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Battista’s patience pays off in BC Invitational

Cranston East claims tournament title

BRISTOL, Jan. 6, 2001 — Patience and perservance served Plainville High’s Paul Battista well in his 145-pound championship in Saturday’s 20th annual Bristol Central Invitational.

Facing top-seeded Keith McGinley Cranston East (R.I.), Battista trailed virtually the entire match until he turned McGinley to his back with about 10 seconds left in regulation to earn a stunning 6-5 victory.

Battista was one of two local champions in the tournament. However, Bristol Central turned in a strong effort with six third-place finishers and 12 medalwinners to finish second behind Cranston East, which won its first BC Invitational championship.

Cranston East, which had four champions, won the tournament with 238 points with Central earning 170.5 points. Middletown finished a strong fifth with three wrestlers finishing second — Mike Mierzejewski (152), Damain Mierny (160), Matt Sugrue (171).

Newtown was third with 152 points with Ledyard (140.5), Middletown (139.5), Plainville (129.5) and Eastern (120) following. Terryville was 13th in the field of 15 teams with 30 points. Lewis Mills’ one-man team of Jeff Watson (130) earned four points and was 15th.

Eastern’s Paul Bergeron pinned Plainville’s Thanh Tran to win the 95-pound title.

Plainville had nine medalwinners including Tran and Bryan Pavlowitz (112), who each finished second. But Battista’s performance made Blue Devil fans smile widely.

McGinley, ranked second in a preseason New England website poll, led from the beginning with an early takedown. Battista tied the match on a reversal but McGinley’s reversal at the end of the first period gave him a 4-2 lead.

He carried that lead into the third period but Battista cut the lead to one when McGinley was penalized one point for stalling. With time running out, Battista was able to turn McGinley with the guillotine move for a three-point near fall and 6-4 lead. McGinley was able to slip away in the final seconds to cut the lead to one but Battista had his victory.

Cranston East coach Chris Tribelli nearly leaped onto the mat to protest Battista earning the near fall points, claiming that McGinley’s shoulders were not exposed to the mat.

“He was stronger than I was but I kept my cool,” said Battista, who improved to 16-0.

To throw a guillotine, a wrestler gets his legs entangled with his opponent’s legs. It’s not something that Battista does often.

“But that was something he left open so I took it,” he said.

Plainville coach Sean Kelly said that was probably one of the biggest wins he has seen in his seven years as Blue Devil coach.

“To come down and hit a guillotine in that situation against a kid of that caliber. That’s big,” Kelly said.

Central saw its bid for a fourth straight tournament title stopped but coach Pat Parente was pleased with his team’s effort that saw John Valenta finish second at 140 and Nick Therriault (112), Ryan McKenna (135), Joel Fulton (140), Corey Kozuch (145), Mike Drury (189) and Mike Croce (215) each finish third.

“We wrestled well as a team,” Parente said. “We always preach that its not champions that win tournaments but the kids that wrestle back (in the consolation round).”

And Central did it minus two starters out with injuries — Joe Kapacziewski, who didn’t wrestle again after winning one match at 135 and Matt Crampitz (125).

Valenta, a first-year wrestler, lost to defending State Open champion Allyn Quibble in the 140 final, 18-3.

Bergeron won a title for Eastern while Kevin Martin (119), James Martin (189) and Aaron Hunter (275) each finished second. Kevin Martin lost a tough 5-0 decision to Cranston East’s Ruben Rey, who became the second wrestler in tournament history to win four straight titles.

Rey said the match was his most challenging BC final. The only other four-time BC Invitational champion was Terryville’s Diego Quintero from 1989-92.

Middletown had a rough time in the finals going 0-for-3 but the Dragons had eight medalwinners and wrestled well in the tournament.

Warzecha had an impressive 7-6 win in the semifinals over Ryan Schkoda of Cranston East, rallying from a 5-1 deficit to earn the win. Warzecha’s takedown in the final five seconds was the key. He also had a strong 7-4 win over Central’s Ryan McKenna in the quarterfinals.

“We’re getting better,” Dragon coach Mark Fong said.

East Catholic’s Chris Scheinberg (130) earned the outstanding wrestler award after his 5-3 OT victory over top-seeded Nick Feola of Newtown. Scheinberg also had a tough 2-1 victory over Marquis Brewster of Cranston East in the semifinals.

Cranston East, one of the top three teams in Rhode Island, had six wrestlers in the finals and has now won three straight tournaments this season. Central finished second to the Bolts a week ago at the Keene, N.H. Invitational.

