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This Week in Connecticut Wrestling History: Conference Championship Weekend

AVON, Feb. 8, 2021 — This winter, Connecticut Wrestling Online is celebrating its 20th anniversary. We thought we would take a look back and some of the wrestling highlights that have occurred this week over the last 20 years — the second week in February, which is normally conference championship week.

Five years ago (2016)

North Carolina State sophomore Kevin Jack (Danbury) was named the co-wrestler of the week by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Jack, a 141-pound sophomore, earned two wins last week over top 10 opponents. … Brunswick School captured its second straight Western New England championship with four individual champions and seven finalists with a dominating 278-187 win over Trinity-Pawling. On Tuesday night, they picked up another emotional win with a 45-25 win over Greenwich High to win the town championship. … No. 1 Danbury was impressive at the Joe Sikorski FCIAC championship meet with six individual champions, nine finalists and 11 wrestlers finishing in the top three of their respective weight classes. The Hatters won by 82 points with a 277-195 margin of victory over second place Trumbull. .  At the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meet, Windham remains the team to beat. The Whippets put eight wrestlers in the finals and had three individual champions to hold off a late surge from Ledyard and win the ECC title for the second straight year. Ledyard did win the ECC Large Division title. Matt Dowler (138) of St. Bernard/Norwich Tech won his third straight ECC title and extended his state record for career pins. … Foran-Milford set a new state record with 35 dual meet wins. The Lions added to that with a 141-130 win over Xavier to win their first SCC championship. Hand was third with 129½ points. It’s Foran’s first title since 1986 when they won the Cross County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CCIAC) crowd. Foran had three champions and four finalists but they had eight wrestlers finish in the top four of their respective weight classes. Foran’s Ryan Luth (132) earned outstanding wrestler honors. … New Milford won the SWC championship for the eleventh time in 12 years with a comfortable 246-166 win over Newtown. The Green Wave had eight wrestlers in the finals and seven won. New Fairfield was third in with 140½ points. … In the closest finish ever in NCCC Tournament history, Somers had four wins in the finals and two by pin to nip Granby, 145 to 142½ and win the tournament for the first time. The Bears, who won the league title, had four winners in the finals, all by pin. … Terryville had individual champions in four weight classes as they beat Nonnewaug, 170-132 to win the Berkshire Valley Invitational for the second straight year. Nonnewaug’s Kieran Duggan (152) was named outstanding wrestler. … In the first Constitution State Conference tournament since 2011, Ellis Tech had individual champions in 10 of 14 weight classes to capture the CSC Tournament over Harding of Bridgeport, 160-85. Wolcott Tech’s Anton Dziedzic (152) won the fast fall award with 2 pins in 54 seconds and was named the outstanding wrestler. … Middletown finished undefeated (19-0) for the first time in school history with a 45-23 win over Berlin to clinch the CCC South championship. It is the first title for the Dragons since 2008 (Northwest Conference) … East Hartford (22-3) beat Manchester, 38-31 to win its first CCC North championship and its first conference title since 2005 (CCC East). … Southington beat New Britain, 60-19 to win its first CCC West crown since 2012.

More from this week in 2016

Ten years ago (2011)

