PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 3 – There were no cheering crowds to inspire Foran-Milford’s Ryan Luth to keep running and working on conditioning on hot, fall afternoons or cold, winter mornings. There were no enthusiastic fans surrounding the mat during those sweaty afternoons in the wrestling room at Foran.
Still, Luth kept his nose to the grindstone.
That extra work paid off when Luth won a second straight New England championship Saturday night at 152 pounds at the Providence Athletic Center with a 3-2 victory in triple overtime. He was one of two Connecticut wrestlers to capture back-to-back championships.
“It’s why we train all of the time,” Luth said. “It’s what we do in practice so when the time comes you have the strength to push through.”
Southington junior Paul Calo (170), who lost in the Class LL finals in OT and lost by two in the State Open final, won his second consecutive New England title with a dominating 9-0 win over Sam Anderson of Sanford, Maine.
Luth and Calo were among six Connecticut wrestlers to bring home New England titles. Fitch’s Jarod Kosman completed an undefeated season with a New England title at 113 while Danbury’s Ryan Jack (120), New Milford’s Mel Ortiz (126) and Hand’s Michael Burchell (285) also brought home New England championships.
With three medalists, defending New England champion Danbury was the top team from Connecticut in third place with 75 points. Ponaganset, Rhode Island, which won their first-ever state title a week ago, had two individual champions and a strong third place finish from Tyler Riggs (195) with three victories in the consolation round to win their first-ever New England title.
Ponaganset outlasted Mt. Anthony, Vermont, 83-80 to win the title. After Danbury (75), Timberlane Regional in Plaistow, New Hampshire and Bishop Hendricken in Rhode Island were a distant fourth with 58½ points.
Southington finished eighth with 47½ points with Fitch taking ninth (45½), Killingly finishing eleventh (39) and New Canaan (38) taking 12th place.
Luth (52-2) wasn’t tested too hard before he reached the final against Devin Rivet, the three-time Rhode Island champion from Bishop Hendricken. Luth had a pin, a technical fall over Suffield’s John Nieroda in the semifinals and a 7-1 win over New Hampshire champion Justin Berube of Timberlane in the quarterfinals.
Luth got the first escape of the match with 1:48 gone in the second period and he knew it might be a crucial point. “That’s why I chose down in the second period (to escape) so if there was an ultimate rideout (in overtime), I would have choice,” he said.
In the third overtime, the wrestler that scored the first point of the match gets to choose if he will be on the bottom or on the top in the 30 second session.
Rivet tied the match with an escape of his own with just 10 seconds gone in the third period to tie the match at 1-1. Luth defended an excellent takedown attempt from Rivet at the edge of the mat with about 30 seconds left in the first OT.
Both scored a point in the second OT period to tie the score at 2-2. In the third OT, Luth chose down. If he escaped he would win. If Rivet rode him out for 30 seconds, he would win. They fought hard but Luth escaped with nine seconds left in the match for the 3-2 victory.
“It feels great,” Luth said. “I wanted to close out the season right.”
Southington’s Paul Calo (170) has yet to win a State Open championship. But he already has two New England championships under his belt. Calo (52-3) lost to Danbury’s Gino Baratta in the Class LL finals in overtime, 2-1. At the State Open for the second straight year, Calo lost to Xavier’s Ryan Devivo, 6-4.
“(That loss to Devivo) made me hungrier,” Calo said. “I just wanted to get better and better because I knew I could win this. I worked on my moves and got my conditioning up.”
Devivo and Baratta both lost in the quarterfinals at the New Englands while Calo four straight bouts to earn a spot in the finals including a 6-3 victory over New Hampshire champion Dan Curran of Conval in the semifinals. Calo beat Rhode Island champion Jacob Harrison of LaSalle Academy in the quarterfinals, 14-3.
“When he wrestles smart, there isn’t anyone he can’t beat,” Southington coach Derek Dion said.
At 113 pounds, Fitch High’s Jarod Kosman completed an undefeated season (52-0) with his first New England championship. Kosman beat Kyle Randall of Newtown North, Mass., 10-8. Randall beat the Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont champion to earn a spot in the final. Kosman beat Massachusetts champion Max Leete of Danvers, 7-1 in the semifinals.
In the final, Kosman had a 7-4 lead after two periods. Randall cut the lead to one with a two-point reversal just 17 seconds into the third period, 7-6 but Kosman escaped and got a takedown with 52 seconds left to extend his lead to four points, 10-6.
Danbury’s Ryan Jack (120) won his first New England championship with a 3-1 victory with a takedown with three seconds left in regulation. Jack (40-4) beat Massachusetts champion Jack Darling of Masconomet.
