WRESTLING: Maloney slays the Dragons on Senior Night

MERIDEN — The Maloney wrestling team hosted the Middletown Blue Dragons on Wednesday and ended the night with a dominant 63-12 CCC South victory on Senior Night.

The win brought the Spartans’ record to 20-12 as Middletown fell to 7-13.

Maloney coach Angel DeJesus was happy with the way his team performed, but wishes Middletown had a fuller lineup. The Blue Dragons forfeited four matches.

“It’s unfortunate they didn’t have a full lineup, but it’s understandable; some teams are bigger than others,” DeJesus said. “For Senior Night, my kids were looking forward to this match and they went out there and performed very well.”

Seniors Alexia Reyes, Jeremiah Rodriguez, Jordan Marchitto, Samantha Wiley, Deshaun Williams, Richard Alonso, Moises Hernandez and Luis Delgado were all celebrated before the match.

Then Rodriguez, Williams, Alonso and Delgado won their matches.

“They all went out there,” DeJesus said. “Unfortunately, Jeremiah got a forfeit victory, so he didn’t get a match. Other than that, everyone else went out there and they all had fun out there and did well.”

The night began at 106 pounds, where Maloney freshman Logan Gagne earned a 9-4 victory over Middletown’s Josh Ramos. Gagne took a 4-2 lead with a pair of first-period takedowns, escaped in the second to go up 5-2.

Gagne began the third on top, but Ramos got within a point with a reversal with a minute remaining. Gagne was awarded a point on the ground as Ramos was called for locking his hands. The two stood up with 22 seconds left and Gagne recorded a third takedown, closing out the match 9-4.

The Blue Dragons forfeited the next three weight classes — 113, 120 and 126 — producing victories for Jeremiah Rodriguez, Nick Rodriguez, and Daren Johnson and putting Maloney ahead 21-0.

The match at 132 featured Maloney’s Robert Taylor against Middletown’s Jeremiah Riberio.

Riberio recorded the first points with a takedown, but Taylor earned four points with a reversal and nearfall toward the end of the period.

After a few fouls on Riberio for hand-locking and a few nearfalls, Taylor led Riberio 10-5 going into the third period. Riberio earned another takedown, but was quickly reversed as Taylor went up 12-7, eventually winning 14-11.

Next up, Maloney’s Ezequiel Acevedo faced Derek McMahon. The Blue Dragons earned their first points on McMahon’s second-period pin.

At 145, Maloney’s Kevin Moreno earned the first pin victory for the Spartans with 1:04 left in the second period.

A forfeit victory for Saleem Saleh at 152 put Maloney up 36-6.

At 160, Maloney senior Richard Alonso got off to a 3-0 lead with a takedown and foul called on opponent Sean McCall. Alonso extended his lead to 6-0 with a nearfall toward the end of period one.

Alonso controlled McCall all of the second period and, with seven seconds left, earned a pin.

“I’m really happy and very proud of myself; I can’t even put it into words,” Alonso said. “I’m just really happy with how we performed on Senior Night.”

The match at 170 was close. Middletown’s Mohammed Niyazi shot for an early takedown on Maloney’s Caleb Sweeney, but the only point scored in the first period was an illegal use of hands on Niyazi.

Sweeney extended his lead to 2-0 as he escaped in the first 10 seconds of the second period. He recorded the first takedown of the match with a minute left to go up 4-2. Quickly after being taken down, Niyazi reversed position and got his first two points.

Niyazi cut the score to one by earning an escape in the first 45 seconds of the final period. A takedown late in the third, though, was the icing on the cake for Sweeney, as he earned a 9-3 victory and put Maloney up 45-6.

The 182-pound class featured two of the best wrestlers as Moises Hernandez faced Middeltown’s Jesse Baldwin. The score was dead even at 0-0 after the first period. Baldwin scored the first points with an escape in the second period and extended his lead to 3-0 with a double-leg takedown before pinning with 24 seconds remaining in the period.

“Middletown over the past few years has been very dominant,” DeJesus noted. “They’re a young team. Their two kids at 182 and 138 pounds are place-winners, so I told my two guys Ezekiel and Moises to go out there, have fun, wrestle smart and they showed that.”

The 195 match between Maloney’s Deshaun Williams and Kayshawn Tatum was much like the one at 182, with a score of 0-0 after 1. Williams started off on bottom position to begin the second period and quickly got to his feet for a 1-0 lead.

Williams settled in, secured a takedown and quickly earned a pin victory with a minute and some change left in the second period.

“I was thinking this is gonna be rough, then I moved around and got the feeling of my opponent and felt good,” said Williams. “It felt amazing. I was so happy that this was my last match at Maloney in my first year wrestling and I got the win.”

At 220, Maloney senior captain Luis Delgado stepped onto the mat with a cast on one hand, but earned a double-leg takedown in the first 10 seconds. He gave up a point as he let Kayshawn Tatum up back to his feet before earning another takedown, which resulted in a pin seconds later.

“I felt more comfortable getting a takedown on him and, you know, I tried to get something from there,” Delgado said. “I struggled a little on the bottom, but I got him down again, and put on a show for the crowd.

“It felt good winning on Senior Night,” he added. “You know, the last match here at home. It just felt really good to win in front of my family.”

The big boys faced off at 285 to close it out. Middletown’s Zaikwan Hill recorded a takedown, but got reversed into a pin by Maloney’s Mohammed Abdelghani in the first minute to cap the 63-12 victory.

Next up for Maloney are the CCC Championships in Glastonbury this Friday and Saturday. Next Wednesday, it’s Maloney at Platt before the state tournaments.

“For the next couple of matches coming up, we’re going to touch up on everything that we went over from the last month to the beginning of the season,” DeJesus said. “I want to touch up on everything and get it installed in our head because after this Platt match, they’re on their own. They won’t have to worry about team points; it’ll be individual matches.”


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