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Bristol Eastern wins third straight Class L title by a razor-thin margin of a 1/2 point

Bristol Eastern celebrates after beating Simsbury by a half point to win their third straight Class L championship. (Photo courtesy Bristol Eastern High)

BRISTOL, February 16, 2019 – The Bristol Eastern wrestling team can win the close ones. The Lancers beat Simsbury by a ½ point on Saturday to win their third straight Class L championship.

It is the slimmest margin of victory ever in the Class L tournament and it is just the second time in state history that a CIAC tournament has come down to a ½ point. Berlin beat Bunnell by a half point in 1991 to win the Class M championship.

Two years ago, Eastern beat New Milford by one point to capture the Class L championship.

On Saturday, Eastern had three individual champions and went 3-0 in the consolation finals for third place, including a crucial 7-1 win by Mason Lishness over Simsbury’s Alex Kasson at 113 pounds. In the tournament, Eastern went 4-1 in head-to-head matchups with Simsbury.

“It was crazy, definitely stressful,” Bristol Eastern coach Bryant Lishness told “I was just super proud. We had seven guys get to the medal rounds trying to qualify for the (State) Open and we went six-for-seven. That was humongous.”

Simsbury went 3-0 in the finals but went 1-3 in the consolation finals, dropping one-point decisions at 138 and 152 pounds. The Trojans were 2-0 in the fifth place bouts.

The frustration for Simsbury is they can look all over the tournament and see where one point or one win here or there could have been the difference.

When Eastern looks at the tournament, they will see at least one victory from all 14 wrestlers in the lineup and 19 pins. One more loss by the Lancers would have opened the door for Simsbury but it didn’t happen.

“We win as a team and lose as a team so you can’t blame one person,” Simsbury coach T.J. Silva told “We wrestled really well today with qualifying nine for the State Open and three (individual) champs. It’s a tough pill to swallow but we’re going to set our eyes on the (State) Open.”

This tournament wasn’t just a battle between No. 2 Simsbury and No. 4 Bristol Eastern. There were four teams ranked in Connecticut Wrestling Online’s most recent top 10 poll including No. 7 Xavier and No. 8 Middletown.

Xavier wasn’t far behind with 194 points in third place with two champions and five finalists. Middletown, with a pair of champions, was fourth with 153 points. New Canaan – also with two champions – finished sixth with 146½ points.

New Canaan’s Tyler Sung won his second straight Class L title at 145 pounds while New London’s Jacob Commander earned his second straight state title with a win at 182 pounds. He won a Class M title at 195 a year ago.

Bristol Eastern had a lead of 1½ points – 183 ½ to 182 – over Simsbury when the final round of wrestling began. The championship mats were in the middle with the consolation final (third place) and fifth place bouts on the outside mats.

Simsbury’s Ty Finn (120), John Mairano (126) and Samuel Bergin (160) won championships. Finn beat New London’s Naaji Powell-Keyton, 7-2 while Mairano rode a three-point near fall with 1:01 left in the third period to outlast Middletown’s Kalil Shabazz, 5-4. Begin pinned New Canaan’s Christian Sibbett in 2:52 to win.

Eastern’s Trent Thompson lost to Xavier’s Michael Rapuano in the final at 103 but the Lancers’ Tom Nichols (132), Justin Marshall (152) and Trinidad Gonzalez (220) brought home championships.

Nichols beat Xavier’s Grant Barber in the final, 5-1 while Justin Marshall brought home his second straight Class L title with a 15-5 win over New Canaan’s Nate Sibbett. Gonzalez won his third consecutive Class L crown with a 7-3 win over Wethersfield’s Austin Harnish and his victory clinched the title for the Lancers.

Along with Lishness’ key win over Kasson to finish third at 113, Eastern’s Alexander Marshall got a key escape with 41 seconds remaining to beat South Windsor’s Dan Sullivan, 3-2 in their consolation final at 145 pounds, while Noah Piazza (160) pinned New Milford’s Richard Morrell in 3:39 to finish third.

Without Alexander Marshall’s one-point victory or Piazza’s pin, the Lancers don’t win the championship. Don’t forget that Piazza won in double overtime over E.O. Smith’s Ben Holden to get to the consolation final in the first place.