Jack tied the match at 1-1 with an escape with 1:50 left in the third period. He patiently waited for an opportunity to get a good shot for a takedown before converting with three seconds left in regulation.
“I don’t know what he was waiting for,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook said. “That kid was real long and he got in on that (one deep takedown attempt that Jack successfully fought off). But (Jack) got it done and that is what matters.”
Jack said Darling’s height made him a tough competitor. “He was a very long competitor and obviously knew what he was doing in netural,” Jack said. “I had to try to move him and get my shots. I really don’t know how I did it.”
Jack battled through a tough overtime match in the semifinals with a 5-3 OT victory over Bristol Central’s Chris Trelli.
Jack joins his older brother, Kevin, as a New England champion. Kevin won a pair of New England titles in 2013 and 2014.
At 126 pounds, New Milford’s Mel Ortiz prevailed in an All-Connecticut final with a 12-10 victory over New Canaan freshman Justin Mastroianni. Ortiz (48-3) won despite hurting his knee in the semifinals.
“It was a really, really dynamic match and (Ortiz) knows how to win,” New Milford coach Chris Piel said. “He built a big enough cushion to do that. He has been gutting it out the entire tournament.”
Nothing was easy for Ortiz with a three-point win in the first round, a four-point win in the quarterfinals and a 3-2 win over New Hampshire champion Hayden Brown of Exeter in the semifinals.
Mastroianni (44-5) beat Massachusetts champion Cole Wyman of Brockton in the semifinals, 12-5. “(Mastroianni) had a fantastic semifinal,” New Canaan head coach Paul Gallo said. “He just dominated. He took him down four times and pulled away to win it. He is on top of his game right now.”
In the finals, Ortiz led 4-2 after one period and 11-6 after two. In the third period, Mastroianni cut the lead to two points with 33 seconds remaining but Ortiz was able to ride out the match to win the New England championship.
Connecticut’s other champion was Hand’s Michael Burchell, who pinned Ryan Higgins of Billerica, Mass., in the final at 285 pounds in a quick 41 seconds. Burchell (29-0) finished the season undefeated with two pins in the tournament.
“That was an amazing victory against a very tough kid that we were nervous about. We didn’t expect it that quickly,” Hand coach Michael Docker said. “But Michael made it happen. He wrestled to win.”
Burchell had to rally to beat Dante Delbonis of LaSalle Academy in Rhode Island in the semifinals, 8-7 in double OT. Burchell had to come from behind to force OT.
“He was very tough in the semifinal,” Docker said. “It was an amazing come-from-behind win. He showed a lot of heart and determination. He got turned to his back (for the first time all year) but he fought back to get to the final.”
Six Connecticut wrestlers finished third – Bristol Central’s Chris Trelli (120), Danbury’s A.J. Kovacs (145), Granby’s Cooper Fleming (152), Tolland’s Michael Angers (160), Xavier’s Ryan Devivo (170) and Killingly’s Zach Caffrey (182).
Eight state wrestlers took fourth by making the consolation final — Simsbury’s Ty Finn (106), Windham’s Alejandro Garcia (113), Westhill’s William Chase Parrott (120), New Canaan’s Tyler Sung (138), Danbury’s Gino Baratta (170), Platt High’s Ben Stratton (182), New London’s Jacob Commander (195) and Fitch’s Dakota Grover (220).
Individual championships from Sam Lynch (138) and Cole McGill (145) helped Ponaganset win their first New England championship.
“It feels amazing,” Ponaganset’s third-year head coach Mike Joyce said. “The kids worked really hard and they deserved it. The great thing about the sport of wrestling is that if you work harder than everyone else, you will triumph. That came true today.”
Three men were inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame — Connecticut’s Gerry deSimas, Jr., the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online, Maine’s Martin Ryan and Massachusetts’ Patrick Coleman.
Ryan was a high school administrator from Kennebuck and Wells High School for 30 years. He co-founded the Atlantic Invitational in 1980, was a regional meet director for 33 years and the state tournament meet director for 25 years. He is the executive director of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrative Association. (MIAAA).
Coleman was a long-time coach at Newton North High from 1972-83 and Norton High for 12 years. He won over 406 matches and two Division III state titles. He is a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
2018 New England championships
At Providence, R.I.
Team results (top 10) – 1. Ponaganset, R.I. 83, 2. Mt. Anthony, Vt. 80, 3. Danbury 75, 4. Timberlane-Plaistow, N.H. 5. Bishop Hendricken, R.I. 58½, 6. Coventry RI 49½, 7. Nashoba MA 48, 8. Southington 47½, 9. Fitch-Groton 45½, 10. Danvers MA 45
106: Final — Hunter Adrian, Melrose MA dec. Joziah Fry, Coventry RI 2-1, OT; 3. Jake Craig, Skowhegan ME dec. Ty Finn, Simsbury 14-4; 5. Dan Charron, Killingly pin Mike Glynn, Central Catholic MA 2:31.
