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Thrilled to be back, Simsbury wins Chaves tourney with record-breaking performance

Ridgefield’s Andrey Kosygin (170) has Hall’s Jake Long on his back in the finals at 170 pounds in Saturday’s Chaves Invitational meet in Simsbury. Kosygin got the pin but Simsbury won the tournament for a record 19th time.

SIMSBURY, Dec. 18, 2021 – Canton High coach Josh Bristol had a tough time getting to sleep on Friday night. In a few hours, his Warriors would be heading to Simsbury to compete in the 34th annual Chaves Invitational at Simsbury High.

It would be the first tournament for the Warriors and other teams in the tournament since February 2020 at the State Open in New Haven.

“I was so excited that we would be going to an actual wrestling tournament,” the seventh-year coach said. “I haven’t been to a wrestling tournament in almost two years so I was like bouncing off the walls like a little kids at Christmas.

“It’s great. I love this sport and I am soo happy to be back at it,” Bristol said. “I am soo happy the kids get to have a season and we get to bring them all back (here).”

Saturday was the first full day of tournament competition for high school wrestlers in Connecticut since February 2020. A year ago, the wrestling season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was limited to non-contact conditioning, socially distanced workouts and weight lifting.

Teams got the approval to conduct contact drills in late March for a week and perhaps a hundred state wrestlers competed in a few out-of-state tournaments. But for the vast majority of Connecticut wrestlers, it was a lost season.

“This is fantastic,” Simsbury coach T.J. Silva said. “(A year ago), guys lost a year of experience. Seniors lost their senior year and the team lost a chance to go after another class and (State) Open title. These guys are grateful, really grateful to be back on the mat and the coaches are grateful to be back on the mat.

“Every day, we talk about being grateful for this opportunity because at any time, it can be taken away.”

Added New Milford coach Chris Piel, “It’s awesome to have these kids (back) on the mat, regardless of wins and losses, doing what we love to do.”

The Simsbury HIgh wrestlng team won the Chaves Invitational with a 19-point win over Coventry, R.I. on Saturday in Simsbury. (Photo courtesy Simsbury High wrestling)

Simsbury had 10 wrestlers in the finals and brought home five individual championships to win the tournament for a record 19th time with a tournament record score of 248½, breaking the previous mark that the Trojans set more than 30 years ago in 1990 (240½).

With three pins – all under 45 seconds – Simsbury’s John Mairano (145) won his weight class and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

Coventry, Rhode Island finished second with 229½ points – the most points scored by a runnerup team in the tournament’s long history. The visiting Knotty Oakers had seven finalists and five individual champions. New Milford was third with 129 points.

Coventry enjoyed the experience, too, according to long-time coach Charles Gaffney. A year ago, the state of Rhode Island allowed a small dual meet season in June. Current COVID-19 protocols in Rhode Island require wrestlers to practice and compete in masks. It is the same in Massachusetts, Gaffney said.

Connecticut allows wrestlers to remove the masks during practice drills and during competition. But masks are expected to be worn at all times inside when wrestlers are off the mat. Coaches, officials and fans are expected to wear masks at all times.

When the Knotty Oaks hit the mat for the first round, the Coventry wrestlers had their masks on until their coaches told them they could take them off for the bouts.

Coleman Finn (106), Zach Johns (152), Ben Rivera (195) and Drew Hunter (220) also won individual championships for Simsbury. Mairano had the fastest pin the finals when he put Elliott Humphries of Minnechaug High in western Massachusetts to his back in 19 seconds. The Trojans had 12 of their 14 wrestlers finish in the top four of their respective weight class.

New Milford’s Evan Lindner (126) won an individual title along with Ridgefield’s Andrey Kosygin (170) and Maloney’s Michael Reddick (285).

