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Wingard, a former state champion from Housatonic, dies in accident at work

Housatonic’s Steve Wingard (right) and Hartford’s Sheldon Rhoden battle in the semifinals of the 2012 New England wrestling tournament at 182 pounds in Providence. Rhoden outlasted Wingard, 3-2.

Steven Wingard, 25, a former state champion wrestler at Housatonic Valley in Falls Village, died Friday, June 21, in Greenwich, N.Y., in an accident on the job.

Wingard, a diver with Commercial Diving Services, was cleaning an underwater drain valve at the former Dahowa Hydro generation plant on the Batten Kill River in Greenwich, N.Y. He died while underwater in a pool below the hydroelectric facility.

New York State Police told the Post-Star newspaper in Glen Falls, N.Y., that the accident remains under investigation. A police spokesman said that Wingard was the only diver in the water and was connected to a crew on land via an umbilical cord with an oxygen line.

Wingard won a Class S championship at 182 pounds in 2012 for Housatonic Valley, earning the outstanding wrestler award at the tournament. He finished third at the State Open and was sixth in New England. He won the Berkshire League tournament in 2012 and finished his senior season with a 43-5 record.

Only the fourth wrestler in school history to finish in the top three at the State Open, Wingard is most recent State Open medalist for the Mountaineers.

Housatonic’s Stephen Wingard, bottom, battles Hartford’s Sheldon Rhoden in the semifinals of the 2012 New England wrestling tournament in Providence.

At the 2012 New England championships, Wingard beat New Hampshire champion Harry Denoncourt of Timberlane Regional in the second round and advanced to the semifinals before dropping a 3-2 decision to Sheldon Rhoden of Hartford Public.

Wingard earned a medal for finishing sixth – just the second wrestler in school history to medal at the New England championships and the first Housatonic wrestler to win a New England medal since 1990.

Eight Housatonic wrestlers have won Class S state titles. With his championship in 2012, Wingard is the most recent state champion for the Mountaineers.

A wake has been scheduled for Friday, June 28, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Newkirk-Palmer Funeral Home in North Canaan. A celebration of Steven’s life will be held Saturday, June 29, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Center on Main at 103 Main Street in Falls Village. Please wear pink or tye-dye in his honor.

A Go Fund Me fundraising campaign to help the Wingard family with funeral expenses has been set up. As of early Tuesday morning (June 25), 89 people had already donated nearly $6,000 to help the family.

 

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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