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Bowen sets new record for career wins; No. 2 Simsbury wins in Ridgefield

Killingly High coach Rich Bowen, holding the 616 placard, is the new career leader for coaching wins in Connecticut after KHS won two matches at the Carl Snitkin Duals on Saturday in Norwich. (Photo courtesy Killingly High)

With two victories at the Carl Snitkin Memorial Duals on Saturday, Killingly High coach Rich Bowen now owns the state record for most career victories. Bowen began the day tied with current Derby High coach Buster Jadach with 614 career wins.

A 52-12 win over Jonathan Law gave Bowen sole possession of the record. A win over Shepherd Hill Regional from Dudley, Mass., extended Bowen’s career wins to 616. The two victories also extended No. 9 Killingly’s school-record winning streak to 36.

In the next round of the tournament, NFA ended the Killingly winning streak with a 45-35 decision. No. 10 Staples finished third in the tournament with a 51-29 win over Killingly, now 16-2 on the year.

But it was a great day for Bowen, who began coaching at Killingly in December 1986, and his team.

“I didn’t think about (the win record) that much. I just think about each season,” he said. “After you look back, you say, ‘Wow. We had some good teams here.’ And we’re still doing it.”

Killingly coach Rich Bowen has been coaching at KHS since December 1986 and has earned more dual meet victories than any other wrestling coach in state history.

Killingly is 16-2 this season and in the previous three seasons, KHS has compiled dual meet records of 26-2, 31-2 and 19-4. “We’re trying to do the job and have a successful season, keep rolling along and be competitive,” he said.

“To be the all-time leader (in wins), it will take a while to sink in,” Bowen admitted.

Under Bowen, Killingly has won four state championships, finished second five times and earned 12 top three finishes.

Killingly won the Class M championship in 2019 and 2003 and added a pair of Class S titles in 2008 and 2009. His squads finished second in Class M four times (1996, 2002, 2004, 2018) and once in Class S (2016). Killingly finished in a three-way tie for second place at the 2018 State Open – their best finish at that tournament.

Bowen and Jadach are the only state coaches will more than 600 career wins. Only four coaches have won more than 500 matches, including the late Jim Day of Berlin and current Windham High coach Patrick Risley.

Jadach became the owner of the state record in 2009 when he surpassed Snitkin, who had 471 career wins.

“It’s been a great pleasure to coach at Killingly all of these years,” said, Bowen, who teaches in Coventry and lives in Killingly. “I never thought I would ever come close to 600 wins when I started coaching many years ago. It doesn’t feel like I have been around that long to accomplish such a feat.”

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

Staples wrestler Terry Brannigan, second from the left, earned his 100th career victory on Saturday at the Carl Snitkin Duals in Norwich. (Photo courtesy Staples Wrestling)

Ledyard (15-4) beat NFA, 46-29 to capture the Carl Snitkin Memorial Duals in Norwich. The Colonels had six pins to earn the victory in the championship match.

Ledyard was 4-0 on the day including victories over No. 10 Staples, 39-36, Ellis Tech, 59-12, and Notre Dame-West Haven, 69-9. NFA beat No. 9 Killingly, 45-35 to win their respective four-team pool and earn a spot in the final.

Staples beat Killingly, 50-29 to finish third. The Wreckers’ Terry Brannigan secured his 100th career win in the tournament.

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

West Springfield, Mass., had nine medalists and five finalists to capture the 11th annual Connecticut Challenge tournament in Southington for the first time. West Springfield outlasted Cumberland, R.I., 187½ to 163½ with No. 5 Bristol Eastern finishing third with 145 points. No. 6 Southington finished fourth with No. 8 Trumbull finishing fifth.

Eastern had a tournament high three champions along with five finalists. Trent Thompson (106) outlasted Trumbull’s Michael Longo, 4-2 to win a title while Tom Nichols (138) beat Cumberland’s Mason Lynch, 10-4 for a championship. Nick St. Peter (285) got a pin to secure a title for the Lancers.

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

With nine medalists and three finalists, No. 2 Simsbury won their second tournament of the season with a 189-151 decision over Trinity Pawling of Pawling, N.Y., at the 20th annual Ridgefield Challege. Simsbury became the first Connecticut team to win the tournament since Hand in 2012. St. Anthony High of South Huntington, N.Y. was the two-time defending champion. No. 7 Bristol Central finished seventh and was the second Connecticut team in the 20-team field.

Just five Connecticut wrestlers won individual titles in the tournament that featured teams from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Simsbury’s Saul Pera (145) won a title with a pin while teammate Ty Finn dropped a 4-0 decision at 132 pounds and John Mairano (138) lost a 11-7 decision in overtime to New Milford’s Khalil Bourjeili.

Other Connecticut winners including New Milford’s Even Lindner (106), Stonington’s Samuel Light (152) and Westhill’s Tomasz Mazur (170) with a pin.

Simsbury won their own Frank Chaves Invitational in late December.

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

Manchester’s Traivon Nieves won an individual championship in overtime and teammates Elliot Hall (132) and Justin Ortiz (145) won titles with pins to lift Manchester to a four-pin over East Hartford and their second Eagle Classic championship in the last three years.

The Red Hawks outlasted East Hartford, 179-175 with RHAM finishing third with 151 points. Not only did Manchester go 3-1 in the finals but the Red Hawks went 3-0 in the consolation finals as well to pick up key points. It was the closest final since South Windsor beat Berlin by three points in 2011.

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

With four individual champions and five finalists, host Branford won the Shoreline Scuffle for the second straight year with a tournament record 211 points. Fairfield Prep was a distant second with 131 points. Patrick Zdunek (132), Justin Osler (182), Cody McHenry (195) and Minsok Lee (285) won titles for Branford. Three Pomperaug wrestlers won individual titles – Joseph Mastroianni (113), David Jutcawitz (120) and Michael Carpenter (126).

On Friday night, Avon (14-5) picked up three additional victories over Farmington, Gilbert and New Haven. Falcon senior Chris Gens (220) picked up his 100th career victory in the win over Farmington. He is now 25-0 on the season. Gens is the defending Class M champion at 220 and finished fifth at the CIAC State Open, winning four straight consolation matches to earn a medal. He finished 40-5 last year.

Results and boxscores: Saturday, January 25, 2020

Connecticut state wrestling record book
Coaching career victories

Coach, School Years Record
Rich Bowen, Killingly* 1987-2020 616-179-2
Buster Jadach, Derby* 1980-2020 614-271-5
Jim Day, Berlin 1982-07, 2012-18 535-201-3
Patrick Risley, Plainville, Windham HS* 1989-93, 1999-2020 504-213-2
Steve Konopka, Penney HS, East Hartford 1975-13 488-368-6
Carl Snitkin, NFA 1975-99 471-80-7

*active coaches

Records as of Saturday, January 25, 2020. Source: Connecticut State Wrestling Record Book


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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