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BRISTOL, Feb. 11, 2006 – Just when you thought that the wrestling teams from Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern couldn’t wring out any more drama and tension from their 44th annual cross-town meeting, they did.

No. 8 Bristol Central won the last three bouts, including a pair of one-point decisions at 215 and 275 pounds to beat No. 6 Bristol Eastern, 29-27 in a thrilling, emotional match before 800 fans at Central Saturday afternoon.

The win gave Central (24-2, 6-0 CCC South) its first league title since 1999. Eastern (19-7, 4-2) was one win shy of earning a share of the title with Central and Southington.

“There were so many highs and lows,” Central coach Brian Archibald said. “It was a classic Eastern/Central bout.”

Eastern looked it would prevail after C.J. Chaika (171) pinned Central’s Derek Fournier with a headlock in 1:32 for a 27-20 lead with three matches left. It was the sixth win in seven bouts by the Lancers and three of those wins were by pin.

Central cut the lead to four, 27-23 when senior Matt Dabrowski (189) outlasted Eastern’s Justin Dionne, 10-3 thanks to five takedowns.

At 215, Central’s John Madievic hit a reversal with 16 seconds left to earn a 3-2 victory over Ryan Carbone and cut the Lancer lead to one, 27-26.

At 275, Eastern’s Mario Paparuzzu (275) was penalized one point for stalling (backing up) with 41 seconds left in a 2-1 loss to freshman Tim Chambers, who had tied the bout with an escape with 1:41 left in the third period.

Chambers had been pinned by Paparuzzu in January’s Bristol Central Invitational.

Central took a 14-0 lead by earning 14 of the first 16 takedowns in the match and sweeping the first four bouts. Central junior Chris Lombardi (112) outlasted Eastern freshman Vinny Spinelli, 7-2, who was wrestling with 13 stitches in his knee.

At 125, Eastern sophomore Jordan Dess sank a takedown with 43 seconds left in regulation to force OT. But Central senior Greg Labbe won the bout, 6-4 after hitting an OT takedown.

But then Eastern rallied to win six of the next seven bouts. Max Saglimbeni (130), Nick Capoti (135) and Chaika (171) had pins for the Lancers. Capoti’s victory was dramatic because Central’s Mike Lydon had Capoti on his back for over 1:15 in the second period but Capoti refused to yield and survived.

In the third period, Capoti caught Lydon and pinned him in 5:03.

The only Central win in the Eastern surge was a pin by senior Jesse Conrad (152) of Eastern’s Eric Sassu. Without that pin and those six points, there would have been no dramatic comeback for Central.

“As a team, we got it done today,” Archibald said. “It was awesome.”

Bristol Central set a new school record for most wins in a single season. The match, originally scheduled for Saturday night, began at noon due to the forecast for heavy snow beginning Saturday night.

Dramatic victory lifts Central past Eastern, 29-27
Bris. Central 29, Bris. Eastern 27
At Bristol Central
103 pounds – Zach Schriener (BC) dec. Nick Niman, 12-2; 112 – Chris Lombardi (BC) dec. Vinny Spinelli, 7-2; 119 – Chris Malenfont (BC) dec. Brian Martin, 14-6; 125 – Greg Labbe (BC) dec. Jordan Dess, 6-4 OT; 130 – Max Saglimbeni (E) pin Shea Conlon, 2:22; 135 – Nick Caputi (E) pin Mike Lydon, 5:03; 140 – Nick Tenan (E) dec. Andrew Cyr, 8-2; 145 – Todd Krowlikowski (E) dec. Jared Dantley, 10-6; 152 – Jesse Conrad (BC) pin Eric Sassu, 5:52; 160 – Italo Marino (E) dec. Ryan Goodine, 7-5; 171 – C.J. Chaika (E) pin Derek Fournier, 1:32; 189 – Matt Dabrowski (BC) dec. Justin Dionne, 10-3; 215 – John Madievic (BC) dec. Ryan Carbone, 3-2; 275 – Tim Chambers (BC) dec. Marco Paparuzzu, 2-1
Records: Bristol Central 24-2, 6-0 CCC South; Bristol Eastern 19-7, 4-2

Central vs. Eastern
by the numbers
Series began: 1963. Central leads 24-18-2
Biggest win: 48 points, Central 55, Eastern 7, 1985
Closest win: 1 points
Central 32, Eastern 31, 2003
Last 14 years
2005: Eastern 48, Central 12
2004: Eastern 50, Central 18
2003: Central 32, Eastern 31
2002: Central 41, Eastern 13
2001: Central 42, Eastern 22
2000: TIE, 31-31
1999: Central 58, Eastern 12
1998: Central 31, Eastern 25
1997: Eastern 51, Central 21
1996: Eastern 48, Central 14
1995: Eastern 40, Central 22
1994: Central 39, Eastern 25
1993: Eastern 51, Central 14
1992: TIE, 33-33