MIDDLETOWN, Jan. 8, 2022 – When the long-time wrestling tournament in Sanford, Maine, was cancelled earlier this week due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Xavier High wrestling coach Mike Cunningham picked up the phone and called Danbury High coach Ricky Shook.
Both teams were scheduled to wrestle in Sanford – as they have been doing for several years. Danbury has won three of the last six tournaments and Xavier was third in 2020.
Cunningham proposed a dual meet between the two teams. Shook quickly agreed and a match between the top two teams in the most recent Connecticut Wrestling Online top 10 poll was on.
Leading by just two points, No. 2 Xavier won five of the final six bouts to beat No. 1 Danbury on Saturday, 44-19 and become just the second No. 2 team to beat the top-ranked team in this century.
This was the 13th meeting between the top two teams in the state wrestling poll since 2000. The only other No. 2 team to come away with a victory was Danbury when they beat No. 1 Newtown in February 2015.
“(Our kids) stepped up and wrestled tough,” Cunningham said. “It’s still early (in the season) but it was a good win. I wish we could do that more often – get the top teams together to wrestle in a dual meet.”
There wasn’t a huge crowd in the Xavier gym but it was a loud crowd. Others watched it online with Xavier streaming the game as many schools do now during the pandemic.
“It was fun and it was a good time,” Cunningham said.
It was a competitive match from the start at 132 pounds. There were just three pins in the match.
Xavier’s Matt Ferrucci had a 15-6 win over Johnny Cerquiera at 145 pounds and Xavier freshman Charles Weiderman beat Danbury’s Liam Bryne, 11-3 at 160 pounds to extend the lead to five points, 12-7, after five matches.
“Those matches could have gone either way but we wrestled tough,” Cunningham said.
Xavier (6-1) had an 18-16 lead after eight matches when Danbury’s Dan Craig picked up a forfeit at 195 pounds.
Xavier’s Thomas Lunt (220) won by technical fall and teammate Vin Scileppi outlasted Danbury’s Nuh Ajdinoski, 3-2 at 285 pounds to give the Falcons a 10-point lead, 26-16.
Danbury’s Deydon Soto beat Xavier’s Raekwon Shabazz by a point, 9-8, to cut the lead to seven but Xavier’s Max Moore (113) and Kyle Levesque (120) had pins to clinch the match for the Falcons.
It’s not Xavier’s first win over the No. 1 ranked team in the state. In 2015, the Falcons beat No. 1 Fairfield Warde, 33-21 when Xavier was ranked No. 6 in the poll. It was Xavier’s first win over Danbury since 2015 when they earned a 33-30 victory.
Xavier 44, Danbury 19
132: Anthony Basile (X) dec. Jesse Defonce, 11-3; 138: Kai O’Dell (D) dec. Dylan Levesque, 13-4; 145: Matt Ferrucci (X) dec. Johnny Cerquiera, 15-6; 152: Logan Kovacs (D) dec. Colin Loria, 10-4; 160: Charles Weidman (X) dec. Liam Bryne, 11-3; 170: Jacob Levesque (X) pin Alexander Sanchez, 0:20; 182: Dom Iaquinto (D) dec. Rohan Moynihan, 6-3; 195: Dan Craig (D) forfeit; 220: Thomas Lunt (X) tech fall Andrew Rosa, 17-1; 285: Vin Scileppi (X) dec. Nuh Ajdinoski, 3-2; 106: Deydon Sodo (D) dec. Raekwon Shabazz, 9-8; 113: Max Morse (X) pin Anthony Hackett, 2:23; 120: Kyle Levesque (X) pin Matt Morehouse, 1:06; 126: Jackson Heslin (X) forfeit
Records: Xavier 6-1, Danbury 3-1
Recent matches between the top two teams in the state top 10 poll
2020: (1) Danbury 51, (2) Simsbury 17, Feb. 1, 2020
2017: (1) Danbury 42, (2) New Milford 16, Feb. 4, 2017
2016: (1) Danbury 43, (2) New Milford 15, Feb. 6, 2016 in finals of the New Fairfield Duals
2015: (2) Danbury 30, (1) Newtown 25, Jan. 28, 2015
2014: (1) Danbury 38, (2) New Milford, Feb. 8, 2014
2009: (1) Danbury 38. (2) Fairfield Warde 25, Feb. 10, 2019