MANCHESTER -- It was a tri-meet that the Burr and Burton Academy wrestling team has been looking forward to for more than a year.
History was made at BBA on Tuesday night when the wrestling team hosted its first home event since the program’s inception last year.
Coming into this year, members of the team -- particularly some of the six returning members from last year -- couldn’t wait for the day to come. And what a coming out party it was.
In front of a boisterous and supportive home crowd, BBA won the tournament -- a tri match -- outscoring Rutland 56-24 and Fair Haven 36 to 24.
Following the matches between Rutland and Fair Haven, BBA opened with an exhibition match between Torrie Saunders and Fair Haven’s Quinn Kimball who pinned Saunders with 30.1 seconds left in the first period.
BBA’s Russell Johnson -- who wrestles in the 220 weight class -- recorded the first home victory in the team’s history pinning his man in 50 seconds to pick up 6 team points.
"He’s probably one of the toughest kids on my team in terms of mental toughness and perseverance," said BBA coach Zach Monforte. "I couldn’t be happier with his performance. Š I couldn’t be happier for him."
Johnson also wrestled in the final match of the evening -- an exhibition against Rutland -- in which he showed tremendous grit in finishing following an apparent injury in the first period.
The Bulldogs Sean Armstrong (126 pounds) -- who had the only winning record last season -- won the second match of the night for BBA against Kimball.
After Armstrong jumped out to 5-0 lead in the first period, Kimball battled back in the second scoring four points on two reversals and a point via a penalty to outscore Armstrong 5-2 in the period. That’s as close as he would come though as Armstrong went on to win the match 8-6.
"He knows what’s at stake. He’s a senior, first year varsity wrestler," said Monforte. "He’s got a lot of work to do and I couldn’t be happier. He’s one of my captains Š He’s just growing as an athlete and a student athlete."
The Bulldogs Mario Marrero (160 pounds) earned the team another 6 points two matches later when he pinned Fair Haven’s John Russell.
Following a close first period in which Marrero came away with the 4-2 advantage, he extended his lead significantly in the second period with 2 points for a takedown and picking up 3 for the nearfall to jump out in front 9-2. Then -- up 11-2 in the third with 1:12 he pinned Russell to come away with the victory. Marrero also lost to Rutland’s Corey Black by Tech Fall 16-2 later in the evening.
"This is a kid that has just really grown as a wrestler," said Monforte. "[He’s] just doing the extra work; working tough, working hard. I mean, from day one knowing nothing about wrestling, note sure, and then coming out and wrestling for a crowd. Š He was nervous, but he wrestled the kid from Rutland tough."
BBA earned a total of 54 points though forfeit throughout the night -- 30 of which came when they squared off against Rutland.
The wrestling team will be back in action again on Wednesday, Feb. 5, when they travel to Fair Haven.