The post-season has begun and the Danbury High wrestling team is performing as expected.
The defending New England champions began the 2020 postseason with a dominating performance at the FCIAC championships on Saturday with five champions and 11 finalists to win the tournament for the 33rd time in the last 34 years.
Danbury senior Ryan Jack became the 12th wrestler in league history to win a fourth consecutive FCIAC championship with his victory at 138 pounds. The last wrestler before Jack to achieve this feat was Fairfield Warde’s Tim Kane in 2017 and the last Danbury wrestler with four straight FCIAC titles was Charlie Constanzo in 2010.
No. 1 Danbury (16-0) won their tenth straight FCIAC title with 298 points with No. 3 Fairfield Warde finishing second with 236½ points. No. 9 Staples was third with 183 points followed by No. 8 Trumbull (161) and Ridgefield (99½).
New Canaan’s Tyler Sung (152) hasn’t wrestled many matches this season due to an injury but he won his third straight FCIAC title with a 7-2 win over Warde’s Cole Shaughnessy to earn the Outstanding Wrestler award for the upper weights.
Kai O’Dell (113), Tyler Johnson (126), D.J. Donovan (220) and Jordan Agosto (285) also won championships for the Hatters.
Greenwich’s Carlos DeWinter won the Outstanding Wrestler award for lower weights after pinning Danbury’s Kevin Pina to win a title at 120 pounds. Pina had an 8-1 lead with 1:10 left in the match before DeWinter caught Pina and threw him to his back and pinned him for the turnaround win.
The New Milford High wrestling team is back on top in the Southwest Conference. With three individual champions and five finalists, New Milford won the SWC title for the 14th time in the last 17 years. Newtown won a year ago and in 2015 while the 2013 tournament was cancelled due to a blizzard.
Max Piel (132), Khalil Bourjelli (145) and Richie Morell (170) brought home championships for the Green Wave.
New Milford (7-1, 5-0 SWC Colonial) finished first with 162 points with Newtown (12-5, 4-1 SWC Colonial finishing second with 146½ points – more points that the Nighthawks scored when they won the tournament 12 months ago. Newtown’s Steve Vournacos (182) won a championship with the Nighthawks putting eight wrestlers in the top four of their respective weight class.
Brookfield (124) finished a surprising third place with host Pomperaug (118) and New Fairfield (100) rounding out the top five teams in the tournament. Brookfield brought just eight wrestlers to the tournament and seven finished among the top four of their weight classes. Matty Carrozza won a title for the Bobcats at 113 pounds with a 6-3 win over Pomperaug’s Joey Mastroianni.
Eastern Connecticut Conference
Killingly became the first ECC team to capture three consecutive ECC championships since Bacon Academy (2009-11) with a 52-point win over Ledyard. With 11 wrestlers winning medals by finishing in the top six, Killingly scored 216 points with Ledyard taking second with 164.
Killingly had three champions, five finalists and four wrestlers take third. KHS had the tournament clinched before the finals began.
Freshman Kaden Wade (106), senior David Charron (126) and junior Ben Richardson (145) won titles for Killingly while sophomore Connor Duran (113), senior Brayden Grim (160) and junior Davin McIver (285) won for Ledyard, who passed NFA during the championship round to finish second.
New London placed four wrestlers in the finals and had a pair of champions with Jadian Mackenzie (195) and Teshuah Williams (220) winning by pin.
Killingly won the overall league championship and the ECC Division II title while NFA won the ECC Division I championship. Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech captured the ECC Division III crown.
Berkshire Valley Tournament
The defending Class S champion Gilbert School wrestling team used their experience and skill to win the Berkshire Valley tournament for the third straight year with a three-point win over rival Northwestern Regional, 119-116. Oxford was one point back with 115 points.
The Yellowjackets had four wrestlers win championships as they prevailed in the closest tournament in the event’s six-year history. Three of the four pinned to give the Yellowjackets (16-6) the bonus points they needed to win the tournament.
Gilbert’s Devin Matthews (138) won his second Berkshire Valley title with a pin over Northwestern’s Marco Folino while Gilbert’s Kyle Matthews (152) also won his second consecutive tournament crown by pinning Seymour’s Anthony Deicicchi. At 220 pounds, Bajrum Gutic won his second straight Berkshire Valley title by pinning Thomaston/Holy Cross’ Preston Ross.
Oxford had three individual champions with Thomas Verdiglione (126), Thomas Chappa (132) and Ed Chappa (170) winning. Verdiglione beat Northwestern’s Colden Williamson, 10-4, to win his third consecutive Berkshire Valley title while Thomas Chappa pinned to win his second straight title.
Watertown’s Xavier Powell, who trains with Pomperaug, won his third straight Berkshire Valley title with a pin at 160 pounds while Terryville’s Caleb Leclerc (145) also won for third straight season.
