NEW BRITAIN - Although itâ€™s still summer, the New Britain wrestling team already has its eyes on the future.
Many of New Britainâ€™s wrestlers have been putting in the work during this yearâ€™s offseason, including competing in the Nutmeg Games wrestling tournament.
With over 150 participants registered, the Hurricanes entered 10 kids.
â€śThey did excellent,â€ť New Britain wrestling coach Jordan Jacquo said. â€śA lot of them have been spending a lot of time practicing and itâ€™s finally showing now. The matches they were losing during the season, theyâ€™re winning now. Theyâ€™re coming back and beating a lot of the kids they lost to before.â€ť
Seeing such improvement from the wrestlers gives Jacquo a positive outlook for whatâ€™s to come this season.
â€śItâ€™s awesome to see the improvement that theyâ€™ve made,â€ť Jacquo said. â€śTheyâ€™re here wrestling, theyâ€™re practicing really hard and theyâ€™re getting better and winning matches.â€ť
Jacquo appreciates the hard work the kids have been doing, along with their commitment to the sport.
â€śA lot of the time it has nothing to do with the coaches,â€ť Jacquo said. â€śIt has to do with what the kids have inside them, to push themselves harder and harder. Itâ€™s my job to make sure they have someone in their corner when they start hitting walls. Itâ€™s great to see their hard work, it has nothing to do with me, itâ€™s all them.â€ť
Having the Nutmeg Games in the summer gives wrestlers and opportunity to see how much theyâ€™ve grown since their season has ended. It also gives new wrestlers and opportunity to compete in a tournament setting for the first time.
Twin brothers Isahus and Angel Maldonado are both rising seniors on New Britainâ€™s wrestling team, however they are both in very different spots of their wrestling careers.
Isahus has been wrestling for the last two years.
â€śI did pretty good today,â€ť Isahus said. â€śI lost my first match, ended up winning my second and losing my third during the 106-pound weight class. Overall today was a great experience. I got to see a lot of new faces and a lot of old faces too. Just being an environment, where everyone enjoys the same sport as you is pretty cool.â€ť
Angel however, was just introduced to the sport of wrestling.
â€śI just started this summer,â€ť Angel said. â€śItâ€™s fun, aggressive and competitive. Iâ€™ve wanted to get into wrestling since I was a sophomore, but when I moved I couldnâ€™t really get into it. But I have a lot of friends that wrestle and Iâ€™m happy Iâ€™m doing it now.â€ť
Isahus and Jacquo are on the same page when it comes to the Hurricanesâ€™ upcoming season.
â€śI hope we get top three in our conference again,â€ť Jacquo said. My goal is number one, we missed out last year, so Iâ€™m hoping that this season we get it. Weâ€™re returning a lot of veterans, so Iâ€™m hoping they all come back and come out on the right foot.â€ť
Isahus wants to end his high school career on a high note, hanging a Class LL banner in the gym.
Other than wanting to be number in the CCC-West, Jacquo also wants to make top 10 in the state.
â€śThe top 10 ranking is something that New Britain has never done,â€ť Jacquo said. â€śItâ€™s something that I hope we can accomplish this year. Last season, we ended up getting votes for it, but not enough to be in the top 10. But this season is going to be the season they kick it off right.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org