southington wrestlers to get some varsity experience. The Blue Knights are still without a few key wrestlers so Dion was happy to see his replacements have success and make an impact.
“I thought they did pretty well, the kids that were out there,” he said. “[We] just try to get the kids in the right weight classes. I still have three or four kids not in the lineup yet so hopefully we can get Julian back in the lineup and maybe Richie Rivera and keep working. I thought [Rich] Zayas did a great job up there. So did Starr up top and Cole Brock, coming back, did a great job stepping in there for us. We all have work to do.”
While their coach still sees plenty to work on, the wrestlers were very happy with their results on Wednesday, glad to see the work they have already done show on the mat and are looking forward to getting back to work.
“It meant a lot because we were really trying to get after it in the pit every day so it really paid off to win,” Southington’s Alex Rodrigues said. “Everybody was satisfied, I’d say, even whoever lost. They’re going to go back in the pit and they’re going to work a little more. It shows that we’re putting in the time and we’re putting in the work in the room and we’re getting after it out here.”
There are stronger teams that Enfield coming up on the schedule for Southington, especially this weekend at the Waterford Tournament, so the Blue Knights are looking forward to truly seeing how they stack up against some stiff competition.
“Hopefully this weekend we get a little better gauge,” Dion said. “We’ve got Simsbury coming up next week and they’re a really good team in the league. We’ve really got to tighten up our technique. But it’s a process. It’s a year-long process that we’re just starting. Hopefully, we started off on the right foot and just get better every day.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30