BRISTOL, February 12, 2020 – Both teams came into Wednesday night’s CCC South championship match undefeated in the league. Both had lost their first matches of the season on Saturday and both were in the top 10 of the latest Connecticut Wrestling Online state poll.
The stands had a few more people in them than usual and there was an energy of excitement in the Charles Marsh gym on the Bristol Central campus before the host Rams and cross-town rival Bristol Eastern met for the 60th time on the wrestling mat with the CCC South title on the line.
No. 7 Bristol Central has steadily improved over the past few seasons and was wrestling the Lancers with the league title on the line for the first time since 2012.
No. 5 Bristol Eastern showed they had no intention of stepping aside. The Lancers won 10 of the first 11 matches to beat Central, 49-15 and win their ninth CCC South championship in the last 10 years. Eastern (12-1, 6-0 CCC South) has captured the last four CCC South titles.
Central (22-2, 5-1 CCC South) was looking for their first conference title since 2010. Eastern has won 10 straight matches in this rivalry that began in 1963 and it is the longest streak by either team.
Both teams were dealing with injuries and sickness. “I asked some guys to step up and what they did was a big deal,” Eastern coach Bryant Lishness said. The Lancers had four wrestlers move up a weight class to fill out the lineup and all four – Cameron Cruz (138), Tommy Nichols (145), Dylan Piazza (170) and Tyler Gleifert (182) – won their matches.
Eastern also came away with the close victories. Mason Lishness (120) outdueled Central’s Jake Aldi, 3-1 thanks to a reversal with 48 seconds left. Logan Morelli (106) used a takedown early in the third period to outlast Andrew Beaucar, 6-4 and Nick St. Peter (285) beat Eric Facey, 4-3.
“Some of those matches were very close,” Lishness said. “We were lucky. We controlled them and they went our way. I thought the (final) score would be closer.”
Eastern led by as many as 43 points with a 46-3 lead at one point late in the match.
“We need to be more aggressive,” Central coach Matt Boissoneault said. “They did an excellent job of controlling the mat in several matches.”
It was a rough start for the host Rams when senior captain Colton Pelletier (113) broke his collarbone less than 30 seconds into his match with Eastern’s Trent Thompson and had to retire. For Thompson, it was his 100th varsity victory.
Lishness beat Aldi at 120 to give Eastern a 9-0 lead before Aaron Morocho (126) beat Central’s Jack Leone by a tech fall to extend the lead to 14-0.
Central got on the board when Jason Leto (132) got a reversal with 32 seconds left to beat Josiah White, 8-6 to cut the lead to 14-3. But Eastern won the next seven matches, with a pair of pins in less than a minute, to seize control of the contest.
Both teams will be at the CCC Small Division tournament this Saturday at Bristol Central and compete at the Class L tournament the following weekend, also at Central.
NOTES – How big a match was this? There was a second referee assigned to be a backup official – something usually seen just in the final two rounds of the CIAC championship meets.
It was the seventh time since 1997 that the two teams have met with the league title on the line. Central has won four of the seven matches but their last win over Eastern came in 2010. … The all-time series between the two schools is now tied at 28-28-2.
Bristol Eastern 49, Bristol Central 15
At Bristol (Central)
113: Trent Thompson (BE) win by injury default over Colton Pelletier; 120: Mason Lisnhness (BE) dec. Jake Aldi, 3-1; 126: Aaron Morocho (BE) tech fall Jake Leone, 18-2, 0:35; 132: Jason Feto (BC) dec. Josiah White, 8-6; 138: Cameron Cruz (BE) dec. Chris Oscuh, 13-4; 145: Tommy Nichols (BE) dec. Matt Duquette, 18-5; 152: Alex Marshall (BE) pin Umar Malick, 5:38; 160: Logan Morelli (BE) dec. Andrew Beaucar, 6-4; 170: Dylan Piazza (BE) dec. Matt Beaucar, 10-3; 182: Tyler Gleifert (BE) pin Jacob Boucher, 0:40; 195: Logan Meyer (BE) pin Jeff Labbe, 0:43; 220: Jakob Salinas (BC) forfeit; 285: Nick St. Peter (BE) dec. Eric Facey, 4-3; 106: Will Hamilton (BC) forfeit
Records: Bristol Eastern 12-1, 6-0 CCC South; Bristol Central 22-2, 5-1 CCC South