NEW FAIRFIELD, February 2, 2019 – The echoes of the celebration hadn’t dimmed as the Simsbury High wrestling team reveled in their victory over No. 3 Southington on Thursday night, 38-31. The win put No. 6 Simsbury in the driver’s seat to win their first CCC West championship since 2015.
Simsbury erased an 18-point deficit and won it with a pin in the final match. Simsbury coach T.J. Silva was thrilled. He smiled but he also had an eye on additional challenges for his team. “We hope to get a shot at No. 2 Bristol Eastern on Saturday in New Fairfield,” he said.
Simsbury got their wish facing the Lancers in the championship match. The Trojans led by 18 points with five matches to go but Eastern rallied, winning four straight bouts to tie the match at 30-30. In the final match, Simsbury’s Ty Finn (120) pinned Riley McCarthy to lift the Trojans past Eastern, 36-30.
Simsbury won the New Fairfield Duals and handed Bristol Eastern (15-1) their first loss of the season. The Trojans also snapped Eastern’s school-record 51 match winning streak dating back to the 2016 season. It’s the fourth longest winning streak in state history.
It should be an interesting Class L tournament at Bristol Central on February 15-16 where Eastern is the two-time defending champion and Simsbury (14-4) hopes to win their first state championship since 1997.
In the championship match, it was a tight battle with four bouts being decided by one point. Simsbury won four of the first six matches against Bristol Eastern to take an early 21-6 lead with John Mairano (126) and Aiden Brown (138) picking up big pins.
Pins from Sam Bergin (160) and Brett Araniti (182) along with a one-point win by Ryan Guilfoyle (192) over Eastern’s Ethan Mathieu gave Simsbury a 30-12 lead with five matches remaining.
But Bristol Eastern (15-1) rallied with four straight wins to tie the match at 30-30. Trinidad Gonzalez (220) and Trent Thompson (106) each won by pin. Eastern’s Nick St. Peter (285) beat D’Sean Martin, 2-1 and Eastern’s Mason Lishness (113) outlasted Alex Kasson, 2-1 to tie the match.
Simsbury beat Nonnewaug, 69-9, Westhill, 54-19 and Londonderry, N.H., 71-6 to earn a spot in the final while Eastern beat host New Fairfield, 72-6 and Bethel, 72-6 in their pool.
Killingly won five matches to finish the year with 26 wins, the second-most victories in a single season for the Redmen. Killingly (26-2) set a school record last year with a 31-2 record.
Killingly beat No. 9 Foran, 44-30 and Greenwich, 42-27 on Saturday along with wins over Amity, Stratford and Notre Dame-West Haven.
The five victories gave long-time head coach Rich Bowen his 600th career victory. He is just the second coach in state history to achieve that milestone.
Middletown won the Matt Bishel Bobcat Classic at Bacon Academy for the third time and the first time since 2015. Eli Cyr (113), Khalil Shabaz (132), Jake Toth (195) and Nigel Smile each finished first for the Dragons, who had six finalists.
Canton beat Griswold, 39-31 to win four times at the Four Corners Duals in Canton. The Warriors, who beat Granby, 66-6, to clinch their first North Central Connecticut Conference championship since 2002, also beat Derby and Morgan.
The Warriors finish the regular season with a record of 20-3 and 7-0 in the NCCC. It’s the third time in team history that Canton has won more than 20 matches and the first time since 2009 when they were 20-11.
Victories in the finals from Josh Brault (106), Walter Alvarez (120) and Carson LiCastri (182) helped Joel Barlow outlast East Haven and capture the third annual Lawman Invitational by 2½ points – the closest margin of victory in tournament history. Barlow earned 181 points with East Haven with four finalists and two individual champions taking second with 178½ points.
With five individual champions and nine finalists, Roger Putnam Vocational out of Springfield dominated to win the first Stafford Invitational tournament with a 230-170 win over Haddam Killingworth. The Cougars had two individual champions – Cameron Hines (106) and Aidan Maher (220) – and six finalists.
Somers’ Domonic Zuccalo (285) tied a state record for fastest pin by pinning Connor Bengston of Thomaston/Holy Cross/Litchfield in four seconds in the consolation semifinals of the Stafford Invitational on Saturday.
Zuccalo joins five other wrestlers in state history with pins in four seconds. The most recent was Montville’s Nick Tibbetts (220), who had a four second pin in 2017.
Zuccalo went 3-1 in the Stafford Invitational and finished third. He had three pins (0:39 seconds, 0:04 seconds, 1:07) on the day.