Northwestern’s Jamikael Lytle won at 195 for the Highlanders, who won their second-ever Berkshire League championship with their second place finish.
The tournament is comprised of schools from the Berkshire League (four teams) and Naugatuck Valley League (three teams) along with representatives from Watertown, Torrington and Woodland Regional.
Southern Connecticut Conference
No. 4 Xavier had five individual champions and eight finalists as they won the SCC championship for the fourth straight year. Dating back to 2011, Xavier has won eight of the last nine SCC Tournaments. Foran won in 2016 and the 2013 event was cancelled by a blizzard.
It was a decisive win for Xavier with 210½ points with East Haven (146½) finishing second and Branford (140) getting past Foran (137) to take third place. Guilford (101) was fifth. It was the best finish for East Haven in the tournament since taking second in 2000.
The Falcons were led by James Lunt (145), who won earned in the spot in the final for the fourth time and won his third SCC crown. Michael Rapuano (113), Tommy Manganiello (126), Quinn Moynihan (152) and Ryan Miner (170) also won titles for Xavier.
It is the fifth tournament that the Falcons have won this season.
North Haven’s Joe Iamunno (120), who trains with Notre Dame-Fairfield, won a SCC title at 120 pounds with a technical fall over Xavier’s Colin Lora, 15-0 in 4:54. It earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award.
Central Connecticut Conference
The CCC has a mixed history of hosting postseason tournaments. All four divisions (CCC West, CCC South, CCC West, CCC North) hosted postseason tournaments in 2011. The tournaments were cancelled for the next three seasons for weather-related reasons.
The league hosted a 24-team tournament in 2019 with Southington outlasting East Hartford for the championship. The league didn’t hold a tournament last year but split the league into two tournaments this year – the Large Division meet at Simsbury and a Small Division meet at Bristol Central.
With seven individual champions, No. 2 Simsbury won the CCC Large Division tournament over No. 6 Southington, 287-236. Enfield was a distant third with 162 points.
Ryan Finn (99), Cael Finn (106), Ty Finn (132), John Mairano (138), Saul Pera (145), Noah Pryzbek (152) and D’Sean Martin (285) won for Simsbury. Ty Finn was named outstanding wrestler and set a new school record for most career wins (147) with his victory in the finals. Ben Gorr (126), Josh Vitti (160) and Billy Carr (182) brought home gold medals for Southington.
No. 5 Bristol Eastern had four individual champions and five finalists as they outlasted cross-town rival No. 7 Bristol Central to win the CCC Small Division tournament, 212½ to 165½. RHAM, which won the CCC East title, was third with 147 points, just 1½ ahead of CCC North champion Wethersfield.
Trent Thompson (106), Mason Lishness (120), Tommy Nichols (145) and Alex Marshall (152) won titles for the Lancers. Nick St. Peter (285) finished second after dropping a 4-2 decision in double OT to Platt’s Luke Fuerstenberg.
That was one of three finals decided in extra time.
At 126 pounds, Bristol Central’s Karriem Hoe outlasted Platt’s Isaiah Ross, 10-6 in overtime. At 195, Wethersfield’s Nick Thompson beat Bristol Central’s Jakob Salinas, 3-1 in double OT.
North Central Connecticut Conference
With eight finalists and seven individual champions, Suffield/Windsor Locks won their first NCCC title since 2007 with a 186-156½ win over defending champion Canton.
New England Prep School championships
The prep school New England championships were held at the Hartford Armory on Friday and Saturday with defending co-champion Belmont Hill from Belmont, Mass. , winning for the fourth time in the last five years.
With two champions, four finalists and nine medalwinners, Belmont Hill beat Northfield Mt. Hermon, 194½ to 184. The two schools tied last year and shared the title.
Greenwich’s Brunswick School was third with 180½ points with Luca Errico winning his second straight New England championship at 138 pounds and teammate Clayton Ostrover (Greenwich) winning a New England title at 195 pounds.
The Bruins had three wrestlers finish in second place – Chris Perry (145), Nick Bell (152) and Nadjingar Ngbokoli (170).
Westport’s Greens Farms Academy finished fourth with four New England champions – each from Connecticut. Caleb Seyfried (Westport) won at 103 with Stratford’s Nico Provo winning his third straight New England title at 120 pounds. Fairfield’s Peter Kane grabbed his second consecutive New England crown for GFA at 145 pounds with Norwalk’s Michael Bartush winning his first New England championship at 160 pounds.
Greens Farms Academy did win the Small Division title.
The only other Connecticut school in the top 10 was Avon Old Farms, who finished eighth.
Wrestlers finishing in the top six earn a spot in the upcoming Prep School national championship meet at Lehigh University next week on Feb. 21-22.