By GERRY deSIMAS, Jr.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
GLASTONBURY, Feb. 24, 2001 -- Eric Carbone's season mirrored the campaign for the Bristol Eastern wrestling team this winter. The team, like Carbone, never really got healthy. While the effort was always there, injuries always served to slow down the progress of the Lancers.
But in the end, the team and Carbone shined. The Lancers had an impressive fifth place finish in the recent Class L tournament that they hosted and qualified four wrestlers for the State Open championships.
Carbone turned in an impressive performance at this past weekend's State Open wrestling championships, finishing sixth at 215 pounds and going home with a medal.
He wasn't the only area wrestler to bring home a medal. Plainville's Vito Barbagallo, who finished third in the Class S tournament, had an outstanding tournament to finish fourth at 119 pounds, earning him a trip to the upcoming New England championships on March 2-3 in Derry, N.H.
Injuries caught up to Carbone's teammates at the Open. Kevin Martin, who finished second in Class L at 119 last week, withdrew after cracking a rib in his 6-3 loss to Fitch's Chris Coppolo in the final. Kevin Martin finished 26-3.
James Martin (189) lost his two matches at the Open and broke his ankle in the second. Steve Beecher (275), a first-year wrestler, didn't get hurt but lost his two matches.
Carbone began the season slow after a bruising football season.
But he finished with a flurry with a 23-5 record and an 8-6 overtime win over rival Michael Drury of Central in the regular season finale. Carbone finished fourth in Class L to earn a berth in the Open.
At the Open, he caught a break when one of the three wrestlers in Class L did not enter the tournament due to an injury and he became the third seed from Class L.
Carbone beat the Class M runner-up, Graham Sisbarro of Bunnell, 9-5 and then beat Class S champion Tom Andaore of Bacon Academy, 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Carbone never trailed but when it got close down the stretch, Carbone had the strength to prevail.
In the semifinals, Carbone faced Windham's Andre Diaz, who finished third in Class M. Diaz had upset the Class LL champion. But Diaz controlled Carbone in a 10-5 victory.
Carbone, who finishes the season 28-10, ran out of gas in the consolation round, losing a pair of matches by pin.
"Eric had a good tournament," Eastern coach Jason Krueger said. "To come in fourth in L and then finish among the top six in the Open is a pretty good accomplishment."
"Eric wrestled the way he has all year but did it a little better in the tournament," Krueger said.
PORRINI SCORES FOR BC: Chris Porrini earned the only win for Bristol Central in the tournament, beating Derby's Chris Graham in double overtime, 7-5.
Tied after six minutes of regulation and a scoreless one minute overtime, Porrini reversed Graham in a first round consolation round victory.
But Hand's L.J. Spinnato, the Class M champion, who eventually finished fourth eliminated Porrini in the next round.
Porrini's first loss was a tough 1-0 decision to defending Open champion Aaron Trusty of Berlin in the first round.
Bristol Central only had two wrestlers in the tournament. Michael Drury, who finished third in Class LL at 189, was weakened after being sick all week. He dropped his first two matches.
Kevin Kozikowski (130), who had finished fourth at the Class LL championships, didn't wrestle at the Open because he was overweight.
"It was a good year," Central coach Pat Parente said. The Rams had six medal winners at the Class LL meet where they finished seventh and they set a new single-season school record with 23 wins.
At the Class LL meet, Frank Rossi (160), Dom Gagliardi (171) and Mike Croce (215) each finished sixth while Drury was third and Porrini and Kozikowski each took fourth.
EACH DEVIL WRESTLER GETS A WIN: All five of the wrestlers that Plainville had in the tournament had at least one win.
Barbagallo (119) finished 3-2 with three wins in the consolation round, including a pair of wins over Jamie Ascone of Danbury (third in Class LL) and Pat Newkirk of NFA (second in Class LL). Barbagallo was pinned in the consolation final by Class M champion Luis Murillo of Platt in 1:34. Murillo also beat Barbagallo in the quarterfinals, 17-1.
Plainville's Jesse Cavallaro (103), Bryan Pavlowitz (112), Paul Battista (145) and Phil Rothkugel (275) each were 1-2. Pavlowitz, who finished fifth in Class S, entered as an alternate.
DANBURY WINS TITLE: In the first team scoring at the State Open since 1975, Danbury had seven medalwinners and two champions, Scott Day at 189 and Steve Scott at 145, to claim the team championship.
The Hatters, who have been ranked No. 1 all season, had 127 points for a 31-point victory over neighboring Bethel, the Class M champion, with 96 points.
Southington was third with 90½ points while Berlin was fourth with 70.
Eastern finished tied for 43rd with seven points in the field of 62 teams while Central was 60th. Plainville finished 25th with 23 points.