NEWINGTON - A pair of late pins earned Newington wrestling its first team win in nearly two years as it protected its home mats and squeaked out a one point win over New Britain.
The Hurricanes led 30-19 entering the final two matches of the night before juniors Seamus Oates and Vincenzo Prevti picked up first-period pins to get their team the necessary 12 points to win 31-30.
“I’m not sure [Prevti] knew how much we were down, but he wrestled tough and hit the kid with a headlock and got us the pin and the win,” Newington head coach Tony Nguyen said.
The Nor’easters won six of the 10 bouts wrestled Wednesday night with four wins coming by pin along with one major decision. New Britain benefited from two Newington forfeits to snag a quick 12 points, but failed to supplement those free points with its performance on the mat.
“I think that we wrestled tough,” New Britain coach Jordan Jacquo said. “Most of our guys were able to stay out there for six minutes even when they were out-classed a little.”
Already trailing 6-0 after forfeiting at 113 pounds, junior Jacob Perez tied the match for Newington in the 126-pound bout by pinning New Britain sophomore Zurial Roman in the first period. Senior Eric Maldonado answered back for the Hurricanes in the 132-pound match with a second-period pin against Dylan Anctil. Maldonado already led his match 5-0 at the time of the pin and captured the win with a forceful takedown in the second period.
Sophomore Tyler Mangene picked up another first-period pin for Newington and tied the team scores at 12-12. Mangene won the 138-pound match over New Britain senior Basil Abusalin to add six points to his team’s total after less than two minutes of wrestling.
Gabe Alvarez and Jordi Balducci faced off in the first match of the day to last all six minutes. Balducci gave the Nor’easters its first lead of the day with a 9-3 victory in the 145-pound match, in which he attacked early to score four points in each of the first two periods.
An assertive third period gave Newington senior Eliano Cruz a major decision over New Britain’s Jeremy Castillo at 152 pounds. Leading 5-0 after two periods, Cruz added four points in the final two minutes to take a 9-1 win over Castillo, giving the Nor’easters a 19-12 team lead.
“His opponent was tough,” Nguyen said. “[Cruz] was trying a lot different moves to try to get us to pin, but he couldn’t get the pin, but he wrestled his heart out and got us the win.”
The Hurricanes strung together wins over the next four matches to retake the lead starting with a 6-1 win for junior Luviss Offarill over Newington junior Zachary White at 160 pounds. The match was scoreless after the first period, but Offarill landed three takedowns over the rest of the match to get the win.
Michael Nunez quickly added six more points for New Britain by pinning Aiden Pereira in the first period of the 170-pound match. The win gave the team lead back to the Hurricanes 21-19. With four matches remaining.
At 182 pounds, Jereil Cesareo added three more points to New Britain’s lead and gathered his first ever win in varsity wrestling with a 7-4 decision over Newington freshman Marcus Brown. Cesareo led 6-0 after two period, but did not let two late takedowns from Brown impede him from getting his first victory.
“In my first match, I couldn’t even get up without falling down and this time I’m the one who got up and brought him down,” Cesareo said.
A forfeit from Newington at 195 pounds made the Hurricanes’ lead 30-19 with two matches remaining, meaning the Nor’easters needed pins in both bouts to get the team win and they did just that. Oates earned a hard-fought pin the first period against New Britain junior Maurice Eason in the 220-pound match and was shortly followed by Prevti, who needed less time to dispatch of Jeremy Ramirez in the heavyweight match to give Newington the one-point win.
Up next for the Hurricanes is the South Windsor New Year’s Classic Duals at 9 a.m. on Saturday at South Windsor while the Nor’easters will travel to Amity for matches against Amity, Bethel and New Haven Wrestling.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.