NOTES: The tournament is named in honor of Frank Chaves, the Hall of Fame wrestling coach who coached Simsbury from 1978 through 2006, leading the Trojans to three state championships, a dozen CCC West titles and 452 dual meet victories. He was elected into the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013 and is currently a volunteer coach with the Trojans. … The tournament was renamed in Frank’s honor in 2009. … Simsbury’s Drew Hunter won the fast fall award with four pins in 4:12. … Wrestlers are limited to five matches in one day in Connecticut so there were four weight classes where the two wrestlers in the consolation final shared third place.

Chaves Invitational
At Simsbury
Team results – 1. Simsbury 248½, 2. Coventry RI 229½, 3. New Milford 129, 4. Cumberland RI 126, 5. Ridgefield 107, 6. Hall 96, 5. Minnechaug MA 94, 6. Canton 83, 9. Newington 60, 10. Maloney 55, 11. North Smithfield RI 16, 12. Granby CT 6, 13. Westfield MA 0
Championship matches
106 Coleman Finn (Simsbury) pin Marco DaCosta (Newington), 0:56
113 Peyton Ellis (Coventry RI) pin Dominic Barrella (Ridgefield), 1:57
120 Stone Farnsworth (Coventry RI) pin Reese Titus (Canton), 0:27
126 Evan Lindner (New Milford) dec. Hayden Myers (Coventry RI), 7-3
132 Austin Monteiro (Minnechaug MA) dec. Cael Finn (Simsbury), 4-1
138 Luke Lagasse (Coventry RI) dec. Zachary Schonhoff (Cumberland RI), 6-4
145 John Mairano (Simsbury) pin Elliott Humphries (Minnechaug MA), 0:19
152 Zach Johns (Simsbury) dec. Christian Rutherford (Coventry RI), 7-1
160 Adam Vesey (Coventry RI) pin Chad Mairano (Simsbury), 3:06
170 Andrey Kosygin (Ridgefield) pin Jake Long (Hall), 2:45
182 James Walton (Coventry RI) pin Tyler Sinatro (Simsbury), 1:04
195 Ben Rivera (Simsbury) pin Griffin Busch (New Milford), 3:13
220 Andrew Hunter (Simsbury) pin Dayanch Kulyyev (Simsbury), 0:56
285 Michael Reddick (Maloney) pin Begench Kulyyev (Simsbury), 3:07
Consolation finals (third place)
106 Tie (five match rule): Alex Oberc (New Milford) NC Noah Glider (Hall)
113 Griffin Devivo (Simsbury) pin Alonzo Cahuana Guevara (Hall), 0:40
120 Tie (five match rule): Alex Blaha (Ridgefield) NC Jacob Motyl (Minnechaug MA)
126 Tie (five match rule): Ethan Titus (Canton) NC Brendan Mulvihill (New Milford)
132 Aidan Robichaud (Coventry RI) dec. Nathan Blaha (Ridgefield), 6-1
138 Joseph Russell (New Milford) dec. Victor Petkov (Ridgefield), 1-0
145 Tie (five match rule): Devon Saraiva (Cumberland RI) NC Maximus Piel (New Milford)
152 Eliano Cruz (Newington) pin Dmitriy Dillan (Cumberland RI), 0:27
160 Nick Marseglia (North Smithfield RI) medical forfeit over Nolan Santos (Cumberland RI)
170 Tie (five match rule): Ryker Bahre (Canton) NC Benjamin Purcell (Simsbury)
182 Alton Lee (Hall) pin Adam Oberc (New Milford), 0:40
195 Christepher Dinneen (Canton) dec. Gabriel Vieu (Coventry RI), 15-9
220 Shane Raposo (Cumberland RI) pin Dominic Mazzuca (Minnechaug MA), 4:35
285 Ason Jones (Coventry RI) pin Zach Curtiss (Cumberland RI), 3:55
Outstanding wrestler: John Mairano (Simsbury), 145; Fast fall award: Drew Hunter (Simsbury), 220, 4 pin in 4:12
Chaves Invitational results (FloArena)

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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