MIDDLETOWN — Middletown High’s young wrestling team is getting better.
The Blue Dragons, who have 11 underclassmen in the starting lineup, came from behind to beat Bristol Central 40-34 in a Central Connecticut Conference South Division match at Keigwin Middle School on Thursday evening to improve to 8-7.
Central (9-4) took an early lead — the match started at the 138 pound class — and led 21-4 after five matches. But things began to turn when Andrew Smikle pinned Orlando Baldwin in 35 seconds in the 182-pound class to cut the lead to 21-10.
The Dragons then got a forfeit at 195 pounds and pin from Jake Toth at 220 over John Duncan to give Middletown a 22-21 lead.
Central’s Mike Guzman pinned Nick Dejesus at 285 pounds to give the Rams a temporary 27-22 lead, but a forfeit at 106 and consecutive pins by Eli Cyr at 113 and T.J. Pawlak at 119 gave MHS an insurmountable 40-27 lead with two events left.
“This was good win for us,” said Middletown coach Mark Fong. “I have a very, very young team. Sometimes we don’t do as well as we hoped in a match or two, but in many cases they’re first-year wrestlers and they’re doing the best they can.
“I was really happy with Toth, Smikle, Cyr and Pawlak tonight. They all wrestled very well. We’re improving, we’re better and better each week and we want to keep the kids in the program and keep progressing next year and the year after that.”
Central coach Matt Boissonneault also has a young team.
“I thought we wrestled pretty well,” he said. “We’re a young team and we had to move some younger wrestlers up a bit as we were missing a couple of kids. We’re similar to Middletown in that our most experienced kids are in the 106-138 classes, so we tried to move up a little bit and got some early pins, which helped to make this a very competitive meet.”
After Middletown’s Tito Pusz opened the night with an 11-0 major decision to give MHS a 4-0 lead, Central got pins from Joey Frechette at 145 and Andrew Mahaffy at 152. When the Rams’ Andrew Beaucar won an 8-5 decision over Shyheim Lespier at 160 and Damian Mahaffy pinned Jake Bowen at 170, Central’s early strategy paid off with a 21-4 lead.
But Central paid later as Middletown dominated the rest of the match.
Central won the final two contests, a 16-3 major decision at 126 by Chris Trelli and a 3-0 decision in a tough match at 132 pounds by Jason Feto over Ryan Conklin to make the final score 40-34.
Middletown will hold a quad meet beginning at 4:30 Friday, hosting Shelton, New London and South Windsor.