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Danbury, Killingly, Xavier, Newtown, Canton, Gilbert bring home tourney titles

GROTON, February 9, 2019 – A year ago, the Killingly High wrestling team won the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship over Montville by a ½ point.

No. 10 Killingly did it again this year but they had a little more breathing room. With three individual champions and 10 medalists, No. 10 Killingly won their second straight ECC title with a 205½-186½ win over Waterford. Ledyard (175 points) finished third with Montville (161) taking fourth.

Killingly coach Rich Bowen credited his wrestlers winning matches in the consolation round which gave the Redmen the advantage. Two Killingly wrestlers finished third and two finished fifth.

New London had three individual champions – led by Jacob Commander, who won at 182 pounds and became the sixth wrestler in ECC history to win four consecutive league championships.

Waterford’s Logan Smith beat Killingly’s Mike Charron for the championship at 113 pounds and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

Watch the entire ECC Tournament finals from The Day.com.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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No. 1 Danbury won the FCIAC Tournament for the 32nd time in 33 years in New Canaan. The Hatters had 14 wrestlers earn a medal by placing in the top six of their respective weight class.

Danbury (257) beat No. 4 Trumbull (200) with No. 5 Fairfield Warde (177), Staples (131) and Brien McMahon (124) rounding out the top five teams.

Danbury had four champions and eight finalists. Ryan Jack (126), Kyle Fields (132), Kai O’Dell (106) won titles for the Hatters with Liam Bryne winning the unofficial 99 pound weight class that isn’t factored into the team scoring.

Trumbull had three individual champions – Joe Palmieri, Travis Longon and Jack Ryan. It was Trumbull’s best finish since taking second place in 2016. It’s the first top five finish for Staples since 2004.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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The Xavier High wrestling team has logged a lot of miles this winter competing in tournaments in Vermont, Virginia and New York. That work paid off Saturday as the Falcons turned in a dominant performance to win the Southern Connecticut Conference title for the seventh time in the last eight years.

No. 8 Xavier, which won the SCC Division I title, won the team championship with 199½ points with Foran second with 138½ points. East Haven (101) was a distant third.

Xavier went 6-for-6 in the finals with Michael Rapuano (106), Tommy Manganiello (126), Quinn Moynihan (138), James Lunt (145), Dylan Sousa (170) and Jameel Salami (285) winning championships.

Salami won in overtime while Rapuano, Moynihan and Sousa won by pin.

Jonathan Law’s Shayne McCourt won a title at 152 pounds with a technical fall over Sean Zentner of Fairfield Prep, 19-4 and earned Outstanding Wrestler honors.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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Canton won the NCCC Tournament for the third year and clinched their first league championship since 2002.

Canton put 11 wrestlers into the finals to win the North Central Connecticut Conference tournament for the third straight year and clinched their first NCCC title since 2002. Two wrestlers won for the Warriors, who had all 14 wrestlers finish in the top four of their respective weight classes.

Canton beat Suffield/Windsor Locks, 200½ to 177. Freshman Ethan Titus (106) won a title for Canton while teammate Brian Connolly won his second NCCC title in three years.

Bolton’s Kaleb Carlson pinned Suffield/Windsor Locks’ Matthew Raine in the finals at 152 and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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In the Southwest Conference, Newtown’s Joe Zeller got a takedown with time running out to earn a major decision and lift the Nighthawks to a one-point win over Joel Barlow and the SWC championship.

It was the final match of the tournament and Newtown needed to win to take the title. A regular decision would have tied the tournament but a major decision (winning by 8 to 14 points) would give Newtown four points and the title.

Zeller’s last second takedown gave him a 9-1 win over Brookfield’s Rich Mitchell in the championship match at 285 pounds.

Newtown beat Joel Barlow for the championship, 137-136. It was the tightest match in tournament history and gave Newtown their first league championship since 2015. Joel Barlow finished second for the second consecutive year.

Joel Barlow had hoped to grab the championship. The Falcons went 3-1 in the finals with Carson LiCastri (182), Josh Brault (106) and Charlie Prather (113) winning. Ben Bai (220) was seeded fourth and upset top-seeded Sam Mathena of Pomperaug in the semifinals but couldn’t beat Brookfield’s Adam Frain.

Newtown lost their first three matches in the finals by decision before Zeller picked up the win in the final match to lift the Nighthawks.

Nik Accousti (132) lost to Bethel’s Eamon Tolland-Matos, 6-4 in OT; Fritz Maurath (145) dropped a 6-1 decision to Masuk’s Curtis Fedorko and Andrew Sayers (152) dropped a 4-1 decision to Masuk’s Jason Lobdell.

LiCastri won outstanding wrestler honors for Barlow.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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Gilbert celebrates a second straight Berkshire Valley championship on Saturday in Winsted.

In the Berkshire Valley Invitational, comprised of teams in the Berkshire League and Naugatuck Valley League, Gilbert had six individual champions and eight finalists as they won the fifth annual Berkshire Valley tournament for the second straight year with a 203-153½ win over Northwestern.

Nonnewaug (128 points) was third with Terryville finishing fourth (70½). Oxford was the top Naugatuck Valley League school in the tournament in fifth place with 65½ points. By beating all of the Berkshire League schools in the tournament, Gilbert also clinched the BL championship for the second straight year and seventh time overall.

“We all came ready to fight, ready to battle and ready to raise another banner,” said Gilbert senior Nick Barber (138 pounds), who won his second straight Berkshire Valley tournament title with an 8-4 win over Northwestern’s Marco Folino.

Northwestern’s Angelo Folino had two pins and beat Nonnewaug’s Colden Williamson by technical fall (15 points or more) in the finals at 126 pounds to become the first wrestler to win four Berkshire Valley Invitational championships.

Results: Saturday, February 9

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 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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