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Dominant performance by Xavier winning Class L; Branford, H-K win first titles

Xavier won their second Class L championship on Saturday in Wilton.

Two years ago, No. 1 Xavier outlasted No. 4 Simsbury by 2½ points to win the Class L championship. And the year before that, Bristol Eastern beat Simsbury by a half point in 2019 to win the state championship. In 2017, Bristol Eastern beat New Milford by one point.

There was no need to scrutinize points on Saturday at the Class L championship meet in Wilton. The Falcons blew away the field this year.

The top-ranked Falcons had 11 wrestlers win medals, put nine athletes in the finals and won five individual championships to win a second consecutive Class L title in impressive fashion.

Xavier scored a tournament record 318½ points, 84 points better than Simsbury, which finished second for the third consecutive tournament.

“They earned this,” Xavier coach Mike Cunningham told GameTime CT’s David Stewart. “They come in every day, they work hard and they don’t complain. I’m proud of them. We had a great quarterfinal (Friday) night to get into the semis, so we had 11 in the semis and that helps. It gives you more opportunities.”

Xavier erased the previous Class L record of 269 points set by Ledyard in 1999 and also topped the state record set by Danbury in the Class LL meet with 311½ points in 2005.

Raekwon Shabazz (106), Max Morse (113), Jackson Heslin (120), Dylan Levesque (138) and Thomas Lunt (220) won championships for the Falcons.

Levesque won his third state title. He won a pair of Class S titles in 2019 and 2020 wrestling as a one-man team for East Hampton and there was no state tournaments in 2021 when wrestling was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simsbury’s John Mairano (145) and Zach Jones (152) each won their second state titles. Mairano won his first as a freshman in 2019 while Jones won as a sophomore at Suffield/Windsor Locks in 2020. New Milford’s Evan Lindner (126) also won his second state title.

Guilford, which finished fifth, had three individual champions. Edward Barlage (160) beat Bristol Eastern’s Alexander Marshall by one point, 3-2 thanks to a takedown with 1:41 remaining while teammates Brent Strand (182) and Christopher Murphy (182) also won state titles.

Results: Saturday, February 19, 2022

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It’s been nearly a decade since a team dominated the way No. 10 Haddam-Killingworth did on Saturday at the Class S championship meet in Killingly.

The Cougars won their first-ever state championship in wrestling with 11 wrestlers winning medals, seven earning a spot in the finals and four bringing home individual state championships.

Haddam-Killingworth (16-5) beat Killingly by 83 points, 267½ to 184½ to win the championship. It’s the biggest margin of victory since Windham beat the Cougars by 103 points in 2013.

“I feel like the team did incredible. We had seven wrestlers in the finals, which is half of our lineup,” head coach Nick Adler told “Eleven of our wrestlers qualified for the State Open. It’s a victory to everyone on the team, whether they competed this weekend or not.”

Senior captains Ethan Wright (113) and Ben Williams (152) each had four pins to win their respective weight classes and their first state titles. At 160, senior captain Nick Glynn had three pins in four victories to win his weight class while Samuel Young (195) also won a state title.

The Cougars had finished second twice, including in 2020 when they were 60 points behind Killingly.

Killingly’s Kaden Ware won his second state championship. He won at 106 pounds in 2020. Teammate Jack Richardson, who won a state title at 145 pounds, was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

Seymour’s Anthony Deicicchi, who trains with the Derby/Holy Cross/Oxford co-op team won a Class S title at 182 pounds.

You can read more about the Class S championship meet in the Norwich Bulletin or

Results: Saturday, February 19, 2022

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No. 6 Branford had 11 wrestlers win medals and four capture individual championships as the Hornets won their first-ever state championship in wrestling at the Class M championship meet in East Haven.

The Hornets (23-1) had five finalists and outlasted Foran by 35 points, 261½ to 226½. Foran finished second for the sixth time in the last nine Class M tournaments. It was a balanced tournament with No. 8 Berlin (155½) and RHAM (150½) wrestling well.

“It takes a bunch of workhorses, wrestlers that go out and win the next match. We told ourselves every day that we were going to win states,” Branford’s first-year coach Kevin Kapushinski told Bill Bloxsom of GameTimeCT.

Jace Korab (138), Patrick Zdunek (160), Cole Snider (170) and Nate Mathias (195) brought home individual state titles for the Hornets, who had never placed in the top three of the CIAC wrestling tournament before Saturday.

Plainville had three wrestlers win state titles with Joseph Kennedy (145), Alex Santini (182) and Jeff Quirion La Oz (285) each finishing first.

Results: Saturday, February 19, 2022

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Greens Farms Academy had six individual New England champions and finished second at the New England Independent School Wrestling Association (NEISWA) tournament Saturday at Northfield Mt. Hermon in Northfield, Mass.

It’s the best-ever finish for the Dragons at the New England championships. Northfield Mt. Hermon won their seventh NEISWA championship with a tournament record 260½ points with GFA coming in second with a team-record 253½ points. The old record was 233 points set by Phillips Exeter Academy in 2015. Greens Farms Academy did win the NEISWA Small Division championship.

Brady Kaupp (106 pounds), Newtown’s Joseph Stoerzinger (120), Fairfield’s Peter Kane (152), Marcus Murabito (160) and Newtown’s Nate Taylor (182) won New England championships for the Dragons.

Norwalk’s Ronnie Christolin (126) placed second for GFA while Norwalk’s Mikey Bartush (195) also wrestled his way into the championship match.

At 106 pounds, the No. 1-seeded Kaupp won his first match with a pin in 1:12 and notched a 25-second pin the semifinals. In the championship match, Kaupp dominated the action and won a 16-0 technical fall.

At 120 pounds, second-seeded Stoerzinger won his first match with a pin in 1:06. In the quarterfinals, he notched the win with just three seconds left in the second round. His semifinal match saw Stoerzinger posted a 9-2 decision and in the championship match it was a 10-2 major decision that gave him the title.

At 152 pounds, the top-seeded Kane won his first three matches with pins in 26, 48 and 32 seconds. The third pin also gave Kane the 100th victory of his GFA career. In the semifinals, Kane pinned his opponent in 1:03 to advance to the championships where he won the title with a 7-0 decision. It was Kane’s third straight New England championship. He won in 2019 and 2020 for GFA,

At 160 pounds, Murabito turned three straight pins (35, 1:05 and 1:40) into a birth in the finals, where he earned a 7-1 decision to take the title.

At 182 pounds, Taylor won his first New England championship with four consecutive pins (the first in just 29 seconds) to advance to the finals. In the title match, a 9-2 decision gave the Dragons their fifth New England champion.

Results: Saturday, February 19, 2022

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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