Plainville’s Dakota Marie Dinelli finished second in Sunday’s Super 32 wrestling tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in a championship match that featured two nationally ranked wrestlers.
Twenty-one wrestlers from Connecticut participated in the sold-out event that attracted hundreds of wrestlers from across the nation competing in three divisions – high school, middle school and girls freestyle.
No Connecticut wrestlers won a medal in the boys high school division but Xavier’s Michael Rapuano (126) earned the most victories for a Connecticut wrestling, going 4-2, falling two wins shy of securing medal.
Four middle school wrestlers from Connecticut earned medals led by Southbury’s William Henckel, who won six consecutive consolation round matches to finish third at 128 pounds.
Dinelli won her first two freestyle matches at 148 pounds by technical fall in 2:36 and 3:14, respectively. In the finals, Dinell, who is ranked No. 7 in the preseason national girls poll at 152 by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, USA Wrestling and Flo Wrestling, faced Cheyenne Bowman of Rowland High in LaHabra, California, who is ranked No. 2 at 144 pounds.
Bowman quickly caught Dinelli in a move and won the tournament with a pin in 49 seconds. Dinelli is the third Connecticut girl to make a Super 32 final. In 2017, New Milford’s Joanne Ortiz won a title at 106 while Plymouth’s Cara Broadus was second at 139.
Pomperaug’s Julianna Morris (123) went 3-2 in the tournament this year, falling one win shy of earning a medal. Morris won three straight consolation round bouts.
Eleven high school-age wrestlers participated in the boys tournament, which had several weight classes with more than 128 wrestlers.
Rapanuo was one of four state wrestlers with multiple wins in the tournament. He won his first two matches by a pin and an 8-2 decision before getting pinned and falling into the consolation bracket. Rapanuo won his first two consolation bouts including a 3-1 win over North Carolina’s James Joplin thanks to an escape with 55 seconds left in the third period and a match-winning takedown with 13 seconds remaining.
Simsbury’s Ty Finn (152) and Saul Pera (160) were each 2-2 in the tournament along with Stamford’s Angelo Pellucci (120). All four of Finn’s decisions were decided by two points or less. A takedown with 1:09 left gave Finn a 2-1 win over Arizona’s Dalton Loyden in the consolation round.
Danbury’s Logan Kovacs (145) and Kai O’Dell (113) each went 1-2 in the tournament.
At the middle school level, Henckel (128) earned his second medal in three years in the tournament. In 2017, he won the 95-pound division in the 11-and-under category.
On Sunday, Henckel lost his first match when Dominic Bambinelli of Georgia scored five unanswered points in the third period for a 5-2 victory. But Henckel won six straight matches to finish third. He beat Ohio’s William Stanley, 9-2 in the consolation semifinals before a rematch with Bambinelli in the consolation final.
Henckel’s escape with 55 seconds left in the third period was the difference in a 1-0 victory.
Aidan Squirer (136) went 4-3 to finish sixth in the middle school division. Four straight wins, including two pins, earned Squirer a medal.
Newtown’s Brighton Karvoski won four of six matches to finish seventh at 70 pounds. He pinned Nico Kapusta of Pennsylvania in 14 seconds to finish seventh. Norwalk’s Jason Singer (180) won two matches and finished eighth.