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Kovacs wins FloNational title; Provo earns spot on U.S. Cadet Pan-Am team

Stratford’s Nico Provo, shown at the New England Prep School championship in Westport, earned a spot in the U.S. team that will compete at the Cadet Pan-Am championships in June. (John Nash photo courtesy Greens Farms Academy)

Danbury’s A.J. Kovacs, a student at Iona Prep, became the second state wrestler to win a FloNational title with his victory at 71 kilograms (156 pounds) on Saturday in Indiana, Pa.

Stratford’s Nico Provo, a sophomore at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, earned a spot on the U.S. team that will be going to the Cadet Pan American championships in Mexico in June. Provo finished third at 51 kilograms (112 pounds) in the Cadet Freestyle and second in the Cadet Greco-Roman competition at the 2019 FloNationals tournament.

Easton’s Carson LiCastri, a junior at Joel Barlow, finished third at 86 kilograms (189 pounds) in the Junior Freestyle competition at FloNationals.

Kovacs went undefeated in the tournament with five wins by technical fall (winning by 10 points or more). He beat Cael Valencia of Pico Rivera, California in the finals in 2:28. Kovacs ousted John Martin of West Virginia in the semifinals in 2:39.

In first two matches of the tournament, Kovacs scored 10 points in 24 and 38 seconds, respectively, to earn wins by technical fall.

The only other Connecticut wrestler to win a FloNationals title was Jakob Camacho of Danbury a year ago at 126 pounds.

From left to right, A.J. Kovacs, Nico Provo and Carson LiCastri. (Photo courtesy USA Wrestling Connecticut)

With two top three finishes at 51 kilograms, Provo earned a spot on the U.S. team that will compete at the Cadet Pan American games in Mexico on June 28-30. Cadet wrestlers must be born between 2002 and 2004.

A point system was used to determine representatives on the U.S. team based upon a wrestler’s finish in the Cadet Freestyle and Cadet Greco Roman tournaments. Provo wrestled in both tournaments to earn points while several of his competitors wrestled in just one tournament.

Provo went 3-1 to finish second in the Greco-Roman tournament, losing to Max Black of Castle Rock, Colorado in the championship match, 5-3.

In the freestyle tournament, Provo was 5-1 with four wins by technical fall. Provo won his first match before losing by technical fall. But he rallied with four straight wins in the consolation bracket, capped off with a tech fall victory over Levi Haines of Arendtsville, Pa., in 1:10.

“This is probably one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to a GFA athlete,” said Greens Farms Academy wrestling coach Jack Conroy. “What Nico has accomplished really shows how much work and commitment he has put into the sport. We’re so proud of him, knowing he’s going to represent his country in an international competition.”

Along with his berth on the Pan-Am team, Provo also qualified to take part in the Cadet World Team Trials in Akron, Ohio on May 31 through June 2 at the Cadet and Under 23 national championships.

Provo won his second straight New England Prep School championship in February.

Kovacs, representing Empire Wrestling Academy, wrestled just the freestyle tournament so he was out of the running for the spot on the Pan-Am squad.

Material from Greens Farms Academy Sports Information included in this story.


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

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