113: Final — Jared Kosman, Fitch dec. Kyle Randall, Newton North MA 10-8; 3. Maximilian Leete, Danvers MA by forfeit over Alejandro Garcia, Windham; 5. Hunter Verge, St. Johnsbury VT dec. Parker Sutton, Glastonbury 4-2.
120: Final — Ryan Jack, Danbury dec. Jack Darling, Masconomet MA 3-1; 3. Christopher Trelli, Bristol Central dec. William Chase Parrott, Westhill 2-1; 5. Joshua Cote, Noble ME pin Barret Kappler, Timberlane NH 4:26.
126: Final — Mel Ortiz, New Milford dec. Justin Mastroianni, New Canaan 12-10; 3. Hayden Brown, Exeter NH dec. Joey Valentino, North Andover MA 4-3; 5. Sean Johnson, Ellis Tech dec. Cole Wyman, Brockton MA 13-6.
132: Final — Connor McGonagle, Timberlane NH dec. Ramazan Attasauov, Wayland MA 3-0; 3. Ryan Garlitz, St. John’s Prep MA dec. Cesar Alvan, Ludlow MA 9-2; 5. Seth Brown, Coventry RI dec. Demetre Carnot, Maloney 7-0.
138: Final — Sam Lynch, Ponaganset RI dec. Dylan Disano, Bishop Hendricken RI 5-2; 3. A.J. Pagliarulo, Bedford dec. Tyler Sung, New Canaan 3-1, OT; 5. Shaun Wagner, Southington dec. Matt Ryan, Trumbull 3-1.
145: Final — Cole McGill, Ponaganset RI dec. Noah Strout, Oyster River NH 6-3; 3. A.J. Kovacs, Danbury pin Tommy Jaklitsch, Boston College MA 0:58; 5. Brevin Cassella, Nashoba MA dec. Keegan Coon, Mt. Anthony VT 6-5.
152: Final — Ryan Luth, Foran dec. Devin Rivet, Bishop Hendricken MA 3-2, 3 OT; 3. Cooper Fleming, Granby dec. Tyler Burgess, Mt. Anthony VT 3-2; 5. Justin Berube, Timberlane NH dec. John Nieroda, Suffield 4-3.
160: Final — Lucas Cordio, Nashoba MA dec. Colby Holland, Danvers MA 11-4; 3. Michael Angers, Tolland dec. Tristen Cabinta, Salem NH 3-1; 5. Izaake Zuckerman, Fairfield Warde pin Ahmad Sharif, Putnam MA 2:05.
170: Final — Paul Calo, Southington dec. Sam Anderson, Sanford ME 9-0; 3. Ryan Devivo, Xavier dec. Gino Baratta, Danbury 7-2; 5. Dan Curran, Conval NH by default over Joe Vecchione, Chelmsford MA
182: Final — Ryan Fredette, Winslow ME pin Tommy Wrzesien, Chariho RI 4:32; 3. Zach Caffrey, Killingly by forfeit over Ben Stratton, Platt; 5. Josh Bechen, Catholic Memorial MA dec. Vinnie Holmes, Mansfield MA 10-4.
195: Final — Sam Wilkins, Mt. Anthony VT dec. Malib Pastrana, Greater Lawrence MA 7-2; 3. Tyler Riggs, Ponaganset RI dec. Jacob Commander, New London 4-3; 5. Joe Gjinaj, Fairfield Warde pin Travis Manick, Methuen MA 2:02.
220: Final — Andrew Marshall, Lincoln-Sudbury MA pin Omar Eldaly, Shawsheen MA 1:05; 3. Nick Johnson, Milton VT pin Dakota Grover, Fitch 2:07; 5. Nick Cote, Bethel dec. Mattuez Kudra, North Attleborough MA 11-6.
285: Final — Michael Burchell, Hand pin Ryan Higgins, Billerica MA 0:41; 3. Dante Delbonis, LaSalle Academy RI pin Jakob Peavey, Erskine Academy ME 1:33; 5. Calvin Hayford, Mt. Anthony VT pin Duncan Wilgress-Pipe, Nashoba MA 1:43.
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Ryan Fredette, Winslow, ME (182).
Most Outstanding Finals Match: 138 pounds, Sam Lynch, Ponaganset RI dec. Dylan Disano, Bishop Hendricken RI 5-2.
BRACKETS: 2018 New England championships