For two days, Bacon Academy and Ledyard battled in the ECC Tournament swapping the lead at will. In the end with five champions and six finalists, Bacon outlasted Ledyard, 233 to 224½ to win its third straight ECC Tournament championship and grab a share of the ECC Large Division title with Ledyard. Windham finished third and won the ECC Small Division title. Bacon’s Matt McAllister (112) won his second straight ECC title with a 4-2 win over Ledyard’s Matt Jones in the final match of the evening. A pin by Jones could have given the Colonels the title. Griswold’s Brandon Walsh (135) won a second straight ECC title and was voted outstanding wrestler. …. Hand had seven wrestlers in the finals of the SCC Tournament while rival Xavier had six finalists. Hand brought home five individual champions while Xavier had just two. But Xavier was able to wrestle the league championship away from the Tigers, 186½ to 176 by having five wrestlers battle through the consolation round to finish third while Hand had just one. Tyler Cunningham (145) and Elliot Antler (160) won titles for Xavier, which won its first SCC title since 2003. Will Crisco (103) and Jake Savoca (135) each had two-point victories in the finals for Hand. Shelton’s Patrick Gillen (215) earned outstanding wrestler honors at the SCC Championships and became just the second SCC wrestler to win four straight league titles. ….For the 24th time in the last quarter century, Danbury won the FCIAC Tournament with three individual champions and five finalists. Ridgefield’s Travis Tiger (171) was named outstanding wrestler while Greenwich’s Johnny D’Elia (112) and Westhill’s Marquise Weaver-Hart won titles in OT. … No. 1 New Milford earned its eighth straight SWC Tournament championship with a 115-point win over Masuk, 250.5 to 135. The Green Wave had five champions, nine finalists and placed at least one wrestler in the top four in 12 of 14 weight classes. … With four individual champions, Bristol Eastern beat Middletown by 14 points to win the first-ever CCC South tournament, 199-185. Peyton Soucy (103), Andrew Chase (112), Craig Sassu (135) and Matt Marquis (152) each won for Eastern. Mike Pokorny (119), Tyler Burrow (130) and D.J. Sanderson (285) won for Bristol Central, which finished fourth. … In the Berkshire League, Nonnewaug’s Tyler Tilbe (125) and Thomaston’s Alan Sanford (152) won their fourth straight BL titles, joining an elite group. Tilbe was named outstanding wrestler for a record third time. With five champions, Nonnewaug outlasted Thomaston, 233-212 to clinch its eighth BL title in the last 10 years. … With eight individual champions, RHAM easily won the first CCC East tournament with a 66-point win over E.O. Smith. Hartford’s coop wrestling team had a pair of champions. … Farmington won its first-ever CCC West Tournament with a 36-point win over Simsbury, 189-153. The Indians had four individual champions and nine wrestlers in the finals. … South Windsor put eight wrestlers in the finals and had seven individual champions to slip past Glastonbury by 11½ points in the first-ever CCC North tournament. … Bristol Eastern (12-2, 6-0 CCC South) won its first CCC South championship since 2004 with a 42-21 victory over arch-rival Bristol Central (10-11, 2-4). … Southington (8-3, 5-1 CCC West) won its fourth straight league title with a 51-19 win over New Britain. The Hurricanes finished at 13-7 for its first winning season in 15 years (1996). … Platt Tech/West Haven beat Cheney Tech, 60-18 to earn a share of its second Constitution State Conference title. Platt Tech/WH shared the title with Hartford Classical/Capital Prep and Vinal Tech. All three teams were 4-1 in the league. … Simsbury (18-10, 4-2) won eight of 14 matches including a pair of one-point decisions to beat Farmington (24-3, 4-2) on criteria, 31-30 and deny the Indians a share of the CCC West championship…. No. 1 New Milford (21-0, 11-0 SWC) beat New Fairfield, 62-15 to complete its second straight undefeated season. The Green Wave have won a school-record 52 consecutive dual meets and 54 straight SWC bouts. The 52 wins is the third longest streak in the state behind Danbury (96) and Manchester (61).

More from this week in 2011

15 years ago (2006)

