When state and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols to safely conduct athletic events, they usually always remind reporters that the situation is fluid and can change quickly.
The best-laid plans are being swept aside by the new COVID-19 omicron variant. Multiple news outlets have reported that the state’s positivity rate increased to 10.7% over recent days – the highest such rate during this pandemic. “Connecticut is currently experiencing another surge in COVID-19 cases that is being driven mostly by the highly transmissible omicron variant,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in a press release Monday afternoon.
Danbury High cancelled the Ryan Sabbagh Holiday Classic on Monday.
The tournament was scheduled to be held Wednesday but it was postponed due to some COVID-related issues around the wrestling program and the increased number of positive COVID cases around the state in the last two weeks due to the omicron variant, according to Danbury head coach Ricky Shook.
A seven-team meet in Avon with Canton, Bristol Central, Conard, Darien, Haddam-Killingworth and Jonathan Law scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled.
There is some wrestling going on this week. The 53rd annual George Bossi Lowell Holiday Tournament is underway at the Tsongas Center in Lowell with several Connecticut schools participated in the two-day event.
Fairfield Warde is tied for fourth place after the first day with five wrestlers in the quarterfinals and five wrestlers in the consolation round. Simsbury is ninth with four wrestlers in the quarterfinals and five remaining in the tournament.
St. John’s Prep out of Danvers, Mass., leads the tournanent with 113½ points with Timberlane Regional from Plaistow, N.H, is second with 109 points. Central Catholic out of Lawrence, Mass., is third with 99½ points with Warde and Salem. N.H. tied for fourth place with 86 points.
Wrestling resumes on Tuesday morning. The big difference for Connecticut wrestlers is they must wrestle with masks on in Massachusetts.
Guidance in Connecticut developed by the Department of Health requires wrestlers, coaches and officials and spectators to be wearing a mask at all times inside a facility. But it allows wrestlers to shed the mask in a match on the mat. That is not the case in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Simsbury High coach T.J. Silva said the adjustment was minimal for his kids. “We wrestled in masks all week,” he said. “It didn’t have a significant impact on people wrestling.”
Simsbury has four wrestlers in the quarterfinals – Cael Finn (132), John Mairano (145), Zach Jones (152) and Chad Mairano (160). Warde has five wrestlers remaining in the championship round – Dominick Spadaro (113), Ben Zuckerman (120), Jeremy Brault (145), Lucas Coleman (152) and Will Ebert (170). Three years ago as a freshman, Ebert was second at 126 pounds in the tournament.
The quarterfinals begin at 8:30 a.m. with semifinals at noon. The championship bouts are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
The best team finish by a Connecticut squad is second place. Newtown was second in December 2015.