BERLIN - Plainville wrestling tackled the CJ McCormack Wrestling Tournament Saturday afternoon, with expectations swirling the club exceeding where head coach Todd Krolikowski thought they'd be at this point in the season.
With the first week of the winter season now over, and Christmas break around the corner, the Blue Devils are getting their bearings back on the mats as they learn where they stand as a team after what happened last year.
"Expectations are just getting back into the swing of things. We've had no wrestling for over a year and I've got a lot of new kids, young kids that haven't wrestled," said Krolikowski. "I also have a few seniors that wrestled their freshman year but haven't wrestled since. I have a couple of kids who are experienced and are helping out big time with the new kids. The expectations are just getting back into the swing of things and getting better every day."
As a unit, Plainville wrestling finished fourth in the team points race, scoring 141 points. Two wrestlers, Joseph Kennedy (145 pounds) and Jeff Quirion La O (285) both worked their way to final matches in their brackets, ultimately winning each match.
Krolikowski pointed to a few wrestlers on this year’s team as being major parts to the team’s success, pointing out Kennedy, Alex Santini (195) and Gabe Hernandez (170) as motivators for the young team.
"Joey Kennedy, he's been wrestling since youth and has been helping out tremendously in the wrestling room. He's been working his tail off. Alex Santini, he's a big motivator and shows what you need to do and he grinds. Gabe Hernandez, he's one where he wrestled freshman year, took his sophomore year off and then COVID hit. He's been a mini coach and has helped out so many ways, and is helping adapt younger guys into better wrestlers."
Santini was one of two other wrestles to have worked his way to a final but lost in the final match of the day. Santini placed second at 195m falling to Foran’s Eliot Poffenberger in a 7-3 decision. Nicholas Dennis also wrestled to a final at 220, but lost to Berlin’s Nick Ebrahimi by fall. Hernandez lost his third-place match in a 5-1 decision, capping off a five match day.
All wrestlers for Plainville wrestled up a weight class on Saturday, per Krolikowski, and still yielded modest results. John Guzzardi (138) and Bobby Wright (285) each wrestled through consolations for a third-place match while four others found themselves working for a spot just off the podium in consolation.
With seven freshmen, one sophomore, three juniors and eight seniors, all with varying experience, Krolikowski feels the team is right where they need to be with now one meet and one tournament under their belts.
"Besides one or two kids, I think we're right where I thought we'd be,” said Krolikowski. “We have four kids in the finals, ... all of those kids have been working really hard and it shows. ... I think we're right there I thought we'd be."
Next up for Plainville is a dual on Wednesday against Maloney, with first match coming at 6 p.m. from Maloney High School.