20th annual Bristol Central Invitational
At Bristol
Team results — 1. Cranston East, R.I., 238, 2. Bristol Central 170.5, 3. Newtown 152, 4. Ledyard 140.5, 5. Middletown 139.5, 6. Plainville 129.5, 7. Bristol Eastern 120, 8. Harwood Union, Vt., 90, 9. Jonathan Law 82.5, 10. Fair Haven, Vt., 72, 11. East Catholic 64, 12. Frontier Regional, Mass., 38. 13. Terryville 30, 14. LaSalle, R.I. 22, 15. Lewis Mills 4, 16. Thomaston 0
Individual results
95 pounds: Championship — Paul Bergeron (Bristol Eastern) pin Thanh Tran (Plainville), 4:13; 3. Nick Newell (Law).
103
1. Alex Rey (Cranston) dec. John Read (Newtown), 6-0
3. Jesse Cavallaro (Plainville) dec. Ryan Lavoie (Bristol Eastern), 3-0
5. A.J. Boi (Bristol Central) pin Chris Whitney (Frontier), 0:18
112
1. D.J. Colardo (Cranston) dec. Bryan Pavlowitz (Plainville), 10-2
3. Nick Therriault (Bristol Central) pin John Dietler (Newtown), 1:43
5. Steven Lisitano (Middletown) dec. Ben Chesbro (Fair Haven), 9-5
119
1. Ruben Rey (Cranston) dec. Kevin Martin (Bristol Eastern), 5-0
3. Matt Sullivan (Newtown) pin Chris Scibelli (Middletown), 0:43
5. Vito Barbagallo (Plainville) dec. Pat Fanelli (Bristol Central), 7-2
125
1. Louis Felix (Cranston) dec. Jason Miele (LaSalle), 11-3
3. Lincoln LeFebvre (East Catholic) pin Jerry Mals (Plainville), 2:09
5. Dan Vela (Ledyard) def. Joe Kapacziewski (Bristol Eastern), default
130
1. Chris Scheinberg (East Catholic) dec. Nick Feola (Newtown), 5-3, OT
3. Marquis Brewster (Cranston) dec. Jamie Mertin (Middletown), 9-1
5. Brandon Scottie (Cranston JV) dec. Justin Mals (Plainville), 8-1
135
1. Dan Maley (Newtown) pin Adam Warzecha (Middletown), 3:02
3. Ryan McKenna (Bristol Central) dec. Ben Potter (Frontier), 8-0
5. Ryan Schkoda (Cranston) dec. Warren Sainz (Ledyard), 6-2
140
1. Allyn Quibble (Ledyard) dec. John Valenta (Bristol Central), 18-3
3. Joel Fulton (Bristol Central JV) dec. Rich Meyst (Middletown), 9-3
5. Dave Rossi (Cranston) dec. Martin Mead (Fair Haven), 13-8
145
1. Paul Battista (Plainville) dec. Keith McGinley (Cranston), 6-5
3. Corey Kozuch (Bristol Central) dec. Dan Fortner (Ledyard), 6-3
5. Kegger Griffith (Harwood) dec. Andrew Stash (Law), 11-1
152
1. Ken Gennett (Law) dec. Joe Gateman (Ledyard), 5-3, OT
3. Mike Mierzejewski (Middletown) dec. Kevin Parente (Bristol Central), 10-5
5. Jeff Dubord (Terryville) pin Danny Rivera (Plainville), 1:52
160
1. Steve Selezan (Newtown) dec. Damain Mierny (Middletown), 3-2
3. Joe Greene (Fair Haven) pin Adam Dubour (Law), 0:49
5. Adam Collins (Ledyard) dec. Kevin Ehlert (Cranston), 7-6
171
1. Tim Durand (Harwood) pin Matt Sugrue (Middletown), 0:17
3. P.J. Rodman (Ledyard) pin Tyler Miles (Newtown), 1:49
5. Bill Charillo (Bristol Central) def. Ryan Johnston (Frontier) default
189
1. Jay LaVanway (Harwood) pin James Martin (Bristol Eastern), 2:55
3. Mike Drury (Bristol Central) dec. Jan Vezikou (Cranston), 6-4
5. Jose Salgado (Law) pin Jeff Hamer (Frontier), 1:54
215
1. Joe Bushey (Fair Haven) dec. Matt Cuccio (Cranston), 14-9
3. Mike Croce (Bristol Central) dec. Eric Carbone (Bristol Eastern), 6-4
5. Brian Reed (Harwood) pin Fred Johanns (East Catholic), 5:08
275
1. Mark Ruzbarsky (Law) pin Aaron Hunter (Bristol Eastern), 1:46
3. Phil Rothkugel (Plainville) pin Tom Kao (Cranston), 2:51
5. Chris Porrini (Bristol Central) dec. Mark Tackett (Ledyard), 3-2
Outstanding wrestler — Chris Scheinberg (130), East Catholic
Fast fall — Tim Durand (171), Harwood Union, 4 pins in 2:31

Editor’s note: This is the first game story published at Connecticut Wrestling Online in January 2001.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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