No. 8 Bristol Central won its first CCC South title since 1999 with a thrilling win over No. 6 Bristol Eastern, 29-27, in front of 800 fans. The Rams (24-2, 6-0 CCC South) won the final three bouts, including a pair of one-point decisions at 215 and 275. Eastern (19-7, 4-2) led by 7 with three matches left thanks to six victories and three pins. A reversal with 16 seconds left lifted John Madievic (215) to a victory while Eastern’s Mario Paparuzzu (275) was penalized one point for stalling with 41 seconds left in a 2-1 loss to freshman Tim Chambers. … At the Berkshire League Tournament, Nonnewaug had eight wrestlers in the finals and five champions to win for the 10th straight year. Northwestern’s Tim Mandel (112) won his third straight title while Gilbert’s John Groth (189) moved up 2 weight classes to win his 2nd in a row. … With nine finalists and six individual champions, No. 1 Danbury won the FCIAC Tournament for the 20th straight year with a 256½-175 win over Trumbull. Bridgeport’s Joey Bullard (135) was the outstanding wrestler after a 8-7 win over Danbury’s Dean Smith. Danbury’s Frank Cammisa (145) and Kyle Rodgers (152) each won their third FCIAC titles while junior Richie Zschoche (160) won his second title with a reversal with 30 seconds left to beat Norwalk’s Tim Petrides, 4-2. Danbury’s George Madkour (112) escaped in the third OT to beat Stamford freshman Jason Camacho, 3-2. … Ledyard had four individual champions while Windham had three as the Colonels won the ECC Tournament for the second straight year, 196½ to 190½. Windham senior Bran Crudden (171) won his fourth ECC title and earned outstanding wrestler honors. The Colonels clinched the title when Julian Hightower (215) beat Bacon Academy’s Matt Chalmers. … Berlin had seven finalists and five champions to outlast league co-champion Middletown and win the NWC tournament, 209-204½, the closest finish in tourney history. Tournament MVP Shane Day (135) and Dave Fiorillo (152) each beat a Middletown wrestler. Day had 11 takedowns in a 22-10 win over Jeremy Clark while a late escape and takedown lifted Fiorillo to a 11-7 win over Ronnie Brown. Middletown had two champions including Wesley Ruimerman, a JV wrestler who stunned Plainville’s Cory Zapatka in the semifinals and beat a teammate in the finals. Day and East Catholic’s Nate Shipee (189) won for the 3rd time … Two-time defending champion New Milford won the SWC Tournament but Bunnell-Stratford finished second to claim the overall league championship. Four New Milford wrestlers won titles, included undefeated Tom Ferrell (275, 33-0), who won an SWC career award. New Milford had 189 points while Bunnell had 145½. … Hand went 6-for-6 in the finals to beat Amity, 156½-148 and win its first SCC championship since 1998. Trailing 14-2 in the third, Hand’s Jay Mahoney (112) caught Cheshire’s Ronnie Waters and pinned him for Mahoney’s third straight SCC title. Xavier’s John Holzinger (160) also won his 3rd SCC title. Amity went 0-for-7 in the finals. … Bunnell (27-1) finished undefeated in the SWC with a 43-27 win over Stratford (17-16, 6-5 SWC) in front of large, vocal crowd. For Bunnell, 27 wins is a single-season record. … In the match’s final bout Middletown’s Ronnie Brown (145) beat Berlin’s John Fiorillo 6-5 in double OT as Middletown (18-9, 5-1 NWC) beat Berlin (18-7, 4-2) for the first time ever, 33-32, to capture a share of its first-ever Northwest Conference championship.

More from this week in 2006

20 years ago (2001)

Bristol Central finished the regular season with a 10 straight win, a conclusive 42-22 decision over arch-rival Bristol Eastern at the shiny, new Eastern gym.. Not only did the victory give Central its third win over Eastern in the past four years, but the Rams set a new school record with their 23rd victory. Central finished 23-3, eclipsing the 1999 mark of 22 wins (22-1-1). … Berlin won the Northwest Conference championship for the 14th time in 16 years by winning 11 of 15 weight classes in the league tournament. Berlin rang up 272 points compared to 156 for runner-up Plainville. Middletown was third at 137 1/2, the host Eagles took fourth with 96 and youthful Farmington scored 46½ .… With five individual champions, Bethel beat Newtown by nearly 80 points to win the Southwest Conference tournament, 194½ to 114 with Jonathan Law a half point behind the Nighthawks in third place. …. Danbury captured the FCIAC tournament by more than 100 points with 286½ points. Fairfield was second with 165½ followed closely by Bridgeport Central in third place (157½). The Hatters had seven individual champions. … Ledyard’s Allyn Quibble was named outstanding wrestler at the ECC Tournament with Killingly beating Fitch, 209-165 for the championship. … Rocky Hill’s Andy Nguyen was named outstanding wrestler at the Charter Oak Conference championship meet but RHAM was able to win the COC tournament title with a 199½-165 win over the Terriers.

More from this week in 2001

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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