NOTES: Simsbury was looking for their first state championship since 1997. This was Eastern’s fourth state championship. The Lancers won their first state title in 1996 with a Class L crown. New Canaan’s Sung was voted the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

2019 CIAC Class L championships
At Bristol Central
Team results – 1. Bristol Eastern 204½, 2. Simsbury 204, 3. Xavier 194, 5. Middletown 153, 5. New Canaan 146½, 6. Wethersfield 135, 7. New London 98, 8. Bristol Central 97, 9. Hand 96, 10. Fairfield Ludlowe 88, 11. Newington 78, 12. New Milford 74, 13. South Windsor 73½, 14. RHAM 72, 15. E.O. Smith 62, 16. Maloney 54, 17. Pomperaug 52, 18. Notre Dame-West Haven 50, 19. Fitch 34, 20. Farmington 32, 21. Cheshire 18, 22. Wilton 12, 23. Windsor 9, 24. Naugatuck 7, 25. Darien 3.
Individual results
106 pounds
Final: Michael Rapuano (Xavier) dec. Trent Thompson (Bristol Eastern), 10-5
3. Evan Lindner (New Milford) dec. Will Hamilton (Bristol Central), 7-5
5. Joseph Mastroianni (Pomperaug) dec. Zackary Kanaitis (RHAM), 7-2
113 pounds
Final: Elijah Cyr (Middletown) pin Jake Aldi (Bristol Central), 1:58
3. Mason Lishness (Bristol Eastern) dec. Alex Kasson (Simsbury), 7-1
5. Jacob Pressler (Fairfield Ludlowe) pin Maximus Mannino (Wilton), 1:37
120 pounds
Final: Ty Finn (Simsbury) dec. Naaji Powell-Keyton (New London), 7-2
3. Bryce Arnold (Wethersfield) dec. David Jutcawitz (Pomperaug), 4-1
5. Logan Kanaitis (RHAM) forfeit over Kyle Davern (Daniel Hand)
126 pounds
Final: John Mairano (Simsbury) dec. Kalil Shabazz (Middletown), 5-4
3. Peter Coniglio (New Milford) pin Eliano Cruz (Newington), 3:12
5. Antonio Nicholas (Fairfield Ludlowe) dec. Tommy Manganiello (Xavier), 8-4
132 pounds
Final: Tom Nichols (Bristol Eastern) dec. Grant Barber (Xavier), 5-1
3. Saul Pera (Simsbury) dec. Quin Rogers (E.O. Smith), 5-0
5. Jason Feto (Bristol Central) dec. Jacob Zotti (Newington), 17-3
138 pounds
Final: Justin Mastroianni (New Canaan) dec. Matt Laurie (Wethersfield), 13-2
3. Austin Robertson (Fitch) dec. Andrew Oken (Simsbury), 3-2
5. William Oulundsen (South Windsor) dec. Quinn Moynihan (Xavier), 11-9
145 pounds
Final: Tyler Sung (New Canaan) dec. James Lunt (Xavier), 9-1
3. Alexander Marshall (Bristol Eastern) dec. Dan Sullivan (South Windsor), 3-2
5. Colby Urban (E.O. Smith) forfeit over Ian Mounts (Middletown)
152 pounds
Final: Justin Marshall (Bristol Eastern) dec. Nate Sibbett (New Canaan), 15-5
3. Ryan Maleryn (RHAM) dec. Carter Sirois (Simsbury), 4-3
5. Ryan Miner (Xavier) dec. Kody Talento (Maloney), 6-4, 3 OT
160 pounds
Final: Samuel Bergin (Simsbury) pin Christian Sibbett (New Canaan), 2:52
3. Noah Piazza (Bristol Eastern) pin Richard Morrell (New Milford), 3:39
5. Luke Tischio (Xavier) dec. Ben Holden (E.O. Smith), 5-0
170 pounds
Final: Dylan Sousa (Xavier) dec. Alec Arnold (Wethersfield), 9-0
3. Cooper Nodden (South Windsor) dec. Thomas Murray (Fairfield Ludlowe), 11-0
5. Seamus Moriarty (Daniel Hand) pin Ethan Grous (E.O. Smith), 3:34
182 pounds
Final: Jacob Commander (New London) pin Nick Debaise (Maloney), 1:59
3. Stan Godlewski (Fairfield Ludlowe) dec. Alex Barbour (Notre Dame-West Haven), 9-8
5. Marcus Nieves (Wethersfield) dec. Aidan Lozada (Newington), 2-1, 3 OT
195 pounds
Final: Alec Dube (Daniel Hand) pin Sergiy Babenkov (New Canaan), 3:12
3. Wyatt Bernard (Newington) dec. Nick Thompson (Wethersfield), 2-1, OT
5. Jakob Salinas (Bristol Central) pin Jacob Toth (Middletown), 4:47
220 pounds
Final: Trinidad Gonzalez (Bristol Eastern) dec. Austin Harnish (Wethersfield), 7-3
3. Erik Dubon (Middletown) pin Keeano Gonzales (New London), 3:56
5. Tommy frank Guilfoyle (Simsbury) dec. Matt Derken (Daniel Hand), 10-7
285 pounds
Final: Nygell Smikle (Middletown) pin Jameel Salami (Xavier), 3:10
3. Jadien Mackenzie (New London) pin Eric Facey (Bristol Central), 1:22
5. D’sean Martin (Simsbury) pin Jerel Pollard (Windsor), 3:51
Outstanding wrestler: Tyler Sung, New Canaan (145)
Brackets on Flo


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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