Despite tough loss to open season, Newington wrestling sees positive signs of program moving in right direction

Published on Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:57


PLAINVILLE - If Wednesday’s dual meet against Plainville taught the Newington wrestling team anything, it was the Indians see the process of building up their program working.

Newington ended up losing to the Blue Devils 43-42, but when the match went to tiebreaking points. Overall, though, there were still some positives - such as getting four of the nine pins - as well as some issues that have to be address moving forward.

“We had two weeks to prepare and we tried to squeeze as much stuff in as possible, but we always seem to leave some things out,” Indians head coach Tony Nguyen said. “[Wednesday] tells me we have to work on the little things like fighting off our backs, getting better wrist controls, having better strategies and make statements to stay in.”

“But because we are a young team, I’m not looking for team wins or losses. I liked that our kids really like to wrestle and they put their hearts out there. Winning or losing doesn’t really matter to me as long as they put their heart out there.”

But while Newington might be one the younger side - the team doesn’t have a single senior on the roster and has just four juniors - the wrestlers aren’t using that as an excuse either. They believe they have a chance to be competitive in every match and meet this season, they just have to find the consistency both on the mat on meet nights and in the practice room.

“We really haven’t found our leadership yet,” said Newington junior Wyatt Bernard, who wrestled at 220 pounds on Wednesday. “But our team is out here to win. We’re not coming out here thinking we’re going to lose. I think a majority of us have a good mentally coming into matches. Of course some of us are nervous heading into matches, they over think it, but they really fight, even the ones that aren’t really skilled know they have to give it their all.”

Of course, the Indians had a chance to take control of the dual meet for good. Bernard pinned Travis Boone with 24 seconds left in the third period of the 220-pound match to put the momentum in Newington’s favor. Joe Amitan (285), Aidan Corriveau (106) and Duarte Cordeiro (113) then captured the next three by forfeit.

Then the 120-pound match occurred, which ended up changing the course of the meet. Plainville’s Dominic Pedrolini managed to pin Emilo Cruz with 14 seconds left in the match despite Cruz being up 3-8. The Indians dropped two of the final three matches leaving the meet up the tiebreaker.

“Our team’s motto is ‘let’s scrap for every little thing,’” Nguyen said. “It’s a message that hasn’t got through to the kids just yet, but we’re trying to get them to not give up those pins.”

Now, Newington just has to take this experience and move forward.

“This is definitely the right step,” Bernard added. “It’s kind of like last season, the guys who were getting pins were the same guys who were getting the wins. If we can get the guys who aren’t as skilled, get them step up, I think we can win some matches and not go 3-15 this year.”

David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:57. Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017 23:00.