DANBURY, February 26 – From the outside, it looks like a well-oiled machine. The Danbury High wrestling team goes to tournaments around Connecticut and New England and continues to have amazing success.
But it wasn’t that easy. Hall of Fame coach Ricky Shook had a diverse team with extraordinary talent like junior Ryan Jack, ranked No. 4 in the country at 126 pounds, wrestlers such as Jordan Agostino (285), who only wrestles during the traditional wrestling season, and several rookies in the varsity lineup.
“I haven’t had to coach this much in a long time,” Shook admitted at Saturday’s State Open championships. “We had to teach a lot of stuff. And it’s every day. But they work hard in practice and they picked it up.
“My team wasn’t very good at the beginning of the season but we got really good as the year went on,” he said.
The Hatters are in familiar territory. Danbury was the unanimous choice at the No. 1 team in the final Connecticut Wrestling Online top 10 wrestling poll in voting by coaches and members of the media.
And with seven members of the Hatters qualified to wrestle in this weekend’s New England tournament, Danbury will be in contention for a third New England championship.
Jack (126) won his third straight Open title while Kyle Fields (132) won his second Open title in three years. Agosto (285) finished second while Montez Osbrey (195) finished third and Ben LeBlanc (145) was fourth. Kai O’Dell (106) and Tyler Johnson (120) each finished fifth. The top five wrestlers in each weight class go to the New England tournament.
“It’s a year where the New England (tournament) can be won by three guys,” he said. “I think the New Englands are wide open this year. We’ll be in the hunt.”
As they do most seasons, the Hatters took to the road to be challenged. They wrestled at the Beast of East tournament in Delaware, won the SWAT Tournament in Sanford, Maine and hit the road to beat Mt. Anthony, Vt., and lose to Timberlane, N.H. in competitive dual meets.
Danbury (14-1) won their fourth straight Class LL title and secured their third consecutive State Open title.
Bristol Eastern (16-1), which won their third straight Class L championship by a half point, returned to where they spent most of the season – No. 2.
Xavier (15-4) finished the season strong and moved up to No. 3 — up four spots from No. 7 at the end of the regular season. The Falcons won the SCC Tournament, took a strong third at a very competitive Class L tournament and finished second at the State Open – their best finish since winning the event in 2012.
Trumbull (25-5) slipped one notch to No. 4 while Simsbury (15-1) dropped to No. 5. Class M champion Killingly moved up one spot to No. 8 – their highest ranking of the season. Class S champion Gilbert was just outside of the top 10 at No. 11.
The Connecticut Wrestling Online’s Top 10 high school wrestling poll. First-place votes in parentheses, record through Saturday, points tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis, and last week’s poll ranking.
FINAL, February 25, 2019
|1. Danbury (17)||14-1||510||1||LL|
|2. Bristol Eastern||16-1||440||4||L|
|6. Fairfield Warde||19-1||330||t5||LL|
Others receiving votes: Gilbert (26-3) 155, Avon (22-0) 131, New Canaan (5-8) 118, Montville (22-2) 94, Joel Barlow (19-6) 92, Wethersfield (15-6) 64, Suffield/Windsor Locks (11-4) 39, Staples (11-5) 36, Ledyard (21-7) 24, East Haven (19-5) and Northwestern (9-7) 15, Waterford (18-6), Greenwich (14-5) and Ellis Tech (19-9) 7
Voters: Charlie Anderson, Trumbull; Matt Boissonneault, Bristol Central; Steve Bilheimer, Ledyard; Derek Dion, Southington; Gerry deSimas, Jr., Connecticut Wrestling Online; Paul Gallo, New Canaan; Chris Gamble, Waterford; Tim Jensen, Patch Media; Larry Kelley, Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Lacey, Danbury News Times; Bryan McCarty, Platt-Meriden; Eric Misko, Farmington; Patrick Risley, Windham High; Matt Schoonmaker, Jonathan Law-Milford; Jason Shaughnessy, Fairfield Warde; Ricky Shook, Danbury